Etikettarkiv: Cassel

The girl in the yellow ball gown: Elisabeth Schwan

The Amaranth Ball, 6 January 1845. Painting by Fritz von Dardel. Kunt Bergenstråhle is the young lieutenant in the middle.
The Amaranth Ball, 6 January 1845. Painting by Fritz von Dardel. Kunt Bergenstråhle is holding the hand of Elisabeth Schwan.

Who was Elisabeth Schwan?

Last week, I wrote about Augusta’s lieutenants – the ones she met at balls, theatres, and concerts. The image for the blog was a painting of Lieutenant Bergenstråhle dancing with a girl in a yellow ball gown. The painter, Fritz von Dardel, had “tagged” her as E. Schwan.

In another painting, von Dardel also included her and tagged her as Elisabeth Schwan.

At General Peyron's Ball, 19 Dec 1844. Elisabeth Schwan is the dark haired girl in the lilac dress.
At General Peyron’s Ball, 19 Dec 1844. Elisabeth Schwan is the dark-haired girl in the lilac dress. Painting by Fritz von Dardel.

Who was she? Did Augusta know her? Was Augusta at this ball? Is she one of the girls in the background?

Since I had not seen her name among Augusta’s school friends, I decided to check if she and Augusta might have known each other through church. I searched the 1844 records of first communion in the archives for Jacob’s Parish in Stockholm. Sure enough, Elisabeth Mathilda Schwan, born 2 February 1828, was listed as the 5th girl in the class, according to the social rank of the father (Augusta was listed as number 10; Elisabeth’s father was a wealthy merchant).

So, Augusta and Elisabeth were friends!

Another ball in 1844. Elisabeth's father, J. G. Schwan is the first gentleman from the left.
Another ball in 1844. Elisabeth’s father, J. G. Schwan is the first gentleman from the left. Painting by Fritz von Dardel.
Elisabeth Schwan's mother, Augusta Eleonora Schön. Drawing by Maria Röhl.
Elisabeth Schwan’s mother, Augusta Eleonora Schön. Drawing by Maria Röhl.

It didn’t take long to find out more about Elisabeth’s family. Her father, Johan Gustaf Schwan (b. 1802), was a wealthy merchant who had married his cousin, Augusta Eleonora Schön. She was the daughter of another important merchant in Stockholm – Johan Schön (b. 1781).

Elisabeth Schön and Adèle Peijron

I was already familiar with the wealthy family Schön. The mother of one of Augusta’s friends, Adèlaide (Adèle) Peijron, was born Schön. After some genealogy searches, I found out that the mothers of Elisabeth Schwan and Adèle Peijron were sisters.

So Elisabeth and Adèle were cousins!

Elisabeth must have been a favorite of von Dardel as he singled her out in two of his paintings. So what happened to hear in life. Who did she marry?

Knut Cassel!

All the Cassels!

Another familiar name from Augusta’s diary. Or did we get that wrong? In an earlier blog, I wrote about a young man in a straw hat that Augusta met on a Göta Canal cruise in July of 1850. He was from Stockholm and his name was Cassel. I had concluded that it most likely was Knut Cassel. But if Augusta knew Elisabeth, and Cassel was engaged to Elisabeth, wouldn’t they have made the discovery that Augusta knew Cassel’s fiancé? Wouldn’t she have mentioned that in her diary? So in retrospect, it was probably not Knut Cassel who was the fellow passenger.

Elisabeth Schwan's husband, Knut Cassel
Elisabeth Schwan’s husband, Knut Cassel

Knut Cassel was born in 1821 and had studied law at the university in Uppsala. In 1843, he got a position in the Department of Finance in Stockholm.

There is one more Cassel mentioned by Augusta. In the spring of 1846, Augusta asks her friend Lotten if it is true that Lieutenant Cassel has left for Russia. Lotten assured her that the rumor was true. Now, who was this Cassel? I search for lieutenants with the name of Cassel, and there are several in 1846. We’ll probably never know who Augusta referred to.

Elisabeth Schwan in 1855. Drawing by MariaRöhl.
Elisabeth Schwan in 1855. Drawing by MariaRöhl.

Stjernsund Castle

Anyway, Elisabeth and Knut had a long life together. They had 5 sons and in 1860, the family purchased a castle from the royal family – Stjernsund. Today, it is a museum. Kerstin and I are planning on visiting it on our Summer Sejour in June – wearing our new summer dresses!

Stjernsund Castle in the 1850s
Stjernsund Castle in the 1850s

Augusta’s voyage on the Göta Canal – ”one of the most beautiful and pleasant trips one can make”

In July 1850, Augusta made a memorable voyage on the Göta Canal. The reasons for Augusta’s voyage was to wave goodbye to her brother August, who was to sail from Gothenburg to Cape Town on the brig Mimer.

And of course, Augusta provides a colorful eyewitness account of her voyage.

On the outbound trip to Gothenburg, onboard the steamer Götheborg, she spends a lot of time with a Mr Cassel (possibly Knut Cassel):

“A couple of loud and gesticulating Frenchmen were entertaining a young, blond, unremarkable man in straw hat.”

“The next day, I became acquainted with all passengers and were then told that the young man in the straw hat was named Cassel and was from the Capital. Furthermore, I came to realize that he was not so unagreeable as I had first thought.”

 “The conversable Mr Cassel, who to me appeared to be a big nobody, although with a sharp mind and an incomparable talent to constantly keep his mouth moving, kept me entertained during the voyage.”

On the return trip, onboard the steamer Thomas Tellford, it is the captain who gets most of Augusta’s attention:

“Our captain’s name was Krüger, a very polite and charming young man who fulfilled all the duties of a host on his steamer. He entertained me quite agreeable during the trip, which is also one of the most beautiful and pleasant trips one can make. Before we parted in Söderköping, we agreed to dance the first waltz together at the Innocence Ball in January; let us see if that happens or not.”

But no, Augusta did not waltz with Captain Krüger in January. She didn’t travel to Stockholm until March of  that year.

And who was the charming young Captain who got Augusta to describe the Göta Canal voyage as one of the most beautiful and pleasant trip one can make?

Captain Carl Henrik Kreuger

Carl Henrik Kreuger was born 1822. He passed the marine officer examination in 1838 (only 16 years old) and sailed with foreign merchant fleets and the British fleet before becoming a lieutenant in 1846. As a young marine officer, he worked on Swedish ships during the summers: postal ships on the Baltic Sea and canal steamers on the Göta Canal. And that is how Augusta met him in the summer of 1850. He later had a stellar military career and retired in 1885 as a rear admiral.

What Augusta most likely did not find out was that Carl Henrik’s father had an interesting life story as well. Johan Henrik Kreuger was an admiral, author, and inventor. In 1822, the same year that Carl Henrik was born, Johan Henrik was asked by the Swedish government to restore Sweden’s relations with Morocco. Sweden owed Morocco 20,000 piasters for protection against pirates along the Moroccan coast. To resolve the conflict with Sultan Mulay Suleiman, Johan Henrik sailed with a squadron to Morocco. His negotiations with the Sultan were very successful; he returned to Sweden with a personal letter from the Sultan stating that the debt was forgiven.

Advertisement in the newspaper Tidningen för Wenersborgs Stad och Län, 17 juli 1850 (KB)

Top image: Gotha Canal Inauguration 1832 By Zg097qji (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons