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.
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!
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?
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.
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.
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!
In the fall of 1841, Augusta started school in Stockholm. It was a boarding school run by Mrs. Lovisa Edgren and her husband, Johan Fredrik Edgren. During the summer of 1844, the Edgrens moved and the school closed. Augusta still had one more year to study in Stockholm so what school did she attend in the fall of 1844?
Augusta’s best friend Lotten kept in touch with Augusta after they had both finished school in 1845. She updated Augusta on the latest gossip.
I thought that if I could learn more about Augusta’s friends, I might be able to get the pieces of the puzzle and figure out which school they all attended.
“Yesterday, I was visiting Mlle Frigel and she always asks about you and sent her warmest regards. Adèle Peyron also sent you many greetings. Erica Degermann and I are invited to Mlle Frigel on a final ball on Tuesday.” (16 April 1846)
On 18 December 1845, Lotten writes:
Your greetings to Mlle Frigel and the girls have already been conveyed.”
It was that sentence I reacted to. It wasn’t a mother and her girls that Augusta was sending greetings to – it was a mademoiselle and her girls. Didn’t that sound like a teacher and her girls?
How would I find out?
Googling Frigel + Stockholm leads me to a famous composer and professor of music theory. He was during the late 1700s and early 1800s Sweden’s most renowned music theorist – Pehr Frigel (1750 – 1842). He married Maria Charlotta Palmroth (1766-1797). Did they have any unmarried daughters that could have been teachers?
They had three daughters: Beata Helena Charlotta (2 December 1790 – 26 November 1855), Andriette Christina (21 September 1795 – 6 October 1882), and Margareta (who died in infancy). Either Charlotte or Andriette could have been a teacher – or both.
I start looking for Charlotta. The first place I search is the digitized census records for Stockholm. I only find P. Frigel in the 1835 census records and, sure enough, it is Pehr Frigel. He, his daughter Charlotta, and a “cleaning woman,” are listed at the same address. Andrietta must have been living somewhere else.
What happened to Charlotta after 1835?
Now I search the Royal Library’s digitized newspapers for any mention of Charlotta. There are two hits.
The first one is in the Daglig Allehanda newspaper of 17 July 1840, noting that “by the Royal Majesty” Charlotta and her sister Andrietta and 8 other girls have been granted the right to be legally independent (Swedish: ”att vara myndig”). Unmarried girls could apply for this right but it wasn’t until 1863 that women automatically were granted this right at the age of 25. Of course, if they married they lost this right and their husbands became their guardians.
The second notice about Charlotta is her death notice. It states: “Death in the provincial towns: Mademoiselle Beata Helena Charlotta Frigel at Aske Manor in Uppland, 26 November 1855, 65 years old.”
Did she become a private teacher in some wealthy family?
“From my 4th year, 1813, I still vividly remember two events: a funeral for a merely one-year-old little brother, and the arrival of a teacher, Mademoiselle Charlotte Frigel, for my sisters. I can still vividly see her looks and clothing in front of me as if it was just yesterday.”
It is a long memoir, but very interesting, about his family’s extensive travels in Europe over several years, their health issues, and their deep religiosity.
I look up the sister who Charlotta, at age 23, was hired to teach in 1813. Johanna Vilhelmina (Mimmi) was 6 years old. Two years later, a second daughter, Maria Carolina Matilda, was born.
I don’t know how many years Charlotta stayed at Aske and whether she was living there or just visiting when she died in 1855.
Her name appears with three different spellings: Andriette, Andrietta, and Andréetta. In the census records, she is listed as the head of the household with the title of “sekreterardotter”, daughter of a secretary. Her father, Pehr Frigel, was the permanent secretary of The Royal Swedish Academy of Music. He was also a secretary in the Royal State Office.
Digitized census records of Andriette’s household exist for the years 1845 and 1870. I first pull up the image for 1845. I can hardly believe what I see.
I have found Augusta’s school! Andriette Frigel is Mlle Frigel in Lotten’s letters!
“Undersigned, daughter to the late secretary in the Royal State Office, Pehr Frigel, and through the Royal Majesty’s graceful resolution of 19 June 1840 declared legally independent, maintains a boarding institute for girls.”
The girls boarding with Mademoiselle Frigel are listed as Adelaide Peyron, Mathilda Biel, and Elizabeth Biel. All three had boarded with Mrs. Edgren the year before (in addition to Augusta and Josefine Stenbock).
And where did Andriette live? In 1845, her address is listed as the block named Blåman, House No. 8 or, according to the new numbering system, Drottninggatan (Queen Street) 53. I enter the address into Google Maps and smile. Of course, I know where that is. It is a clothing store – Indiska. Every time I am in Stockholm, I check out their sales. So this is where Augusta went to school during the fall of 1844 and the spring of 1845. And it is very close to where she was living, boarding with the Ribbing family. That place is now a Starbucks Café close to the Central Station. Of course, the locations are the same, not the houses. Soon I will be able to lead walking tours through Stockholm in the footsteps of Augusta. We will meet at Starbucks!
So what happened to Andriette later in life? There is one note stating that she was an artist – something I have not been able to verify. I search the digitized daily newspapers again and find her death notice. She died in Stockholm in 1882 at the age of 87.
Pehr Frigel’s Funeral and Jenny Lind
Which brings me back to Andriette’s father, Pehr Frigel. He lived to be 92. His funeral in 1842 was grand, to say the least. The daily paper wrote about the music that was performed and the solo artists – including Jenny Lind. She was only 22 years old and belonged to the same parish as Pehr Frigel. She would soon become world-renowned.
It’s already August, but what a fun summer Kerstin and I have had. First, we visited places where our great-great-grandmother, Augusta Söderholm, had played as a kid or visited as a young woman, then we spent a night on a steam-engine ship, and then we traveled by both steam ships and steam trains. Back in Stockholm, we visited the city archives to find out more about Augusta’s school in Stockholm. Finally, one of the highlights of the summer was our participation in the activities at Torekällberget, a living-history museum in Södertälje. We now have lots of materials for future blogs!
But right now, I am on a mission to find Augusta’s school friends. I have slowly been going through the correspondence between Augusta and her best friend, Lotten Westman, and trying to put faces to the names mentioned.
”Stockholm 16 April 1846
My own Augusta!
Thank you, thank you, for your latest and, for so long, an anticipated letter which was dearly received.
… Yesterday, I was visiting Mademoiselle Frigel and she always asks about you and she sent you her warmest regards. Adèle Peyron also sent you lots of greetings. Erica Degermann and I are invited to Mademoiselle Frigel on a graduation ball on Tuesday…”
So, who was her friend, Adèle Peyron (or Peijron)?
Her full name was Adèlaide Virginia Peyron and she was born 13 June 1831 in Stockholm – so she was 4 years younger than Augusta. Adèle, Augusta, and 3 other girls all boarded with their teacher, Mrs. Edgren, and her husband in their house on Stora Wattugränd 12 in Stockholm. Kerstin and I visited the place where their house once stood, just behind Klara Church. Now it is an office building clad in steel.
Did the girls share beds? It was very common in the 1800s. It was also a way to keep warm in the winter. I assume they would have become very close, just like sisters.
So what happened to Adèle?
She married chamberlain Gabriel Gerhard Sigge Sparre af Rossvik in 1853 and had 2 sons and 2 daughters. But her life was marred by a tragedy.
”Sad Things Still Happen”
That is the title and the first words of a ballad we sang in Sweden as kids. It tells the sad love story of the nobleman and lieutenant, Sixten Sparre (who was already married and had 2 children), and a famous Danish circus artist, Elvira Madigan. Desperately in love, they decided to run away to Denmark. Having no means to support themselves and no one coming to their rescue, they then planned to commit suicide – a romantic last picnic before Sixten shot Elvira and then himself.
The news were all over the papers in the summer of 1889. And the ballad about Elvira Madigan became famous throughout Sweden through “Skilling Prints” – inexpensive prints of song texts. And 100 years later, the ballad is still famous. Not to mention an award-winning movie made in 1967.
Adèle Peyron and Sixten Sparre
Augusta’s friend, Adèle, was Sixten’s mother.
In 1844, when Adèle and Augusta were both listed as living in the Edgren household, Adèle was only 12 years old. They were learning German and French together, doing their embroideries, and going to children’s balls. She could never have imagined the events that were going to affect her family, nor the shock and sorrow she would experience on receiving the news about her son.
While searching for Adèle, I landed on another blog. The blog is written by Adèle’s great-great-granddaughter, Kathinka Lindhe. She writes about Adèle and about a book she has published. And there is a picture of Adèle! I find it fascinating that we are both blogging about our great-great-grandmothers – who were best friends!