Kategoriarkiv: Places

2. Hilda Theophila Lagerheim – a ”stiftsjungfru”

Little Hilda Theophila Lagerheim was not yet a year old when her name appeared in the daily newspaper in Stockholm. Her name was listed among others – all girls of noble families. The announcement stated that the Board of the House of Nobility on the 2nd of May had accepted the applications of these girls to become maidens of the Vadstena Adliga Jungfrustift. Hilda, still a toddler, now had the title of Stiftsjungfru.

Before getting into the significance of this title, let’s first get back to the birth and childhood of Hilda.

Hilda was born on June 4, 1827. Her father, Olof Johan Lagerheim, was a nobleman and a Supreme Court Justice (thus Hilda’s ranking as 2 of all the 92 girls who were confirmed in St Jacob’s Church in May of 1844). Her mother was Emerentia Frigell, the daughter of a wholesale merchant.

When Hilda was born, the family lived in a wing behind the House of Nobility in the Old Town of Stockholm. The wing was later torn down and today there are two separate houses that serve as wings to the main building.

A few weeks ago, I wrote about another girl in the confirmation class, Therese Gustafva Aspegrén, and how her mother had died in the cholera epidemic of 1834. She also lived in Old Town and not too far from Hilda. The horrors of the epidemic affected them all. Therese’s mother had died on the 13th of September. Hilda’s father died from cholera 4 days earlier, on the 9th. That someone of his eminence would succumb to this disease was so sad, disconcerting, and surprising:

Among more familiar and prominent people who died of cholera was …  Justice Olof Johan Lagerheim, an excellent official who was equally valued and liked for his humanity. Lagerheim was extremely active as chairman of his parish’s health committee. To set a good example and to encourage the townspeople, he volunteered to drive the carriage that collected the dead. He fell victim himself and succumbed to the disease from which he had managed to save so many of the congregation’s members.  http://runeberg.org/gsthlm/0204.html 


The family now had to move, and they moved to a house just a block away from St Jacob’s Church. Hilda’s mother was suddenly a widow at the age of 43 and had 6 children to care for:  Ture 16, Louise 15, Nils 12, Carl 10, Hilda 6, and Johanna 3 years old.

Ten years later, in 1844, when Hilda was studying for her upcoming confirmation, the family still lived at this address. But now the mother had become ill. She had developed gangrene and there were no effective treatments for the disease. On the 24th of April, she died and the children became orphans. The funeral was at St Jacob’s Church one week before Hilda’s confirmation.

Vadstena Adliga Jungfrustift

So what was Vadstena Adliga Jungfrustift (Vadstena Noble Maiden Diocese) and what did it mean to have a title of Stiftsjungfru?

Vadstena is a picturesque town in Sweden, famous for its medieval Birgittine Convent and castle.

Walking by the castle in Vadstena on one of our Augusta trips. Photo by Kerstin Melin.

During the renaissance, noble families in Europe looked to convents for educating and supervising their daughters until they were ready for marriage. Unmarried noblewomen and widows whose families were unable to care for them were also in need of financial help and a place to live.

After the reformation, catholic convents were not an option for the protestant noble families. Instead, they started protestant “convents”, so-called jungfrustift for unmarried women of noble families. Jungfru, literally “young woman”, refers to a maiden and stift means a diocese. A woman belonging to a jungfrustift was given the title stiftsjungfru, literally, ”diocese maiden”.

There were jungfrustifts in Germany and Denmark. In Sweden, there were two – the one in Vadstena, which started in 1739, and one in Norrköping (1783-1796).

The one in Vadstena had lofty goals and got the King’s permission to use the castle to house the women. The estimated cost of running this convent, however, was prohibitive and in the end, the organization moved to Stockholm and became a simple pension fund in 1822, managed by the House of Nobility.

Vadstena Adliga Jungfrustift still exists. Parents will apply for their daughters when they are young, just like Hilda’s parents did. Today, noblewomen can also apply by themselves. There is a small application fee. To be eligible for the pension, the woman has to be single or a widow. Today, the number of women getting a yearly pension is capped at 100. These are the 100 women with the longest membership.

These rules must have changed, as Hilda, who was still young, received a pension from the fund as published in the daily newspaper. On May 6, 1865, she was listed among those who received 50 RKS RMT yearly; the other cohort received 100. Hilda’s pension would be equivalent to 3500 SEK today, or $424.

The star of Vadstena Adliga Jungfrustift

What happened to Hilda after 1844?

Who took care of Hilda and her siblings after they became orphans? The year was 1844 and the following year, no one in the family lived at their old address. Hilda seems to have disappeared from all digitized church and census records in Stockholm. Some of Hilda’s siblings appear in those records, but not Hilda.

So instead, I search for her in the digitized daily newspapers. And that is where I find the announcements of Vadstena and her pension. And I find her obituary and an advertisement about the subsequent auction of all her belongings. The auction mentions an address – Sjöberg’s Bookstore in the town of Västerås. Would they really have hauled all her things to a bookstore? Then it hits me that maybe she lived in the same house as the bookstore? I check the church records – the pastor’s house examination book, where he yearly checked on each household and made sure they knew how to read and that they knew their bible. And there, I find her name! She is indeed living with the Sjöberg family and now I can and go backward in time through volumes of church records – all her moves from place to place, parish to parish, neatly (or sometimes illegibly) penned down by pastors. It takes me a week to find the crumbs she left behind as she moved around Sweden.

This is her story, but now in chronological order, starting with the year she left Stockholm.

Häringe Castle

In 1848, Hilda is 21 years old. She moves from Stockholm to Häringe Castle in Västerhaninge parish.

Häringe Castle. Today it is a hotel. You can book it on Expedia and have a ”yummy breakfast, poolside” as one guest wrote. Times have changed more than Hilda could ever imagine. But we can imagine Hilda sitting in this room some 170 years ago.

Häringe is a castle owned by Baron Axel Wilhelm Löwen (b. 1783). He is married to Lovisa Ehrensvärd (b. 1793). Together they have 5 daughters between the ages of 18 and 26. All the girls were born at an estate that the Löwen family also owned – Glasberga. What an interesting coincidence – my grandfather owned Glasberga manor when my dad was a toddler.


How did Hilda end up at Häringe? She obviously was not hired to be a governess to the daughters as they were all close to her in age.

Ulrika Elin Christina Löwen (b. 1822). One of the daughters in the family. Photo from the House of Nobility.

Could she have been invited to be a lady’s companion to the girls’ mother’s sister, Fredrika Ehrensvärd, who had recently moved in with the family? Or did the family know Hilda’s family and invited her to live with them?

In 1852, the mother, Lovisa Ehrensvärd dies. And in 1855, after 7 years at Häringe, the pastor writes in the house examination book that Hilda has moved away. I check the records of parishioners moving to another parish (that is how I can track her moves – records of moving in and out of parishes) but it simply states that she has been removed from the parish’s records. Where did she go?

Giresta in Rytterne Parish

According to the church records in Rytterne, Hilda is registered as moving into this parish in 1857. That is 2 years after she left Häringe. The records state that she came from Västerhaninge parish, which is correct. Did she go somewhere else for 2 years without registering with a parish?

She has now moved in with a family at an estate by the name of Giresta in Rytterne parish. Giresta is a farm that belongs to a larger estate – Fiholm. Again a surprise as it is a familiar name. My favorite aunt, Aunt Piggen (Marianne Ridderstolpe), was born and raised at Fiholm and I have a wonderful childhood memory of celebrating Midsummer there.

The family residing at Giresta is Baron Adolf Falkenberg (b. 1807) and his wife Eva Fredrika Skjöldebrand (b. 1815) and their 4 children.

Also residing at Giresta is a forester, Johan Fredrik Ludvig Kolbe (b. 1802), his wife Gustafva Hedvig Catharina Rudbeck (b. 1824), and her sister, Fredrika Helena Charlotta Rudbeck (b. 1828).

Interestingly, Forester Kolbe is the brother of Carolina Kolbe, the wife of Fredrik Ridderstolpe (b. 1783) who is the owner of Fiholm and Giresta. In 1861, Forester Kolbe dies and Gustafva is now a widow. She, her sister Fredrika, and Hilda have to move.

Strömsholms Palace

In 1862, the three women move to a beautiful place – Strömsholm in Kohlbäck parish. Strömsholm is a royal palace and has been an equestrian center since the 16th century.

Strömsholm Palace

According to the church records, Hilda and the two sisters Rudbeck rent rooms in the house of the palace chamberlain, N.G. Eek. Again, why did they move here? Three young women from noble families.

In December of 1864, Hilda is in the papers again. This time, an upper court has decided that Hilda will not be entitled to managing her own affairs, but to still have a guardian, even though the law has just changed to grant women majority at the age of 25.

What does that mean? Why was she not trusted to take care of herself? And who was her guardian? One of her brothers? Had her guardian brought her case to court or had she requested to still have a guardian? If you had had a guardian taking care of you all your life, not having one might be frightening. A guardian would be responsible for you and make sure you were taken care of.

Hilda and her friends live at Strömsholm for 6 years until 1868, when it is time to move again. And this time, they take two of their maids with them.


Västerås is a provincial capital and now, Hilda will be living in a town again. Maybe that was exciting. Hedvig, who is a widow, marries a bookstore owner, Carl Magnus Sjöberg on the 12th of June 1870.

Sjöberg’s Bookstore in Västerås

Two years later, on February 26, 1872, at an age of 44, Hilda dies from chronic pneumonia and acute lung edema. The following August, there is an auction of the belongings, listed as furniture, various household items and other things, and even a hooded buggy.

A hooded buggy from the 1870s

To keep her life story straight, I found that I had to construct a map to get an idea of the places where she had lived.

Hilda’s Siblings

So what happened to Hilda’s siblings?

Ture, the oldest brother, never married and died from a stroke at age 33.

Johanna, her younger sister, also did not marry and died from gastric fever at the age of 27.

Then there was Carl who also did not marry but was a lawyer and worked for the court (Svea Hovrätt) that had decided that Hilda should still have a guardian. Was he her guardian? Carl died in Bellagio in Italy where he was staying to cure an illness. He was 58.

Nils married and had children.

And then there was Louise, Hilda’s older sister. She married Jakob von Knorring, had children, and was a very accomplished artist and musician.

Hilda’s older sister, Louise Emerentia Lagerheim, married von Knorring, with her 3 children:  Augusta Emerentia Amalia, Sigrid Elisabeth Lovisa, and Egenolf Alexander Elias. Photo from the House of Nobility.

Carolina Wester’s family at Loddby and the accident in August 1831

It is a beautiful, late-summer Sunday. The Wester family at Loddby has attended church and listened to Pastor Mobeck’s sermon about the importance of rest and of keeping the Sabbath. Now they are back at Loddby and that is what they are doing. At least the women, resting. The three young men have decided to go fishing. The matriarch, widow, and owner of Loddby, Carolina Wester, and her daughter Caroline are sitting in the sunny parlor downstairs.

Sofia Ulrich is upstairs with the younger girls: Ulla, Ida, and Lotten Wester. They are sitting by the window, talking. Through the trees, they can see the sun glitter on the bay and the small rowboat in the distance. Sofia can’t tell if it is Berndt or Carl or Markus who is rowing. They are too far out on the bay. Suddenly there seems to be some commotion in the boat – is someone standing up? Then things happen fast. For a split second, it looks like the boat is listing, and then, with horror, she realizes that the boat is capsizing.

Lotten Ulrich’s diary, 1 September 1831

“Today, we received very sad news, that little Markus Wester has drowned at his mother’s Loddby and that both Berndt Forsgrén and Ulla’s fiancé Hülphers almost drowned as well. Poor Tante Wester who has just lost a beloved son in such a horrible way, and poor Caroline! Imagine losing one’s brother and fear for one’s husband’s life, especially as she is still ill, for it has not even been two weeks since she gave birth at Loddby to a baby who died the following day, and such a more heartfelt loss as they have been married for 3 years without being able to have any children, something they really wanted.

Poor Ulla, who lost a brother and was close to have her fiancé perish. She was with her sisters, Ida and Lotten, and my aunt Sofia upstairs and saw from the windows the little rowing boat capsize. They hurried down and sent a boat to the rescue, but the distressed men were several hundred meters from the shore. Berndt was about to take his last breath when the boat reached them. Young Hülphers, who was swimming towards the shore carrying Markus on his back, was completely exhausted and when the help reached him, Markus was already dead in his arms. Because of all the water he had swallowed and the horror he had experienced, he had passed out and died.”

The Owners of Loddby

Augusta’s brother-in-law, Gustaf Lejdenfrost, bought Loddby from Caroline Wester in 1832 and Augusta moved to Loddby in 1835. Augusta lived at Loddby with her mother, brother, and Lejdenfrost until she married. But who were Caroline Wester and all the persons named in Lotten Ulrich’s diary? And who was Lotten Ulrich?

Lotten Ulrich’s Diary

Lotten Ulrich (1806-1887) and Edla Ulrich (1816-1897) lived at the Royal Palace in Stockholm where their father, Johan Christian Henrik Ulrich, was the secretary to King Carl XIV Johan. The two sisters’ diaries were published in  Systrarnas Ulrichs dagböcker by Margareta Östman. When the king died in 1844, the family had to move to Norrköping (close to Loddby) and Augusta’s best friend in Stockholm, Lotten Westman, encouraged Augusta to get acquainted with the two sisters.

Geneology and Relationships – For those who are interested…

Sofia Vilhelmina Ulrich (1798-1866)

Who was Lotten Ulrich’s aunt Sofia Ulrich? She was indeed one of Lotten Ulrich’s father’s sisters (there were 9 children in the family). Sofia was born in Norrköping and in 1831, at the age of 33, she was living with the Ulrich family at Loddby. How was she acquainted with the Wester family? We don’t know.

Carolina Wester (1786-1875)

The matriarch, widow, and owner of Loddby, Carolina Wester, was born Heitmüller. In 1807, she married the 34-year-old widow, Markus Wester (1773-1820), who owned the ironworks at Molnebo. Together, they had 8 children.

  1. Daniel Kristian (1808-1813)
  2. Kristina Hedda Karolina ”Caroline” (1811-1891)
  3. Karl Erik (1813-1864)
  4. Lovisa Ulrika Maria ”Ulla” (1814-1886)
  5. Aronina Arvida Gabriella ”Ida” (1815-1886)
  6. Markusina Charlotta ”Lotten” (1816- 1839)
  7. Markus (1817-1831)
  8. Hjalmar (1819-1824)

Just a side note about names. I have never seen the names of Aronina and Markusina before. But just as the female versions of Christian, Carl, and Joseph are Christina, Carolina, and Josephina, I guess one can add “ina” to any male name – Aron and Markus become Aronina and Markusina.


Carolina Wester (1786-1875)
Markus Wester (1773-1820)

Caroline Wester (1811-1891)

Kristina Hedda Karolina ”Caroline” was the oldest daughter in the family. In 1829, she married Berndt Gustaf Forsgrén (1799-1888) who was a silk and clothing merchant in Stockholm. His store was located at the excellent address of Stortorget 1 in the Old Town, right across from the bourse. In the summer of 1831, Caroline must have stayed with her mother at Loddby for the birth of her first child. And now she had lost both her baby and her brother. It could have been even worse. She could have lost her husband too in the boating accident.

So how did life turn out for Caroline and Berndt? According to the census records in Stockholm, the couple had 9 children and, in 1845, the family lived at Stora Nygatan 22. Berndt Forsgrén was very successful and became extremely wealthy. One of their daughters, Carolina Elisabet, married Erik Swartz (b. 1817), and their son, Carl Swartz, became Sweden’s prime minister in 1917.

Berndt Forsgrén also had a successful brother, merchant Carl Robert Forsgrén (1797-1853). He married Sofia Ulrich’s younger sister, Anna Eleonora Lowisa (1805-1853) in 1826. Their granddaughter was Anna Whitlock, a famous woman’s right advocate and suffragette who founded a modern school for girls in 1878.

Ulla Wester (1814-1886)

Lovisa Ulrika Maria ”Ulla” was 17 years old in the summer of 1831. She was engaged to textile dyer Carl Abraham Hülphers (1806-1860), the young man who tried to rescue Markus Wester. Ulla and Carl married in 1833 and had one daughter, Sofia Karolina Lovisa (1835-1885). Sofia married Johan Gustaf Swartz (1819-1885) in 1854.

Interestingly, the daughters of the two sisters, Caroline and Ulla Wester, married the two brothers Swartz (Erik and Johan).

Ida Wester (1815-1886)

Aronina Arvida Gabriella ”Ida” married Frans Adam Björling (1801-1869) in 1842. It was his second marriage. Ida did not have any children but she was a stepmother to her husband’s son, Carl August Theodor. The family owned and lived at Slagsta, an estate south of Stockholm.

Lotten Wester (1816- 1839)

Markusina Charlotta ”Lotten”, the youngest daughter in the family, had a short life. She did not marry and died in Norrköping at the age of 22 from dysentery (Swedish: rödsot).

The image of the 3 men in a rowboat is from a larger painting by Josefina Holmlund (b. 1827):



The Silkworms at Bellevue

Bellevue in 1856. Oil painting by Erik Westerling (1819-1857).

May God Preserve our Silk Worms

Father told us last Monday when he was here, that the kind pastor, Mr. Lindström, who my sister and I have recently been acquainted with, had visited father at the palace that same day in order to ask if he could give us some silkworms that he couldn’t keep as he will spend the summer in Uppsala. Father had been kind to answer and thank him on our behalf, whereupon Mr. Lindstrom had promised to send them to us in a few days. Imagine our joy in owning these insects and being able to study their interesting transformations. May God preserve them for us because cultivating them requires special care of which none of us have any knowledge. (Lotten Ulrich’s diary, Stockholm, 31 May 1833, my translation)

Imagine my surprise when I approached the carton with the silkworms and only saw the two small, and instead of the two large worms, two cocoons of yellow silk. I immediately understood that they had started to spin. (Lotten Ulrich’s diary, Stockholm, 9 July 1833, my translation)

Lotten Ulrich (1806-1887) and her sister Edla Ulrich (1816-1897) lived at the Royal Palace in Stockholm where their father, Johan Christian Henrik Ulrich, was the secretary to King Carl XIV Johan. The family later moved to Norrköping. You can read more about them and their connection with Augusta in a previous blog entry.

So, was the silkworm an upper-class, exotic pet in the 1830s? And were there any mulberry trees in Stockholm so Lotten and Edla had something to feed them?

The Swedish Association for Domestic Sericulture

The Swedish Association for Domestic Sericulture, that is, silk farming, was founded in 1830. The driving force behind the association was a young woman by the name of Charlotte Östberg. She had previously, and anonymously, published a book about silk farming and she also practiced it in Stockholm. The founding members of the association were the husband of Charlotte Östberg and among others, professors Jacob Berzelius and Nils Wilhelm Almroth (the father of Augusta’s friends Ebba and Emma Almroth). By 1841, Professor Carl Henrik Boheman, the father of Augusta’s best friends Hildur and Hildegard Boheman) had also joined the board.

The Silk production at Bellevue

The association was to encourage silk production in Sweden by the planting of mulberry trees, to publish information on silkworm care and, depending on its means, provided those interested in silk production with plants and/or mulberry seeds. By 1841, the association had distributed over 50,000 seedlings.

The patron of the association was the Swedish Crown Princess Josephine. She was very much interested in silk production and her husband, Crown Prince Oscar, provided the association with land for planting mulberry trees at Bellevue, a royal park outside Stockholm. Bellevue thus became the center for teaching and promoting silk production in Stockholm.

Crown Princess Josephine’s award medal for the cultivation of silk. 1833.


By 1841, the association realized that only the wealthy had taken up silk production and then, only as an interesting hobby. Still, they concluded, that for the working class to take up silk production, the gentlemen must first cultivate mulberry trees and produce silk before the working class could profit from this new industry.

A thesis on the Swedish sericulture makes for very interesting reading. In summary, Sweden gave up on producing its own silk.

If it hadn’t been for a 190-year-old diary by a girl who described the delight in getting some silkworms, I would never have known about the forest of white mulberry trees at Bellevue in Stockholm. And if I was in Stockholm, I would make an outing to the park and look for any little mulberry tree. Maybe some stump or roots survived and sprouted new trees. From my experience, mulberry trees are almost impossible to get rid of – they really grow like weeds.


Drömmen om svenskt silke. Anders Johansson Åbonde.

Systrarna Ulrichs dagböcker. Margareta Östman.


Dashing through the snow…

You can get to Stockholm’s international airport either by train or by car. Either way, you will pass Rosersberg, a small community northwest of Stockholm. If you are having a rental car, this is where you start looking for a gas station to fill up the car. If you are going by train, you just enjoy the beauty of the landscape. In the winter, there will be stretches of snowy fields, small farms in the distance, and dense evergreen forests. You could paint it for next year’s Christmas card.

When the train stops at Rosersberg, some people will get off and maybe some will take the connecting bus 577. That is how you get to Skånela Church and Skånelaholm Castle. I have never taken the bus and never visited the places. But now it is on my list for next summer’s excursions!

The reason?

I just can’t let go of an image of a teenage girl learning to shoot a pistol there and learning to drive a sleigh from Skånela Church to her home in central Stockholm. I can imagine her proudly driving the whole length of Drottninggatan, or Queen Street, in Stockholm. It must have been like a rite of passage – like getting your driver’s license and showing off by driving all the way up to your front door – and hoping your neighbors and friends are watching!

”My dear Augusta!

Thank you, my dear friend, for your long-awaited letter; you will not be angry with me for letting you wait a few mail days for an answer. I have been thinking of writing to you each mail day, but as you see, this has not happened. This Christmas has been the nicest one I can remember. First, we spent the Christmas holiday, or rather, the Christmas days as usual with our family. Then we traveled out to the countryside, to Pastor Schröderheim, where we spent 14 days – the most pleasant days you could ever imagine. We went to several balls at the neighbors, we went sledding, and in the evening, when we were at home, we sat in Uncle’s room and read aloud. I learned to shoot with a pistol and to drive a horse. On the way home I drove 10 miles* and then the whole length of Drottninggatan [Queen Street] all the way to our door. (Lotten’s letter to Augusta, Stockholm, February 9, 1847).”

Augusta’s friend, Lotten Westman, was a wealthy city-girl. She was born and raised in Stockholm. Lotten and her sister Clara lived with a foster mother after becoming orphans. But the sisters had many aunts and uncles in Stockholm and distant relatives in the countryside. Those were the families they visited during the holidays.

Pastor Göran Ulric Schröderheim was one of them. He had married his cousin, Anna Charlotta Westman, and both of them were also Lotten’s father’s cousins. Schröderheim had been a pastor at the Royal Court but was at this time pastor at Skånela Church north of Stockholm. He and his wife had two sons, Göran and Johan.

”The pastor’s wife is a very decent, but ordinary woman. The sons, the lieutenant and the student, are also decent, especially the latter who was my real favorite. He is the most cheerful and kindest man you can imagine. Because we had had such a happy and fun time there, the first days after my return were so quiet, and I especially missed my favorite.”

Lotten liked Johan who was a student in Uppsala. He would later marry his neighbor at Skånelaholm Castle, Hedvig Lovisa Juliana Jennings.  The same neighbors whose balls Lotten had attended.

Today, Skånela parsonage is listed as a B&B for conferences and Skånelaholm Castle is open to the public.

Painting of Skånelaholm Castle (1881)

Let’s plan on an Augusta excursion to Skånela; imagining Lotten in a silk ballgown dancing in one of the castle’s halls, or dressed in a warm wool dress with layers of petticoats and shawls, practicing target shooting in the castle garden, or sledding down some slope – shawls flying!

*10 English miles = 6 fjärdings väg

Sleigh Ride, Einar Torsslow.
Sleigh Ride, Einar Torsslow.

On her birthday: Cecilia Ekenstam

Under the moss on the gravestone, you can discern the words chiseled in the polished marble: NEVER FORGOTTEN.

”Sterne’s Maria”. Painting by Charles Landseer (1799-1879)

We have reached the final destination of our trip to the west coast of Sweden – Varberg. This is where Augusta, at the age of 28, spent a short time to treat her tuberculosis with sea air and spa water – the only prescribed treatments available before the discovery of the bacterium that causes tuberculosis. And this is where she died on 28 July 1855.

We stand before the grave in the shaded old cemetery in the center of old Varberg where we have just planted small roses. Next to hers is a grave with an iron cross, partially buried by thick bushes. Whose grave is this? Another life cut short? I decide to find out, and what I find is another girl who should never be forgotten.

Augusta Nordwall (Söderholm) and Cecilia Ekenstam’s graves

Cecilia Ekenstam

By sheer coincidence, her birthday is today! She was born 187 years ago today. Unfortunately, she died at age 20.

Helena Cecilia Sofia Ekenstam was born on 19 October 1832 at Sålla, Sjögestad, not far from the parish where Augusta was born (Slaka). She was the 8th child of the 14 children born to her parents, Fabian Vilhelm af Ekenstam and Sofia Charlotta Zachrisson. She grew up in Stora Tuna parish outside Borlänge, in Dalarna. Like Augusta, she contracted tuberculosis at a young age and was sent to Varberg in the hope of curing her lung disease. When she died on 16 August 1853, she was buried in Varberg, far from her family. Two years later, Augusta would be buried next to her.

Fabian Vilhelm af Ekenstam

Cecilia’s father: ThD, professor, vicar, and alchemist.

Cecilia came from an interesting noble family. Her father, “The last Swedish Alchemist”, was deeply religious and studied theology, mathematics, and Sanskrit at Lund University. In 1813, he moved to London where he became interested in alchemy. Having no success in alchemy, he returned to Lund in 1818 where he became a professor. In 1822, he moved to Linköping and in 1836, he became the vicar in Stora Tuna parish in Dalarna, a position he held until his death in 1868 at the age of 82.

Stora Tuna church where Cecilia’s father was the vicar

If you visit Varberg,

put flowers on both Augusta’s and Cecilia’s graves. Two young girls who died far from home and should never be forgotten.






Inte Bara Gravar: Bakom varje sten finns en levande historia. Gert Nelje, Alva Peterson, Jåkan Norling. Hembygdsföreningen Gamla Varberg.