After the wedding at Övedskloster (Skåne) in June 1808, Sophie and Georges Alexandre Dardel went to Sörmland to visit Sophie's sister and brother-in-law Ulla and Fredrik Bonde at Vibyholm. First they stopped at Kesäter (now Kjesäter), a manor close to Sävstaholm where Fredrik's brother Gustaf Trolle-Bonde lived. Dardel and Trolle-Bonde were friends and continuously wrote letters to each other about agrarian matters, art prints etc. Kesäter was one of the many properties owned by the Bonde family and had been restored twice during the late 18th c. The Dardel couple soon moved on to Vibyholm on the lake Båven. From there they could supervise the restoration of Hornsund, also on Båven. Sophie had bought the small property just before getting married. She owned furniture and other things needed to decorate a home, and she was rather wealthy. Her fortune and the revenues from Hornsund and Dardel's British army pension should guarantee the couple a good life at Hornsund, situated close to properties belonging to the related families Lewenhaupt and Bonde. A staff of 10 worked for their personal service, and 8 crofters worked the land. The son Malte was born at Hornsund in 1809, the same year as Gustaf IV Adolf abdicated and a new constitution was introduced. According to that constitution Dardel was ennobled in 1810, the same year as the daughter Rose was born. Dardel was introduced in the Riddarhuset (House of Nobles) in 1812.
In 1811 the couple left their two young children in the care of Ulla and Fredrik Bonde at Vibyholm and went to visit the old father David Dardel in Saint-Blaise. They returned to Hornsund in the beginning of 1812 and fetched their children at Vibyholm. Back at Hornsund another son, Adolf, was born. In 1814 the whole family went down to Neuchâtel and lived in a rented house. Their son Adolf died during the trip and Sophie was pregnant again. In a letter to Ulla Bonde she told about the birth of a son, Alexandre, called "Alexis". The couple financed their life by leasing out Hornsund to Hampus Mörner. Fredrik Bonde kept an eye on the property. In 1815 Rose died, in 1816 Alexis died and Sophie was pregnant again. Dardel wrote to Fredrik Bonde that he was not too happy. A daughter was born in 1816, Augusta (later married to Hans Ramel) In 1817 he asked Fredrik Bonde to see to that Sophie's stepson, Carl Axel Wachtmeister at Vanås, sold all their furniture etc. that was stored in his house. In 1817 Malte died and Fritz was born. In 1818 they decided to settle down for good at Vigner, Saint-Blaise. Fredrik Bonde was asked to sell Hornsund on their behalf. In 1819 the Sister of Fredrik Bonde. Ebba Sparre, bought Hornsund. Sophie gave birth to a little girl, Julie Sophie, who died the same year. Louis Alexandre was born in 1821.
In 1830 Sophie Dardel and her 14-year-old daughter Augusta travelled to Sweden. First they stopped at Vands, the stepson's home, then at Casimirsborg, the home of Sophie's uncle Gustaf Lewenhaupt. By midsummer they arrived in Vibyholm, just in time to celebrate the wedding of Augusta's cousin Sophie Bonde - and Gustaf Sparre, her cousin. By that time Vibyholm had been in the Bonde family around 100 years.
Sophie and her daughter Augusta moved to stay at Kesäter and also visited Claestorp, where the large family Lewenhaupt, relatives to Sophie, lived. The house was crowded with young people, governed by the mother Mina Lewenhaupt, a lively and joyful woman. Christmas 1830 was spent at Sävstaholm, where Gustaf Trolle-Bonde gave a ball to honour Augusta's 15th birthday in January 1831.
Augusta's younger brother Fritz made his first visit to Sörmland in March 1835. On his way to Stockholm he stayed with his aunt and uncle at Vibyholm. His aunt told him everything about his Swedish relatives, and he enjoyed the beautiful library of the castle. In November 1835 he stayed a long period with the Lewenhaupt family at Claestorp. He loved the 4 daughters, 5 sons and their parents. It was during this visit they all attended a peasant wedding. Two of the daughters Lewenhaupt accompanied the bride in a landau with 4 horses. The bridegroom followed on a horse accompanied by several horsemen. After the ceremony, a very lively and noisy feast with a lot of food, drinking and dancing started.
Fritz was at Claestorp often, and his very good friend Louis Wrede stayed there for very long periods. The young people at Claestorp enjoyed themselves a lot, and Fritz decorated some of the walls in one of the rooms on the upper floor. Fritz also contributed with designs for some of the products made at the famous handicraft school at Claestorp, founded by Mina Lewenhaupt in 1832.
Before his wedding in with Augusta Silfverschiöld Fritz and his sister Augusta visited the ageing couple Bonde at Vibyholm. Once married, Koberg and Råbäck, Silfverschiöld properties, became central places for Fritz, and his sister Augusta moved to Övedskloster, when she married Hans Ramel.
Text by Angela Rundquist, August 2002