Birgitte Christine Kaas
02 Oct 1682 – 14 Aug 1761
Wife of Henrik Jorgen Huitfeldt
Mother of Sophie Beate Huitfeldt
Birgitte Christine was born at Elingard in 1682 and was the daughter of county magistrate Hans Kaas and Sophie Amalie Bielke. It is said that she was a cheerful lady. We know little about her upbringing, but she was orphaned when she was 18 years old. She spent some years at court in her younger days and could have been in the house of Countess von Schindel, mistress of FrederickIV. Together with her husband, and alone in his absence she managed the manors Elingård, Kjølberg and Sande, with sawmills and tenants. Today she is remembered as one of 1700’s most distinguished female characters, and as a representative of the 16 – and 1700’s nobility . She was a capable writer, and her hymn translations were in use long after her death.
Birgitte Christine Kaas’s handwritten poems were lost in an annihilating fire in 1746 when Elingaard was burned to the ground. In Nogle Aandelige Psalmer, Oversatte udaf det Tydske Sprog paa Dansk af den, Som inderlig begiærer at have udi sit Hierte Bestandig Christi Kierlighed the author’s name is concealed in the first letters of the last three words. The book, which was printed in Copenhagen in 1734, contains twenty-eight translations of German hymns, chiefly written by female authors.
She was a rigorous lady and became therefore gladly called “General Birthe”. In her husband’s absence, she ran the farm and estate with a firm hand. She had a good education and mastered more than one language. She both composed and wrote poems. She had consequently a distinct intellectual side and could thus compare favorably with the wives at for example; Hafslund and Borregard. She was no subservient woman as silent in gathering/group and broke thus with the custom of the time, as was the case with the other parish farm wives. Chancery counsellor, Carl Deichmann who established the Deichmanske Library, must have known Birgitte Christine personally. He wrote that she was “cheerful and nice.”King Christian VI visited Norway in 1733 with a large group of people. The king’s mother-in-law, Marquise of Bayreuth, was also visiting. She urged Birgitte Christine to use her poetic abilities to “Raise religion”. The year after she therefore wrote 28 hymns that were interpreted from German. The collection is named “Nogle spiritual Psalms”, and the two most famous are, “Sorg o’ kjÊre Fader” and “Se solens skjonne lys og prakt”.Birgitte Christine must have made a great impression on the people in her time, and it lives on today in tradition connected to her life and activities. It is related that she lies buried with a paper in one hand and a book in the other. This shall in a symbolic way underline, that she was a lady with rigorous discipline and literary teaching. The same tradition is connected with Karen Werenskiold Huitfeldt at Hafslund. Also she was an authoritative and learned wife. They both were married to a Huitfeldt and had very much in common, they also received the same posthumous fame.But Birgitte Christine was surely a more complex character, and it is related that “she had an incomprehensible need to play cards. One evening she had been at Kjolberg and gambled her rent away. It was late autumn, and it was pitch dark outside. The coachman helped her into her carriage and burst in the direction of Elingard. Big were his concerns when he got home to the farm and realized that the seat in the back of the carriage was empty. It became a question of where she must have fallen along the side of the road, but nowhere was a trace to be found. Surely The devil had taken her”. Had she lived 150 year before, she maybe would have been burned at the bonfire as a witch.
The Huitfeldt’s gave money to charitable purpose and donated gifts to Onsoy church as Huitfeldt purchased previously in 1723. Nearby the church he built a little old people’s home for the poor. On 30 October 1746, the hundred year anniversary of the main building at Elingard was again devastated by fire. The family moved then to Kjolberg, that they also owned and moved back to Elingaard in June 1749. The “Huitfeldeske Room” is preserved with dark burlap wall covering on the walls, and the room gives the best impression of the 1700’s. General Henrik Jorgen Huitfeldt died 1 6 May 1751 and was presumably the first to die in this room . When Henrik Jorgen Huitfeldt died in 1751, his wife took over and lived with a heavy debt. There were four sons & five daughter sin this marriage. Their sons were accustomed to an elegant and expensive lifestyle. When they did military service as bodyguards in Kobenhavn, they were called “the Norwegian princes”. In 1754 she became Head Housemistress for Queen Juliane Marie , and 31 Mar 1755 was excused by the Widow Queen’ s Order. She died in 1761
source: Munthe geneaology database
|1. Sophie Beate HUITFELDT, b. 10 Jan 1724, Ellinggård, Fredrikstad, Østfold, Norway|
|2. Valentin W.H. HUITFELDT, b. 30 Apr 1719, Ellinggård, Fredrikstad, Østfold, Norway|
|3. Hans Henrik HUITFELDT, b. 1714, Ellinggård, Fredrikstad, Østfold, Norway|
|4. Christopher Christian HUITFELDT, b. 27 Sep 1720, Ellinggård, Fredrikstad, Østfold, Norway|