The Stephens Family
Joseph Stephens buys Huseby
Joseph Stephens was born in Stockholm in 1841 and was the son of the English linguist and antiquarian George Stephens. George came to Sweden to study and during his time in Stockholm he became good friends with the pastor’s son and diplomat, Gunnar Olof Hyltén-Cavallius from Vislanda. It was Hyltén-Cavallius who later suggested that George and his son Joseph should take advantage of the declining property prices and buy a handy little manor house in Småland. Joseph grew up in Stockholm and Copenhagen, which is where the family moved and where George became a lecturer in the English language as well as a professor at the university.
Railway construction in India
During the 1860s, Joseph travelled to India to work as a railway constructor at The Great Indian Peninsular Railway (G.I.P.R.). He also traded with cotton and enjoyed hunting in this new country of opportunities.
Love and the purchase of Huseby Bruk
On the advice of Hyltén-Cavallius, Joseph travelled to Småland with his father in the summer of 1867. At the time, they had no idea that Hyltén-Cavallius would come up with a specific proposal for them. He suggested that Joseph should buy Huseby Bruk with the ironworks. The estate then consisted of 46 farms, 24 assessment units of land, and approximately 6000 hectares of land. It was probably not only Hyltén-Cavallius’s persuasiveness that attracted Joseph to the purchase, but also the revelation of Hyltén-Cavallius’s daughter, Anna. Joseph fell head-over-heels in love with the 19-year-old girl, and after a few weeks their engagement was announced. However, Anna broke up the engagement after a while and Joseph returned to India, determined to sell Huseby piece by piece if needed.
Back to Huseby
But after a few more years in India where Joseph finished his business, and as farm prices dropped, Joseph returned to Huseby. He settled down at the estate and started up the agriculture, forestry and ironworks businesses again, and also started breeding horses – both bloodstocks and workhorses. Joseph then could call himself Patron Stephens at Huseby Bruk.
Wedding in the Skeppsholm Church
After several years as a bachelor love struck again, and in 1880 Joseph married Elisabeth Kreuger, the daughter of Admiral Kreuger who was a cadet companion of King Oscar II. The wedding took place in Skeppsholm Church in the presence of his Majesty the King. Three daughters were born in a rapid succession after the wedding; 1881 Florence, 1882 Mary, and 1883 Maggie (Margreth).