Caroline Gother attained her legal majority in 1783 and later became an extremely wealthy heiress. Indeed, as an unmarried independent woman at that time, she became one of the wealthiest businesswomen in Sweden during the early 1800s.
Caroline Gother was born in Stockholm in 1761. She was the daughter of the well-to-do mayor of trade Engelbert Gother and his wife Maria Elisabeth Bedoire. Through marriage alliances the family was related to the elite corps of Stockholm’s business, trade and functionary spheres. The family comprised three sons and three daughters, all of whom enjoyed a thorough home education – which was focused on trade and book-keeping – through tutors and governesses. Nevertheless, the father of the family died bankrupt in 1775 and left his widow and children with nothing. By the time that Caroline Gother’s mother died, in 1783, her brothers had already left home and Caroline’s sister, Johanna Gother, had married the wealthy commerce councillor Lars Reimers (1738-1811), who was a wholesale trader, shipowner, and factory owner.
Caroline Gother could not last long on the meagre inheritance she received from her mother. In 1789 she moved to an estate in Scania where she worked as a governess. During her time there Johan Elers, a chancellery councillor and poet who lived in Stockholm, courted her by letter. Caroline Gother never married, however. In 1793 she returned to Stockholm in order to support her sisters in their businesses. She petitioned the king to become legally independent that same year, and this was immediately awarded to her.
At the turn of the nineteenth century (1800) Caroline Gother’s maternal uncle Jean de Bedoire, who had been consul-general in Lisbon and subsequently master of ceremonies at the court, died. The inheritance Caroline Gother’s was awarded from his estate enabled her to become financially independent and she was able to live off her interest payments. At this point she also took in her deaf and mute niece Jeanne Marie Netzel as her foster child, whilst the Netzel couple moved to Kilafors in Hälsingland. There C.G. Netzel became a works manager and half-owner. The other half of the works was owned by his brother-in-law Lars Reimers.
Caroline Gother moved to Kilafors in 1812. By then both her sister and her brother-in-law had passed away, as had Lars Reimers. Caroline Gother had made her move in order to sort out the complicated financial dealings of the works, its management, and care of the children who were minors. At that time her sister, Reimer’s widow, was the main owner. Following her sister’s death in 1818 Caroline Gother inherited 100,000 riksdaler – which at that time was a considerable amount of wealth – given that she was the main inheritor of both the childless Reimers and the sole living member of her family.
In 1823 Caroline Gother moved back to Stockholm for good. She lived at various addresses, together with her niece, various female and male servants and maids, and enjoyed a comfortable lifestyle. She was very cautious in the use of her capital and lived off her interest. She ran a comprehensive lending service and annually lent a sizable portion of her capital against six percent interest. Her income through interest was extensive and she was able to invest in buildings and companies such as Gustavsberg Porslinfabrik as well as social infrastructure projects such as Göta Canal, Trollhätte lock systems, and the Yngve Frey steamship. She was well respected by her business partners and was the sole responsible for her finances and book-keeping until she died.
Caroline Gother died in Stockholm in 1836. She was 76 years old.