Caspar Christoffersen Schøller

Starting in the early seventeenth century a noticeable contingent of foreigners came to Trondheim. Dutch and other nationals created flourishing trade, while Danes came to climb the career ladder as civil servants. A few managed successfully to combine these functions.
Caspar Schøller is a good example of this. He was from Jutland in Denmark, and came to Trondheim in 1606. The next year he married Eline, the daughter of one of the mayors in the town. Caspar also had two brothers in Trondheim, one of them (Eiler) was the grandfather of Tordenskiold! After serving as an officer during the Kalmar war, 1611-13, Caspar soon became the bailiff [tax collector] in Selbu. This gave him a solid income, which he used to purchase properties. In part the Crown rid itself of land, and farmers also had to sell land to pay their taxes. In the 1620s both the well-off brothers died, so Caspar accumulated even more assets. He also took over as Ombudsman for Bakke cloister after Eiler.
In the 1630s he owned large parts of the Lade peninsula, while he kept buying land in the area surrounding the town and elsewhere in the county. At this time he had acquired the right of a citizen in Trondheim, which conferred on him the licence to undertake trade. From this time on we may assume that he had a more permanent base in Trondheim. Caspar Schøller especially saw the value of forests and sawmills, which together made good export business. A list of taxes paid in 1645 indicates Schøller's affluence. He appears as the decidedly wealthiest of the town's bourgeoisie, and he may be called the first major capitalist in Trondheim.
Caspar had 16 children! They had a good start into the affluent life. A couple of them became mayors in Danish towns. His son Christoffer took over Gjølme in Melhus after his father, and he was on the list of Norway's fifteen richest men in 1676.
Recommended reading: Steinar Supphellen: Trondheims historie [The history of Trondheim], v. 2, 1997.

Author: Einar Rædergård