Einar Gervasius Carlson, formerly Karlsson was born in Oakarshamn, Sweden on June 19, 1890. He was 21 years old when he and a friend, Johan Charles Asplund boarded the Titanic for the United States. They were originally booked on the ship Adriatic, but due to the coal strike they were transferred to the doomed liner.
Carlson wanted to be a teacher but had worked at several different jobs. He has been listed in other accounts as being a professional soldier.
According to his great-granddaughter, Melissa Bendig, “He never wanted to talk about the night of the Titanic, but what we do know about it was that he was not able to retrieve any of his personal belongings and had trouble getting to the lifeboats, as he was a third-class passenger.”
What he did reveal to relatives was that he and his friends had to hide in the shadows, and finally decided to climb down the ropes into a lowering lifeboat. Carlson suffered rope burns on his hands, arms, and legs.
“He watched as the ship took is final bow and described it as great flashes of light much like fireworks, then deadly silence as the Titanic took its final plunge.
Carlson suffered from nightmares every April.
He settled in Nebraska in 1916 after traveling most of the country and living in California, Colorado, New York, and Minnesota. He became an American citizen in 1917 and served in the Army and fought in World War I. He then returned to Nebraska as a farmer and later worked for the telephone company.
Carlson died at he age of 67 in 1958. His daughter donated the few remaining artifacts he kept from the ship, including his dining room assignment card to the Titanic Historical Society.