Mr Einar Gervasius Karlsson was born on 19 June 1890 in Oskarshamn, Kalmar, Sweden.
He was the son of Per Fredrik Karlsson (1856-1912) and Emilie Jonsdotter (b. 1860) and brother to: Ernst Herbert (b. 1889), Karl Theodor (b. 1892), David Valfrid (b. 1894), Klas Emanuel (b. 1895), Emilia (b. 1897), Karin Ingeborg (b. 1899) and Josef Mattias (b. 1901).
Following his schooling Einar served in the Swedish Army, rising to the rank of corporal before his discharge around 1911. With a lack of opportunities in Sweden at the time Einar and his friend Johan Charles Asplund decided to leave for America where Einar hoped to become a teacher. They boarded the Titanic at Southampton as third class passengers (he on ticket number 350053 which cost £7, 15s, 11d) and Einar was destined for 449 Bergen Street in Brooklyn.
On the night of the sinking Einar and Johan were awake in their cabin and felt the thud of the impact with the iceberg. Leaving to investigate they made their way to the forward well-deck where they saw chunks of ice. After waiting around for a time and feeling that something was amiss they returned to their cabin to collect personal belongings but found water rising already knee-deep in their section of the ship so they returned to the communal steerage areas and somehow managed to find their way up the aft-starboard boatdeck where they waited. Seeing a lifeboat being lowered, number 13, they took a chance and jumped out onto the falls and slid down into the boat. His hastened entrance into the lifeboat left him with rope burns on his hands and legs and his shoes were destroyed. From the lifeboat he watched the ship go down and remembered the screams of those struggling for their lives, a sound that would forever haunt him. He later fell asleep and when he regained consciousness the lifeboat was edging towards to the Carpathia.
After arriving in New York Einar stayed with relatives and later received $25 from the Salvation Army Fund in New York. He soon found employment in a factory but shortly left New York and headed west, settling in California before spending time working at different jobs in Utah, Colorado and Minnesota. He eventually settled in Nebraska in 1916 in Saunders County where he worked as a farm hand for a Scandinavian family and he became a US citizen the following year after which he served in the US Army and was posted to the conflict in Europe. He saw action in France and Germany and survived a gas attack which left him with a permanent tremor. Being discharged on 4 June 1919, Einar returned to Nebraska where he continued working as a farmer and for the telephone company.
He was married in 1922 to a lady named Marjorie M. Mary (b. 25 June 1903) who hailed from Deer Creek, Iowa and who was the daughter of a French-born father and an American-born mother of English parentage. The couple had four children: Eugene (1923-1996), Margaret Marion (b. 1924) Patrick (b. 1934) and Rose Ann (b. 1935). Their younger son Patrick died in infancy. The family lived in Ewing, Holt County, Nebraska before relocating sometime before 1940 to Boone County where they worked a ranch. Einar and his wife were later divorced and he never remarried. He later left farming and settled in Fremont, Nebraska where he worked in a hotel.
Einar made Fremont his home for the rest of his life and he died there following a heart attack on 12 April 1958 aged 67. He was buried on 15 April in Fremont Memorial Cemetery. His headstone shows a depiction of the Titanic.
His family remember him as a very active and adventurous man, even into his elder years, and who was kind and well-mannered. He disliked talking about the Titanic and reportedly became restless every April when he would spend his nights in their barn. He held onto a few Titanic-related items he retained from the ship, including his dining room assignment card, inspection card and various letters from the White Star Line which his daughter later donated to the Titanic Historical Society.
Einar's two elder children Eugene and Margaret remained in Dodge, Nebraska. Eugene died 14 August 1996 and Margaret, who never married, passed away, coincidentally, on 15 April 1995.1 His daughter Rose Ann, who later married to Lauren Jensen and raised a family, was still living in Fremont as of June 2015.
- Date of death as per social security death records. Another source states she died 8 April 1995.
References and Sources
Fremont Tribune, 14 April 2012: Fremonter recalls father's Titanic survival story
Claes-Göran Wetterholm (1988, 1996, 1999) Titanic. Prisma, Stockholm. ISBN 91 518 3644 0
Gavin Bell, UK
Leif Snellman, Finland
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