Mr Karl Albert Midtsjø
Karl Albert Midtsjø, 21, was born 4 August 1890, the son of Johan Hansen and Marie Midtsjø he was one of eight (possibly 11) children. He came from Krøkstad, Ski, near Christiania (Oslo), Norway. Karl's family were farmers and they had to work hard to earn a living. Several of his brothers and sisters died during childhood.
Karl Albert started to work at an early age but like many of his contemporaries in Norway he decided to emigrate to the USA. He bought his ticket from Christiania to Chicago on the 30th of March 1912 at the Elster agency. The ticket cost 238 NKr, including a train ticket to Chicago. Of this about 87 NKr. (£4 15s 6d) was for the trip on the Titanic.
Karl travelled from Christiania to Hull on the 3rd of April on the Wilsons Line Steamer Oslo. He boarded the Titanic at Southampton. Like most single third class male passengers travelling alone he was quartered toward the bow possibly sharing with Johan Nysveen.
When the accident occurred Karl Albert and Johan Nysveen went up to the deck, Johan who was 61 years of age, realised that he probably couldn't be saved so he gave his coat and watch to Karl Albert. Karl Albert was given permission by First Officer Murdoch to climb down the tackle and into lifeboat 15.
When he arrived in New York Karl Albert was sent to St. Vincent's Hospital from where he wrote to his brother on 19 April:
Karl's claim that passengers had been shot attempting to enter the boats was used by some to justify the controversial portrayal of Officer Murdoch on the film Titanic (1997).
After some days at the hospital Karl Albert travelled by train to Chicago. On the 26th of April 1912 he arrived in Chicago. He was immediately interviewed by the city largest Norwegian - American newspaper "Skandinavian" and the interview was in the paper the same day.
Shortly after this, Karl Albert travelled to Cummings, North Dakota to give back to the relatives of Johan Nysveen his coat and watch. He stayed with them for some weeks, and told them about Johan Nysveen's last days on the Titanic. This was very much appreciated by them.
Karl Albert Midtsjø claimed 423 NKr. for the loss of his property:
On 15 September 1913 Karl was married to 25 year old Anna Christine Paulson from Wittenberg, Wisconsin. On January 5, 1915 their son Marvin Gilbert Midtsjø was born, and in 1917 they moved to Evanston, Illinois. Karl Albert got a job as a caretaker.
In 1921 they moved back to Norway, but after a year they returned to the USA. They moved to Maywood, Illinois where Karl continued work as a caretaker, but around 1930 he started to work as a landscape gardener which he did for seven years until ill health forced him to stop.
Karl Albert, even as a young man, suffered from hereditary heart disease and died 25 January 1939 in Maywood, Illinois at the age of 48.
His wife and son then went to Wausau, Wisconsin where Mrs Midtsjø died in 1959. They both were buried in Chicago.
Their son changed his name to Marvin Midland (anglicised from the Norwegian) and lived in Denver, Colorado where he died on April 26, 1997.
In 1997 when the movie "Titanic" was presented in Norway. The county of Ski invited the relatives of Karl Albert Midtsjø for the premiere. Between them were 3 of his nephews and nieces who still remembered their uncle Karl Albert in the USA.
References and Sources
State of Illinois Certificate of Death
Philip Hind (Editor)
Phillip Gowan, USA
Related Articles and Documents
Titanic Passenger and Crew Summary
Name: Mr Karl Albert Midtsjø
Cause of Death: Heart Failure / Disease
Buried: Mt. Olive Cemetery Chicago Illinois United States
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