Mrs Wilhelm Ström (Elna Matilda Persson), 29, was born 3 August 1882 the daughter of Per Ulrik and Kristina Persson, Julita farm, Södermanland, Sweden.
Elna Ström was Swedish-American, she was married to Wilhelm Ström (born 12 April 1884) and lived at 3905 Grapevine Street, Indiana Harbour, Indiana, USA.
Mrs Ström boarded the Titanic at Southampton with her daughter, Selma Matilda Ström and brother Ernst Ulrik Persson. It is believed that they (the ladies) occupied cabin 6 (in section, or possibly deck, G) which they shared with Agnes Sandström and her children. Elna and Selma had been visiting her parents on Julita farm, a few days before the trip Selma scalded her hand on hot water. They had to postpone the trip in order for the scars to heal, the delay led to them travelling on the Titanic. Onboard Selma had to visit a nurse every day to have new bandages put on.
When the ship was sinking, the Sandströms and the Ströms lost contact with each other on the way up to boatdeck. According to Ernst (the reality is unknown), he tried to keep himself as near to his sister as he could but they came to late to the lifeboats. At 02.15 when they were on the poop, Titanic made a lurch and Ernst lost the grip and never saw them again.
Elna and Telma were lost in the sinking, Elna Ström's body was never found.
The Mansion House Fund paid 874.08 Kr (£48) to Elna's parents on January 23, 1913. Financial relief was also forthcoming from the American Red Cross:
Case number 437.(Swedish).
A wife, 29 years of age and daughter of 3 were returning from a visit to relatives, were drowned. They were accompanied by her brother, who was saved. The husband, employed in a steel mill in Indiana, was terribly shocked and distressed by his loss. He spent his savings in coming to New York to search for his wife, and in assisting his brother-in-law who did not immediately secure work. Later he suffered a severe injury and required hospital treatment for several weeks. ($500).
455.50 Kr (£25) damage claims were paid to her parents 16 July 1914.
After his arrival in New York Elna's husband travelled to New York to try to identify his daughter among the children who survived when this failed he was joined by his brother-in-law, Ernst Persson and they travelled back together to to Indiana Harbor, Indiana where Wilhelm found Ernst a job at Standard Forgings. Wilhelm worked as an ironworker (for 49 years) and Ernst was a bricklayer. They lived together until Ernst's wife and children joined him from Sweden in October 1912.
Wilhelm Ström wrote on June 20, 1912 to the consulate in New York asking for help. "because I would like to have the case up to court as soon as possible so that I could in my despair got some compensation for the fact that I have lost everything I owned" The consulate asked him to contact the Red Cross and then wait for the law case. The size of damage claims paid to Wilhelm Ström is not known.
After about six years Wilhelm and a friend were to meet two young Swedish women in Washington Park, Chicago on a Sunday afternoon for a date. When the two men saw the ladies that they were to spend the afternoon with, Wilhelm was immediately taken with the other woman that his friend was supposed to be with. She was sitting on a park bench, playing the guitar.
Alma Karlson (born July 25, 1888) was from Trollhatten, Sweden. She was sponsored by an aunt and came to Peoria, Illinois. She found that Peoria was too quiet for her and came to Chicago. She was a domestic servant for a wealthy family on the East Side of Chicago. She had learnt to play the guitar for the Salvation Army. Wilhelm bought her a strawberry sundae and they started courting. They were to be married a year later in April. Alma did not know that Wilhelm had been married before and he did not know how to tell her. He decided to tell her about his wife and child and she became angry with him because he had been married and did not tell her right away. It was never discussed after that.
Wilhelm and Alma had a child one year later, a boy, that was stillborn. A year after that a daughter Helen, was born on August 9, 1923. Then her sister, Elsie, and then Fred. When she was was five or six Helen had pneumonia and they almost lost her. She could never understand why Wilhelm was so upset and protective over her. There were a total of seven grandchildren, and nine great grandchildren. Fred never married and passed away last October 24, 1997. He was a quiet man and a Korean War veteran.
Alma passed away on July 10, 1989. Wilhelm died October 9, 1964.
The Lake County Times, 24, 27 April 1912
American Red Cross (1913) Emergency and Relief Booklet (#437)
Joan Anton, USA (relative of Wilhelm and Alma Strom)
Janice Sotiros, USA (Grandaughter of Wilhelm and Alma Strom)
Patti Pearson-Kotz, USA
Richard Paul Smyers, USA (East Chicago Public Libray), East Chicago, IN
Homer Thiel, USA
Articles and Stories
Chicago Daily News (1912)