Lake County Times

Survivor of Titanic Now in Indiana Harbor Owes Life to Mrs. Astor. --


Ernest Person, a survivor of the Titanic wreck is in Indiana Harbor having arrived yesterday in company with William Strom of 3905 Grapevine street, an employee of the Standard Forging company. Mr. Strom had gone to New York to search for his little daughter Thelma, aged 3, who in company with Mrs. Strom and the latter's brother Mr. Person. had taken passage on the ill-fated steamship. Mr. Strom knew that his wife had perished, but he had hoped that he might find the girl among the unidentified children rescued. His search for the little one proved fruitless and he has now given up all hope of ever seeing her again. Person was one of a number of men saved through the intercession of Mrs. John Jacob Astor, who pleaded that they be taken into the lifeboat on which she was a passenger. Probably none of the survivors of the awful disaster had a more harrowing experience than Person. Arriving on deck after the last of the lifeboats had been lowered away, he he saw his sister and little niece swept to their doom by a swell caused by the sinking ship, which carried him down with it. He never saw either the woman or the child again, although he himself came up to the surface after what seemed to him to have been a plunge of l0 feet down into the water. He seized a floating plank which happened to be near him and looked about for his sister and the baby, but although score of men women and children were struggling in the water about him, buoyed up by life preservers, he failed to distinguish the ones he sought. He had not been in this position long when he noticed an overturned life boat nearby, with a number of men clinging to it. He made for it as best he could and managed to get a hold on it. Others to whom the disabled craft represented a possible means of escape, also made for the boat, but with less success. A score or more who grabbed for the boat, where beaten back by those already in possession who feared for their own safety if they permitted any more to weigh it down. The men clung to the overturned boat for what Person estimated to be two hours and a half. It was then a manned life boat in which were a number of women and children, and a few men. The men on the overturned boat made desperate efforts to seize the sides of the life boat, but were ordered to keep off. It was then that a young beautiful woman said to one of the crew: "Please let them get in. They have as much right to live as we." There was a consultation among the crew which resulted a few minutes later in the rescue of the entire party. The woman who was interceded it was learned later was Mrs. John Jacob Astor. Mr. Person tells of a pitiful incident of the wreck: One of the men on board with whom he became friendly during the passage, was the father of five children. All of the family with the exception of the father, were drowned. The man had jet black hair the last time Person saw him on board, and when he saw him next day among the survivors on the Carpathia, his hair was snowy white. He died the next day, the exposure, fright and grief having proven too much for him. Mrs. Strom and her baby had gone to Sweden last fall to visit relatives. They were on their way home after this visit when death overtook them in the ill-fated Titanic.


[Grapevine Street. was later renamed Grand Boulevard.]

Related Biographies:

Ernst Ulrik Persson

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