Rev. William Lahtinen

William Lahtinen

Reverend Wilhelm 'William' Henriksson/Heikkinpoika Lahtinen was born in Viitasaari, Finland on 23 April 1876 the son of Heikki Peura (b. 2 October 1839) and Fredrika Karlsdotter Peura, née Lohilahti/Lohilax (b. 1842).1

Little is known about his early life but is believed that he may have seen military service as a younger man.

He emigrated to the USA in around June 1903, sailing aboard the Campania and worked his own farm in Cokato, Wright County, Minnesota as well as spending time in Lead, South Dakota and Michigan and he became a naturalised US citizen on 5 December 1910 in Buffalo, Minnesota.

As well as farming, he was pastor of the Apostolic Lutheran Church.

William married Anna Amelia Silfvén 15 October 1904 in Lawrence County, South Dakota. (b. 1878), another Finnish American. The marriage was without issue but they adopted a child, Martha Agnes who was born in St Paul, Minnesota on 29 September 1907. The family were shown on the 1910 census residing at their farm in Cokato, Minnesota.                                                        

Lahtinen applied for a passport in September 1911 with the intention of returning to Finland to visit his now widowed mother; he was described as standing at 5' 8" and light hair and moustache, blue eyes and a fair complexion. He had arranged with contractor Nels Hill of Cokato to have a new residence built in Minneapolis, with completion expected soon after his return.

Upon arrival in Finland their daughter Martha became ill, possibly with meningitis and she died on 10 March 1912.

William and his wife, for their return to the USA, boarded Titanic at Southampton as second class passengers (ticket number 250651 which cost £26) and they were joined by his wife's relative Lyyli Silvén for the journey.

On the evening of 14 April 1912 Lyyli Silvén had enjoyed a "dance" in second class but had returned to her cabin and was asleep at the time of the impact which later wakened her. After this she hastened to find the Lahtinens.

Lyyli seemingly remained with the Lahtinens during the evacuation and reported that Anna Lahtinen, despite appearing to be very nervous, refused to be parted from her husband.

William Lahtinen, as well as his wife, died in the sinking and their bodies, if recovered, were never identified.


  1. It is unknown why his parents went by Peura when William went by Lahtinen, but it has been stated he changed his name to Lahtinen when he in 1902 was living at Taivalkoski.


William Lahtinen in c. 1912
Minneapolis Star Tribune  (1912) 

Articles and Stories

Karlshamns Allehanda (1912) 
Cokato Enterprise (1912) 
Star Tribune (Minneapolis) (1912) 

Comment and discuss

William and Anna Amelia Lahtinen (23 posts)
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Gavin Bell, UK
Peter Engberg, Sweden
Juho Peltonen, Finland
Leif Snellman, Finland
Claes-Göran Wetterholm, Sweden

References and Sources

Claes-Göran Wetterholm (1988, 1996, 1999) Titanic. Prisma, Stockholm. ISBN 91 518 3644 0
Search archive British and Irish newspapers online

Link and cite this biography

(2020) William Lahtinen Encyclopedia Titanica (ref: #483, updated 13th January 2020 08:21:05 AM)