John Egstrom was born on a farm near Stockholm Sweden.
When he grew older he joined the navy or merchant marine and became a sailor.
John met Bertha Olson when he was in port at Arendal, Norway.
They fell in love and were married March 18, 1866. Soon after the wedding he left with his ship for the United States.
Crossing the ocean they ran into a terrible storm and were shipwrecked. John and five other sailors were able to find or make a raft and some food and water.
For days they floated on the ocean. They all became ill and dehydrated.
Four of the men died.
Finally a ship picked the two men up and took them to New York City where they were taken to, Bellvue Hospital. It was six months before John regained his memory and could tell who he was and where he came from much less that only only he and another survived on the ocean for 30 days.
His stay in the hospital was lengthy and after he was released he refused to ever cross the ocean again.
Until John wrote Bertha, her parents thought he had deserted her. Once he did write he was surprised to learn that he was the father of a baby, Eric Emil.
It took seven years before he could save enough money to bring his family across the sea to join him in New York.