A Mysterious Death: Oscar Palmquist, Titanic survivor

Years after surviving the sinking of the RMS Titanic, Swedish survivor Oscar Palmquist met a different fate

                In April 1912, Oscar Palmquist arrived in New York with nothing on him. He had lost everything in the sinking, writing to the New York Swedish help committee for clothes and other needed items. After getting some help, eventually he asked for more money, getting 200 dollars from the Red Cross. Palmquist himself never truly recovered from the disaster.

After the sinking, he settled and spent the rest of his life in Bridgeport, Connecticut. Oscar lived by his many siblings who were already living there before the Titanic tragedy.

Oscar settled in this town
A picture of Bridgeport, Connecticut

During the sinking, Oscar was brave; he had tied two lifebelts around himself and jumped into the icy waters. He was traveling as a 3rd class passenger from Sweden to the United States. Before he left Sweden, he was located near the Småland area, and there is some disagreements about exactly where he was traveling, although we do know he settled in Connecticut.

Oscar Palmquist and Titanic

People described Oscar as a strong man, although he suffered from a problem in his knee.

The official list of survivors did not carry his name, but since he had changed his name from Johnson to Palmquist, confusion arose. Most Swedes who traveled to the USA changed their last name, and he chose Palmquist since in Sweden the name connected with royalty. He made this change and then traveled on the RMS Titanic to immigrate and settle in the United States.

A postcard from Oscar’s town in Connecticut

After jumping from the ship, he paddled on a piece of wood until he found a Swedish woman on a lifeboat who helped pull him up, using her long shawl as a rope. Sadly, she died that morning from overexposure to the cold. Oscar’s family has confirmed that these stories are most likely true, and there is not any known argument against Oscar’s claims.

Oscar’s tale is an interesting one, but it takes an even darker turn in the years to follow for the immigrant.

Oscar Palmquist’s Mysterious Death

Although Oscar miraculously survived the sinking of the Titanic, his own life was cut short 13 years after the disaster. After Oscar had been missing for a few days, his body was found submerged in a shallow pond. His report from the state of Connecticut reads;

NAME OF DECEASED:Oscar Leander Johanson Palmquist 
PLACE OF DEATH:Found Beardsley Park Reservoir
RESIDENCE AT DEATH:Bridgeport, Conn.
OCCUPATION:Tool maker 
DATE OF BIRTH:July 26, 1885 
AGE:39 Years, 8 Months, 1 Day 
FATHER’S NAME:Knut Johanson 
MOTHER’S MAIDEN NAME:Mathilda Abrahamson 
INFORMANT:Amandus Palmquist
961 Wood Avenue
DATE OF DEATH:March 27, 1927 
CERTIFICATION:I certify that the cause of
death was as above stated.
Peters Medical Examiner, Bridgeport
PLACE OF BURIAL:Mt. Grove Cemetery
Bridgeport, Connecticut
414 Wood Ave.

The pond was about 5 feet deep. It was a strange event for many reasons. There was no water in his lungs, he was a big, strong man and it is unlikely he could have drowned on his own, and ever since Titanic sank, Palmquist was deathly afraid of going near the water. Foul play was not considered why he died by the official report, and suicide was ruled out as well. However, Oscar’s family believes that he was murdered.

Jealous Lover Could have murdered Oscar Palmquist

Although Oscar never married, it is believed he had a mistress. People believe that Oscar was killed by the jealous partner of his lover. However, the officials refused to investigate further. This was probably due to Palmquist being a single immigrant; no one was there to continue the case. In 1925, his announcement for his funeral rules his death as an accident

Funeral Of Survivor Of Titanic Disaster Is Held This Afternoon

The drowning of Oscar Palmquist, thirty-seven, in the reserve reservoir of Beardsley Park, last week, was purely an accident, in the belief of police, who had been searching for him since his disappearance on March 27th.
   No marks of foul play were found on his body, when it was discovered floating in the reservoir and police believe that he fell into the water, while taking a walk in the park. No inquest will be made into his death by Coroner John J. Phelan, it was announced today.

   Funeral services for Palmquist, who was one of the few survivors of the Titanic disaster in the North Atlantic in 1912, will be held this afternoon from the funeral parlors of T. E. Larsen, 1485 Wood Avenue at two o’clock. Rev. A. J. Okerblom, pastor of the Swedish Evangelical Lutheran Salem church, will officiate. Burial will be in Mountain Grove Cemetery.

A Proper Funeral for Him

Members of Palmquist’s family still have yet to accept it, and believe that he was murdered. Palmquist, after his mysterious and tragic death, faded into Titanic obscurity. In 2012, he was remembered. A proper headstone was placed on his grave in Bridgeport and his family, Titanic fans and the local community gave him a proper funeral with a proper grave.

Although we may never know why he died, his story captured our imagination and he will most certainly live on in memory.

Palmquist died on the sinking of the RMS Titanic
Titanic passenger Oscar Plamquist’s mystery may never be solved…

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