Apr 15, 2022 - News

Remembering the Minnesotans who perished in the Titanic 110 years ago

RMS Titanic in Cork Harbour, Ireland, on April 11 1912, four days prior to the tragedy. Photo: Pictures from History/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

On this day in 1912, the Titanic went down in the Atlantic Ocean, carrying with it a number of passengers bound for Minnesota.

The big picture: Roughly 1,500 souls perished when the "unsinkable" ship struck an iceberg on its maiden voyage and sank into the sea in the early hours of April 15.

The local angle: At least 35 passengers on the fateful voyage, including more than a dozen who died, had ties to Minnesota, according to an article published by the Minnesota Historical Society.

Zoom in: The dead included Malcolm Johnson, a Swedish farmer looking for a fresh start in Minneapolis, and Walter Douglas, a Quaker Oats heir returning to his Lake Minnetonka mansion after a trip to Europe, the curator of a 2009 exhibit in St. Paul noted.

  • Douglas' wife Mahala survived after securing a spot in one of the last lifeboats, per a MinnPost feature on the exhibit.
  • John Pillsbury Snyder, who was a grandson of the founder of Pillsbury Co., and his wife Nelle also made it out alive.

The intrigue: A local card shark described by the Minneapolis Journal as a "master rogue" was believed to be on the ship that night, too.

  • The man, who went by multiple names, was hailed as a hero in news reports at the time for being part of a group of men who "stepped aside when the lives of women and children were at stake in the Titanic disaster and died like heroes," MinnPost recounted in 2012.

The bottom line: Snyder, who went on to serve one term in the state House, publicly recounted his experience and the horror of watching the ship sink into the ocean. His reported comments underscored the great tragedy of the Titanic:

  • "There is no question that there were not enough lifeboats," he said. "If there had been, everyone would have been saved."

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