Across the Plains in the Donner Party by Virginia Reed Murphy

By Virginia Reed Murphy

This tragic tale of Virginia Reed?s trip west is informed via her memoirs of the twelve-year-old woman, with supplementary money owed according to her father's letters and the diary of one other tourist. Given the delicate nature of elements of the adventure, younger readers will locate the history notes and explanatory reviews necessary. Maps and diverse reproductions integrated.

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More snow likely. Stanton's mules wandered off during the night, lost in the snow, no hopes of finding them alive. December 2 It doesn't snow quite as fast as it did before. Snow must be over six feet deep. December 3 Snowed a little last night. Today cloudy. Warm, but not warm enough to melt snow lying deep all around. Began to snow in the afternoon, likely to do so all night. December 4 Neither snow nor rain this day. It is a relief to have one fine day. December 6 The morning fine and clear.

Thank God! ” There was joy at Donner Lake that night. But with the joy, sorrow was strangely blended. So many had not survived to share this moment, and they lay all about us, for the living no longer had the strength to bury their dead. And as our story unfolded and our rescuers looked about at the sad scene before them, these strong men sat down and wept. For several days, members of the relief party distributed food and attempted to pick out the strongest emigrants, those they felt might be able to climb the summit and endure many days of snow and cold without shelter.

Got back to the cabins about eight o'clock, much worn down. Men here helped Mrs. Graves cache about $800 worth of gold and silver, too heavy to carry. March 3 Left with the following persons: Mr. and Mrs. Patrick Breen and their children, John [14], Patrick [11], Peter [7], James [4], and Isabella [1], two of whom had to be carried; Solomon Hook [14]; Mary [7] and Isaac Donner [5]; Mrs. Graves and four of her children, Jonathan [7], Nancy [9], Franklin, Jr. [5], and Elizabeth [1], two to be carried; and two children of my own, Patty [8] and Tommy [3], in all seventeen souls.

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