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"New" Documents

Recently discovered or little-known documents dealing with the Donner Party and its members.
The following are direct links to articles published in the Utah Crossroads Chapter newsletter, Crossroads, and The Donner Party Bulletin. The documents are listed in chronological order. Use your browser's <Back> key to return here.
Letter from James F. Reed to his brother-in-law, written the day after the Donners and Reeds joined William H. Russell's wagon train. Crossroads 8:1 (Winter 1997).
Six weeks after setting out for California, the Reeds' Grandma Keyes died and was buried on the prairie. Crossroads 8:1 (Winter 1997).
In January 1847 the Mexican War was on. James F. Reed described the skirmish at Santa Clara in this letter to John A. Sutter. Crossroads 8:1 (Winter 1997).
A few weeks later, the Forlorn Hope reached safety. Before he set out for Johnson's Ranch to investigate, Alcalde John Sinclair recounted the terrible story he had heard to his colleague Washington Bartlett in Yerba Buena. Crossroads 9:4 (Fall 1997).
One of the "sufferers in the California mountains" witnessed something unusual on his way East in the summer of 1847. Crossroads 8:4 (Fall 1997).
In 1850 Eleanor Graves McDonnell wrote her sister-in-law "a short melancholy sketch" describing the Donner Party. Crossroads 7:2&3 (Spring/Summer 1996).
Here's a sampling of articles about Louis Keseberg's later years in Sacramento.
A resident of Marshall County, Illinois, wrote about her former neighbors, Mr. Graves and Family, in 1867.
In 1868 the first train chugged westward over the Sierra Nevada past the scene of tragedy at Donner Lake. Among its passengers was a survivor of the disaster. Donner Party Bulletin No. 1.
At 18, William C. Graves survived the "Downer Horror" in the Sierra. In 1875 he recounted his story to the editor of a Healdsburg newspaper. Crossroads 7:2&3 (Spring/Summer 1996).
Antonio B. Rabbeson's 1878 memoir is the source of an oft-repeated tale about Louis Keseberg. Crossroads 7:2&3 (Spring/Summer 1996). 
In 1880, Spencer Ellsworth published a book on fifty years' history of Marshall County, Illinois, and gives a unique glimpse of the Graves family. Crossroads 7:2&3 (Spring/Summer 1996).
Massachusetts-born Nicholas Clark had already lived a life of adventure before he joined the Second Relief, as this 1885 account from the Truckee Republican describes. Crossroads 7:1 (Winter 1997).
More than once in his later years, Riley Septimus Moutrey petitioned Congress for payment for his services in rescuing the Donner Party. In 1888 he told a reporter about the First Relief. Crossroads 7:4 (Fall 1996).
In the 1890s Northern California newspapers published interviews with a colorful character who had played a role in the early history of the state. Hop-picker Baptiste "Trauveio" describes the Donner Party. Crossroads 7:4 (Fall 1996).

In 1905 a Santa Rosa newspaper reported the death of Donner Party survivor William C. Graves.

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Revised: 31 Jan 2006

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