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Myths, Misconceptions, and Mysteries


Many common ideas about the Donner Party do not stand up to closer examination, several false stories have circulated, and there are still many unanswered questions. These pages present articles addressing some of these issues. (Use your browser's <Back> key to return here.)

A collection of dubious stories, old and new, about the Donner Party: Some Donner Party Myths and Mysteries  in Brief.

In Winter of Entrapment Joseph A. King contended that the Miller-Reed diary is a fake, but no other historian has endorsed this claim. See Donner Party Bulletin No. 5  for discussion.

The family of Franklin Ward Graves joined the Donner Party some time in August 1846. Dale L. Morgan, in his seminal West from Fort Bridger, proposed the generally accepted date for this event, but other sources apparently unknown to Morgan suggest an alternative. Crossroads, Spring/Summer 1996 - Vol. 7, No 2 & 3

Louis Keseberg was the Donner Party's most infamous member. In Ordeal by Hunger, the most influential history of the Donner Party, George R. Stewart wrote of Keseberg's theft of a buffalo robe from the body of a Sioux warrior laid to rest on a burial scaffold. Stewart's source, however, is questionable. Crossroads, Spring/Summer 1996 - Vol. 7, No 2 & 3

In 1897 a Canadian newspaper printed a strange story about the Donner Party. Donner Party Bulletin No. 1

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Revised: 31 Jan 2006

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