By Virginia Reed Murphy

This tragic tale of Virginia Reed?s trip west is instructed via her memoirs of the twelve-year-old lady, with supplementary debts in keeping with 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 invaluable. Maps and various reproductions incorporated.

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Additional info for Across the Plains in the Donner Party

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A fire was built for him, and he was left lying on a bed of freshly cut pine boughs, smoking peacefully. He looked so comfortable that my brother wanted to stay with him. His last thoughts seemed to have gone back to his childhood home, as a little poem about England was found beside his frozen body by the next relief party. On the way to our cabins, the rescue party had lightened its packs by caching a large quantity of bread and meat, which was to be our main source of food for the trek down the mountain.

Merryman. Merryman's account appeared in many newspapers of the day, including the Illinois Journal on December 9, 1847. Excerpts from James Reed's diary recorded Reed's efforts to help the Donner party when he learned that the wagon train was stranded in the mountains. Although Reed tried to write little beyond the bare facts, at times he was overcome with emotion, and his fear and anguish come through in several passages. Both the Breen and Reed diaries were written for the same reasons: The accounts would explain what had happened in case everyone died, and they would help identify the bodies should they ever be discovered.

Now attention is turned to the plight of the emigrants in the mountains. More than $1,300 is raised in San Francisco for provisions. Supplies are put under the charge of S. E. Woodworth, who is to deliver them by boat to the mouth of the Feather River. When the boat 33 does not arrive on schedule, Reed and McCutchen go to Johnson's, where they receive other provisions. They head off for Donner Lake, leaving word for Woodworth to follow them as soon as possible. February 5-18 Sutter's rescue party goes to Donner Lake after William Eddy arrives at Sutter's Fort, giving both the party's location and report about the extreme suffering at the lake.

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