Elizabeth Graves (Cooper) (c.1800 - 1847)

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Birthdate:
Death: Died in Starved Camp, Nevada Co., CA
Cause of death: starvation, exposure & eaten by others
Managed by: Elizabeth-Gaye Jeans
Last Updated:

About Elizabeth Graves (Cooper)

Died, Age 47

Spencer Ellsworth describes Elizabeth Graves as " tall and thin, her good natured sunburnt face wreathed in smiles. She wore a blue calico frock, an old sun-bonnet and a faded shawl, on dress occasions, and like her liege lord, went barefoot. It was her custom to cross the river daily in fair weather, laden with honey, wild fruits or soft soap, and dispose of them to the settlers of Columbia (Lacon). There was not a woman in the place but knew her and loved to see her kind face make its appearance. She would cross the river in the coldest days and stormiest weather in her little canoe to convey some remedy to the sick or do a kindness."
    The departure of the Forlorn Hope left Mrs. Graves with seven children to tend. When the First Relief arrived in February, they spared her the news of what had happened to her family members on the Forlorn Hope. The three eldest children remaining, William, Eleanor, and Lovina, were taken out by the First Relief. Mrs. Graves, Nancy, Jonathan, Franklin, and Elizabeth left with the Second Relief on March 3. Mrs. Graves tried to salvage her family's wealth, a bag of coins, but it proved too heavy to carry and she cached it near the lake.
    The five Graveses, seven Breens, and three of Jacob Donner’s children had gotten as far as the end of Summit Valley when a storm broke. Margaret Breen described the first night to Eliza Farnham:
   Toward morning, [Mrs. Breen] heard one of the young girls opposite call to her mother [Mrs. Graves] to cover her. The call was repeated several times impatiently, when she spoke to the child, reminding her of the exhaustion and fatigue her mother suffered in nursing and carrying the baby; and bidding her cover herself and let her mother rest. Presently she heard the mother speak, in a quite unnatural tone, and she called to one of the men near her to go and speak to her. He arose after a few minutes, and found the poor sufferer almost past speaking. He took her infant; and after shaking the snow from her blanket, covered her as well as might be, and left her. Shortly after, Mrs. B. observed her to turn herself slightly, and throw one arm feebly up, as if to go asleep. She waited a little while, and seeing her remain quite still, she walked around to her. She was already cold in death. Her poor, starving child wailed and moaned piteously in the arms of its young sister; but the mother’s heart could no more warm or nourish it. 
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Elizabeth Cooper Graves, Donner Party's Timeline

1800
1800
1820
1820
Age 20
Dearborn Co., IN
1825
1825
Age 25
Dearborn Co., IN
1825
Age 25
1826
1826
Age 26
Dearborn Co., IN
1829
1829
Age 29
Vicksburg, Warren Co., MS
1832
1832
Age 32
Marshall Co., IL
1834
1834
Age 34
Marshall Co., IL
1838
1838
Age 38
1840
1840
Age 40