Mary Ann Graves (1826 - 1891)

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Nicknames: "Clarke"
Birthplace: Dearborn Co., IN
Death: Died in Tulare Co., CA
Managed by: Elizabeth-Gaye Jeans
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About Mary Ann Graves

Survived, age 19

Mary has been called the belle of the Donner Party:

   She was a very beautiful girl, of tall and slender build, and exceptionally graceful carriage. Her features, in their regularity, were of classic Grecian mold. Her eyes were dark, bright, and expressive. A fine mouth and perfect set of teeth, added to a luxuriant growth of dark, rebelliously wavy hair, completed an almost perfect picture of lovely girlhood. 
    She was said to have been engaged to John Snyder, though she denied it, and has also been linked romantically with Charles Stanton, for little apparent reason.
    Shortly after her rescue she married Edward Gantt Pyle, Jr., another veteran of Hastings Cutoff, who had assisted with the relief efforts. The Pyles made their home in San Jose. Edward Pyle disappeared in May 1848; he had been murdered, though his fate was not discovered for nearly a year. (Click here for a contemporary newspaper account.) Mary reportedly walked the banks of Almaden Creek looking for him, and later Virginia Reed comforted her while the men were bringing home his body.
    Mary’s second marriage, to J. T. Clarke, was happy, though ranching life was beset with financial difficulties. The Clarkes lived in San Benito County for a few years, then moved to Tulare County, where Mary died in 1891.
    Throughout the Donner ordeal Mary Graves showed great courage and resolution. Her nieces and nephews remembered her as strong-minded and outspoken. While Edward Pyle’s murderer was awaiting execution, Mary is said to have cooked his food, to ensure that he lived to be hanged.

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Mary Graves, Donner Party's Timeline

Sutter’s Fort, Sacramento C
Dearborn Co., IN
Age 25
San Jose, Santa Clara Co
Age 65
Tulare Co., CA