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Boone Helm (1827 - 1864)

Boone Helm (1828 – January 14, 1864) was a mountain man and gunfighter of the American West known as the Kentucky Cannibal. Helm was also a serial killer who gained his nickname for his opportun...

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Eleanor Eddy, Donner Party (c.1822 - c.1847)

Perished. Age 25, Almost nothing is known about Mrs. Eddy, although a photograph of her survives. When her husband left with the First Relief, Eleanor stayed behind with the children in the Murphy ...

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Margaret Eddy, Donner Party (1846 - 1847)

Age: [1] Perished Margaret died on February 4, 1847, her mother died three days later. They were buried together in the snow.

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James Eddy, Donner Party (1843 - 1847)

Age: [3] Perished. James Eddy was tended by Levinah Murphy after his mother died. When J. F. Reed arrived with the Second Relief on March 1, James was still alive, though in bad shape. He died before...

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Jean-Baptiste, Donner Party (c.1830 - 1910)

Generally called "John Baptiste" or simply "Baptiste," he was the son of a French trapper who had been killed in an Indian skirmish when Baptiste was just a child. What became of him during the interve...

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Dor. Wolfinger, Donner Party (b. - c.1861)

Survived. Widowed. Mrs. Wolfinger’s first name is given as both Doris and Dorothea. She was a young woman at the time of the Donner Party, but the data about her age is conflicting; she may ha...

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Simon Murphy, Donner Party (1838 - 1873)

Survived, but after reaching California decided to return to Tennessee via the Isthmus of Panama. Simon was rescued with the three little Donner girls by the Third Relief. Georgia Donner Babcock refe...

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Mary Murphy, Donner Party (1831 - 1867)

Daughter of Jeremiah Burns Murphy and Levinah W. Jackson Age: 14 Survived b. 15 Nov 1831 Union Co., SC m1. 24 Jun 1847 Sutter’s Fort, Sacramento Co., CA to William Johnson; divorced m2. 25 Dec...

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Harriett McCutchen, Donner Party (c.1845 - 1847)

Perished, age 1. Harriet’s exact age is not known, but she was probably between one and two years old. Historian and author, McGlashan lists her as one of the nursing infants of the Donner Par...

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William McCutchen, Donner Party (c.1816 - 1895)

In the Spring of 1846 the McCutchens loaded their valuables into a wagon and headed west for California. They made it as far as Fort Bridger in Wyoming when either their wagon or oxen gave out. Several...

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Amanda McCutchen, Donner Party (c.1822 - 1857)

Survived, age 23 Amanda was one of the hardy young women who survived the Forlorn Hope. On December 16, 1846, she left her daughter Harriet with the Graves family and set out for help. While living...

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Lovina Graves, Donner Party (1834 - 1906)

Survived, age 12 After her rescue Lovina lived sometimes in the Napa Valley and sometimes in Santa Clara County, living with her older married sisters. She attended school in San Jose, but spent her ...

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Elizabeth Graves "JR", Donner Party (1845 - 1847)

Survived, age 1. But not for long Elizabeth is sometimes referred to as "Elizabeth Graves, Jr." to distinguish her from her mother, Elizabeth Cooper Graves. There is some question about how old Eli...

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Jonathan Graves, Donner Party (c.1840 - 1847)

Survived, age 7, but not for long Jonathan Graves was one of those left behind at Starved Camp by the Second Relief and rescued by John S. Stark. James F. Breen recalled, "I distinctly remember that ...

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Eleanor Graves, Donner Party (1832 - 1894)

Survived, age 14 Eleanor (Ellen) Graves was born July 28, 1832, in Marshall County, Illinois, the fourth surviving child of Franklin Ward and Elizabeth Cooper Graves. Little is known of her childhood...

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Nancy Graves, Donner Party (1838 - 1907)

Survived, age 8 In a brief but firm note Nancy Graves tendered her refusal to correspond with historian C. F. McGlashan. The subject of the Donner Party was very painful for her; as a schoolgirl in S...

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W. C. Graves, Donner Party (c.1829 - 1907)

Survived, age 17 Most of author C. F. McGlashan’s informants had been small children during the Donner disaster, but W.C. Graves was one the few who had been adults, or nearly adults, at the t...

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Mary Graves, Donner Party (1826 - 1891)

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...

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Jay Fosdick, Donner Party (1823 - c.1847)

Age 23, perished. Not much is known about Sarah Graves’ young husband. He was a native of New York State and moved with his family to Marshall County, Illinois, about 1836. He had been courtin...

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Elizabeth Cooper Graves, Donner Party (c.1800 - 1847)

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 ...

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Frank Graves, Donner Party (c.1789 - c.1846)

The Graves family from Illinois has not been as well represented in the history of the Donner Party as have the Donners and the Reeds. Both parents, a son-in-law, and a son died in the disaster; two mo...

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William Henry Eddy, Donner Party (c.1816 - c.1859)

Sole survivor in his family. Eddy’s background is mysterious. He told J. Quinn Thornton that he was a from Belleville, Illinois, but apparently he had lived there only a few years before setti...

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Patrick Breen, Donner Party (1837 - 1899)

Survived, age nine. Patrick Breen, Jr., became a rancher in the San Juan and Salinas valleys, where he owned considerable property. He raised cattle and sheep, and also grew wheat and fruit.

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James F. Breen, Donner Party (1841 - 1899)

Survived, age four. James graduated from Santa Clara College and became an attorney. He established his practice in San Juan Bautista about 1863 and was a prominent local citizen. He served as distri...

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Patrick Breen, Donner Party (1843 - 1870)

Survived, only three years old. Peter Breen attended Santa Clara College. He was engaged to be married when he was killed in a riding accident.

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Margaret Breen, Donner Party (1845 - 1935)

Of the six infants in the Donner Party (age 1), Isabella Breen was the only one to survive to adulthood. She had no personal memories of the tragedy. When her parents and older brothers would talk abou...

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Edward Breen, Donner Party (1833 - 1890)

Survived, age 13. Not long after leaving Fort Bridger on the Plaines, Edward was out riding with one of the Reed girls when his horse fell. Edward was knocked out and his leg was broken. His parents ...

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John Breen, Donner Party (1832 - 1903)

Survived, age 14 John went to the diggings in 1849 and returned with $12,000 worth of gold, a fortune in those days. His father used it to purchase the Castro Adobe and other property. John’s ...

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Margaret Breen, Donner Party (c.1806 - 1874)

The characterization of Margaret Breen in Donner Party writings has been unfortunate. It appears that because of her husband’s ill-health, she assumed a more prominent role in the family than ...

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Patrick Breen, Donner Party (c.1795 - 1868)

In Patrick Breen’s first diary entry, from November 20th, he wrote: “We now have killed most part of our cattle, having to stay here until next spring and live on poor beef without bread ...

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Naomi Pike, Donner Party (1843 - 1934)

Her sister Catherine died the day after the relief arrived, but Naomi was still alive. Rhoads carried her slung on his back in a blanket to her mother. b. 13 Nov 1843 in St. Louis, MO m1. 8 Sep 186...

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"Sol" Hook, Donner Party (c.1832 - 1878)

Survived. Of the nine members of Jacob Donner’s family, only three children survived. Much of Jacob’s property had been salvaged and sold at auction for the benefit of his children George...

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Mary Donner, Donner Party (1839 - 1860)

Survived. Mary’s feet were badly injured from frostbite and fire during her rescue. She lost four toes from her left foot; William G. Murphy remembered his sister Mary sitting at Johnson’...

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Phillipine Keseberg, Donner Party (c.1823 - c.1877)

Virginia Reed Murphy recalled, "She was a pretty little woman, humble and unassuming proud of her husband and afeered of him... she made excuses for him." Philippine was pitied as a battered wife. Hei...

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Ada Keseberg, Donner Party (1843 - 1847)

Ada had a twin sister who died after the Kesebergs arrived in the United States from Germany -- see "The Missing Keseberg Child" in Donner Party Bulletin 14. When the First Relief left the lake cam...

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Lewis Keseberg, Donner Party (1846 - d.)

This baby was presumably given his father’s full name, but he is always referred to as "Louis (or Lewis), Jr." He was apparently born on the overland journey. On June 3, 1846, diarist Edwin Brya...

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Lewis, Donner Party (1844 - 1847)

On March 3, 1847, the Second Relief set out from the camps, leaving rescuer Nicholas Clark behind at the Alder Creek to assist the Donners. He was staying in Jacob Donner’s tent a few days later...

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Samuel, Donner Party (1843 - 1847)

There are at least two references from the spring of 1847 referring to a living Donner child left behind by the Third Relief; apparently this was Samuel. Eliza Donner Houghton claimed that her mother t...

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Isaac, Donner Party (1842 - 1847)

At Starved Camp Isaac Donner "perished during one of the stormy nights. He was lying on the bed of pine boughs between his sister Mary and Patty Reed, and died so quietly that neither of the sleeping g...

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George Donner, The Donner Party (c.1786 - 1847)

The Donner Party was the worst disaster in wagon train history. Forty-two emigrants and two Indian guides had died. However, the remaining forty-seven travellers survived. George and Jacob were repai...

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George Donner, s/o Jacob, Donner Party (c.1836 - 1874)

Survived. "Young George" was the only Donner Party survivor to bear the Donner name very long; the other surviving Donners, his sister and cousins, were all girls who married and changed theirs. He rar...

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Leanna Donner, Donner Party (c.1834 - 1930)

Survived. Tamzene reportedly told Leanna and Elitha never to tell what they had experienced in the mountains. Leanna took this advice to heart and rarely spoke about the disaster. b. 05 Dec 1834 Sang...

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Elitha Donner, Donner Party (deceased)

Survived. Just a few months after her ordeal in the mountains, fourteen-year-old Elitha Donner married Perry McCoon, who had assisted the Donner relief by ferrying men and supplies across the swollen S...

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William Hook, Donner Party (1834 - 1847)

Perished. Young William Hook was taken out by the First Relief and reached camp in Bear Valley safely. Tormented by hunger, he sneaked out at night, gorged on the supplies, and became extremely ill. ...

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Elizabeth Donner, Donner Party (c.1807 - 1847)

Little is known of Elizabeth Donner, but she was remembered affectionately Elizabeth Blue Hook was a sister of Mary Blue Tennant, George Donner’s second wife. Jacob Donner’s children ...

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Jacob Donner, Donner Party (c.1790 - c.1846)

Jacob Donner went west with his wife, six children, and two stepchildren. Of those nine people, only three survived the winter. Jacob Donner's body was found with his heart and liver removed and his li...

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Frankie Donner, Donner Party (1840 - 1921)

After the disaster Frances, sometimes called Frankie, was taken in and raised by James F. Reed’s family in San Jose until 1852, when Leanna married John App. Then Frances went to take Leanna's p...

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Georgia Donner, Donner Party (1841 - 1911)

George and Tamzene Donner's two youngest children, Georgia and Eliza, were very close. Although Hiram O. Miller had been appointed their legal guardian, they were taken in by an elderly Swiss couple,...

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Eliza Donner, Donner Party (c.1843 - 1922)

Survived, age 4 Eliza and Georgia, the two youngest children of George and Tamzene Donner, were very close. Although Hiram O. Miller had been appointed their legal guardian, they were taken in by a...

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Louis Keseberg, Donner Party (c.1814 - 1895)

Only he and his wife survived. Their two small children and three teamsters all died. Lewis Keseberg was born in Germany on 22nd May, 1814. He was married on 22nd June, 1842, and two years later emig...

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Patty Reed, Donner Party (c.1838 - 1923)

Patty Reed was only a child of eight when her family left Springfield, but she too retained many memories which she shared with various writers. She also preserved a wealth of family documents and arti...

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James Reed, Donner Party (c.1841 - 1901)

Margret, Virginia, and James F. Reed, Jr. were rescued by the First Relief. Five-year-old Jimmy found it hard to struggle through the snow. His mother enticed him to continue with promises that when he...

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Thomas Reed, Donner Party (c.1843 - 1915)

Tommy Reed seems to have been particularly close to his sister Patty. On May 25, 1846, J. Quinn Thornton recorded an incident in which Patty’s enthusiastic affection nearly bowled Tommy over. T...

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Margaret Reed, Donner Party (c.1811 - d.)

Survived, the Reeds were one of only two families to survive without loss. Of the 83 members of the Donner Party who were trapped in the mountains, only 45 survived to reach California. He marrie...

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Harriett Murphy, Donner Party (1828 - 1870)

Survived, but Harriet lost her husband in a shooting accident along the Truckee River at the end of October 1846. Levinah Jackson Murphy’s second daughter was only 14 when she married William ...

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William Murphy, Donner Party, returned to TN (c.1836 - c.1904)

Survived, and later returned to Tennessee with his brother. b. 15 Jan 1836 Weakley Co., TN m. 03 Dec 1861 Weakley Co., TN to Damaris Kathleen Cochran Ch: Tullulah "Lulie" T., Kate Nye, William Gr...

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Sarah Keyes, Donner Party (c.1776 - 1846)

Two reasons have been given as to why the ailing70 year old Mrs. Keyes decided to emigrate to California. According to diarists Edwin Bryant and George McKinstry, Mrs. Keyes was hoping to meet her youn...

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William Pike, Donner Party (1814 - 1846)

William M. Pike, the illegitimate son of James Brown Pike and a Mrs. Wolfries, was a grandson of a Revolutionary War officer, Zebulon Pike, and a nephew of the explorer Zebulon Montgomery Pike, after w...

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Catherine Pike, Donner Party (1846 - 1847)

Daughter of William M. Pike and Harriet Frances Murphy Age: [1] Perished. Catherine Pike was evidently named after her father’s sister, who had died in 1843 at the age of 22. Catherine’...

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Sarah Foster, Donner Party (1826 - 1906)

Sarah Murphy Foster was one of the five young women who joined the Forlorn Hope snowshoe party, leaving her son behind. She and her husband never saw him again. 04 Nov 1826 Union County, SC m. 29 Dec...

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"George" Foster, Donner Party (1844 - 1847)

Perished Sarah and William Foster left George behind with his grandmother when they departed with the Forlorn Hope in mid-December. Levinah did the best she could for him during the dreary winter, bu...

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Landrum Murphy, Donner Party (1829 - 1847)

Landrum Murphy was a large and somewhat overgrown young man. The hides and burnt bones did not contain sufficient nourishment to keep him alive. For some hours before he died, he lay in a semi-deliriou...

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Lemuel Murphy, Donner Party (c.1833 - 1846)

A boy about thirteen years old, Lemuel was dearly loved by his sisters, and, full of courage, had endeavored to accompany them on the fearful journey. He was feeble when he started from the cabins, and...

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Levinah Murphy, Donner Party (1809 - d.)

She is often called "old Mrs. Murphy" in the literature of the Donner Party, but Levinah Jackson Murphy was only 36 when she set out for California. She had been born to a prosperous family living in U...

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James F. Reed, Donner Party (c.1800 - 1874)

The most successful of the Donner Party travelers. His entire family survived. They ate no flesh. James F. Reed dominates the story of the Donner Party. He was a man of strong personality, described ...

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Thomas Nickerson MP (c.1805 - 1883)

Added by Elwin C. Nickerson -"Whaling Ship Essex- Thomas was a member of the ill-fated ship the Essex, at age 15. There were twenty men in the crew aboard the whaleship, George Pollard, Master, when sh...

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Capt. George Pollard MP (1791 - 1870)

George Pollard, Jr. (1791–1870) was the captain of the whaleships Essex and Two Brothers , both of which sank. Pollard's life, including his encounter with the sperm whale that sank the Essex, s...

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Capt. Owen Chase MP (1797 - 1869)

Owen Chase (1798 - 1869) of Nantucket sought a traditional career as a whaling captain. However, at age 22, while serving as first mate of the Essex, his ship was sunk in a horrific, unprecedented atta...

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Alfred G. "Alferd" Packer MP (1842 - 1907)

Famous American convicted serial killer and cannibal. Alfred G. "Alferd" Packer (January 21, 1842 – April 23, 1907)[1] was an American prospector who was accused of cannibalism. First tried ...

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