Lovina Graves, Donner Party

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Lovina Cyrus (Graves)

Also Known As: "Lavinia"
Birthplace: Marshall Co., IL
Death: Died in Oakland, Alameda Co., CA
Immediate Family:

Daughter of Frank Graves, Donner Party and Elizabeth Cooper Graves, Donner Party
Wife of John Cyrus
Mother of Rachel Elizabeth Wright; James William Cyrus and Henry Enoch Cyrus
Sister of Sarah Graves Fosdick, Donner Party; Melissa Graves; Mary Ann Clarke, Donner Party survivor; W. C. Graves, Donner Party; Eleanor Graves, Donner Party and 4 others

Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:

About Lovina Graves, Donner Party

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 adult life in Calistoga.
    Her husband, John Cyrus, was also a veteran of Hastings Cutoff. According to a story passed down in his family, the Cyruses crossed the summit just ahead of the Donner Party. The eldest son, Pleasant, was said to have ridden back two days to tell the Donners to hurry, though this story is impossible to verify.
    Lovina was reluctant to discuss the Donner Party, but about 1900 she told the story to her granddaughter, Edna Maybelle Sherwood. The memoir was published in the Calistoga paper several years later. (Reprinted in "Unfortunate Emigrants.") Lovina’s daughter Rachel Elizabeth Cyrus Wright also wrote a memoir, "The Early Upper Napa Valley," available at the Sharpsteen Museum, which contains many anecdotes about pioneer California and the Graves family.
    Lovina died while visiting a daughter in Oakland. She was brought back to Calistoga to be buried beside her husband in the Calistoga Pioneer Cemetery.



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Lovina Graves, Donner Party's Timeline

Marshall Co., IL
Age 25
Age 27
Age 39
Age 72
Oakland, Alameda Co., CA