By Virginia Reed Murphy
This tragic tale of Virginia Reed?s trip west is informed via her memoirs of the twelve-year-old lady, with supplementary money owed in line with her father's letters and the diary of one other vacationer. Given the delicate nature of features of the adventure, younger readers will locate the history notes and explanatory reviews useful. Maps and diverse reproductions incorporated.
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The Breens were the only Catholics in the Donner party, and prayers were said aloud regularly in that cabin every morning and night. While we lived with them, I listened carefully when they prayed. One fearful night, after we had all gone to bed, I felt that the hour was not far distant when we would go to sleep, never to wake again in this world, like Baylis and Milt. All at once, I found myself on my knees with my hands clasped, looking up through the darkness, making a vow that I would become a Catholic if God would send us relief and let me see my father again.
Mr. and Mrs. Graves seized Mrs. Reed's goods and will hold them until they are paid for goods that Mrs. Reed [used]. Mrs. Reed 42 has no money. Also took most of the hides that Mrs. Reed and family had to live on. May God send help soon. January 31 Landrum Murphy died last night. February 3 Mrs. Reed has nothing left but one hide, and it is on the Graves's shanty. Milt is living there and will likely keep that hide. Eddy's child died last night. February 6 Mrs. Eddy very weak. February 7 Milt here today.
The remainder of the time here, up to this day, was clear and pleasant. Freezing at night. November 21 Twenty-two of our company are going to try to cross the mountain to get help, including Stanton and the Indians. November 22 No account from those on the mountains. November 23 The expedition across the mountains returned after an unsuccessful attempt. Mules couldn't get through the snow. The trail over the Sierra Nevada from Donner Lake. It was more than sixty miles to Johnson’s ranch, and then another twenty-five 37or so to Sutter’s Fort – a long way to walk for people who were starving and freezing to death.
Across the Plains in the Donner Party by Virginia Reed Murphy