By Virginia Reed Murphy
This tragic tale of Virginia Reed?s trip west is advised via her memoirs of the twelve-year-old woman, with supplementary debts according to her father's letters and the diary of one other visitor. Given the delicate nature of features of the adventure, younger readers will locate the historical past notes and explanatory reviews necessary. Maps and diverse reproductions incorporated.
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Extra info for Across the Plains in the Donner Party
The Donners had been behind us. When informed that crossing the mountains was impossible, they de-cided to stay put in Alder Creek Valley, five miles below the lake. They were, if possible, in a worse condition than ourselves. We at least had the old building. The Donners were forced to live in shelters made mostly from brush topped with pine boughs. When the first storm ended, we prepared the best we could to try to survive the winter. The men built two double shelters, which were known as the MurphyEddy cabin and the Reed-Graves cabin.
Nevertheless, Reed and McCutchen were still determined to meet their friends and family. Choosing the best horses, they urged them forward – but alas! – the animals couldn't go on. The men then attempted to proceed on foot, but for the want of snowshoes, they were obliged to abandon all hopes of continuing. They were less than twelve miles from the summit. Gathering their horses, they returned to the valley and went from there to Mr. Johnson's, who received them in the most hospitable manner. Here they asked for information about crossing the mountains, hoping to find an easier route.
We were snowbound in the Sierras. 31 Editor's Note Three new sources appear in Part II. Excerpts, or parts, of Patrick Breen's diary have been included to give readers a more detailed account of what life was like in the Sierras for the Donner party during the winter of 1846-47. Breen began his diary about a month after the party became snowbound. He described the weather in detail and listed deaths as he learned about them, events that Virginia does not mention in her account. Also, Breen recorded several incidents involving the Reeds, which Virginia omitted.
Across the Plains in the Donner Party by Virginia Reed Murphy