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Download PDF by Virginia Reed Murphy: Across the Plains in the Donner Party

By Virginia Reed Murphy

This tragic tale of Virginia Reed?s trip west is instructed via her memoirs of the twelve-year-old woman, with supplementary bills in keeping with her father's letters and the diary of one other traveller. Given the delicate nature of features of the adventure, younger readers will locate the heritage notes and explanatory reviews important. Maps and diverse reproductions incorporated.

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Keseberg and her daughter Ada; William Graves and his sisters, Lovina and Eleanor; Mrs. Wolfinger; John Denton; and young William Hook]. Those left behind were to eat and rest until they were able to leave with other rescuers, who, hopefully, would be able to come and go until all were safely out of the mountains. On February 22, my family left with the first rescue party. It was a bright, sunny morning, and we were so happy, so hopeful. But we had not gone far when my brother and sister, Tommy and Patty, gave out.

Worse yet, the sun's reflection off the bright white snow nearly blinded us, making it difficult to follow any trail. My brother, Jimmy, was too small to walk in the tracks made by the men. In order to travel he had to place one knee on the little hill of snow after each step before swinging his other leg over the mound to reach a footprint. Mother coaxed him along, telling him that with every step he took, he was getting closer to Papa. He was the youngest child [five years old] to walk over the Sierra Nevada Mountains.

The search for someone or something to blame for the disaster also kept the story alive. The public lambasted Lansford Hastings and Jim Bridger. People considered the advice that these men had given to the Donner party irresponsible at best. Others found fault with the leaders of the wagon train. In the eyes of these people, the train's leaders were overconfident, almost cocky. The critics pointed out that the leaders refused to listen to warnings about the dangers of the cutoff from other emigrants and that they traveled too slowly, held back by big wagons – especially the Reeds' palace car – and too many belongings.

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Across the Plains in the Donner Party by Virginia Reed Murphy


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