Facts On The Donner Party
The Donner Party refers to around ninety people that decided to leave Springfield in Illinois and head west in the year 1846. This group of people was led by George and Jacob Donner, and hence the name. However, the group’s arrival to California was marked with many hardships, leading to the death of more than have of the original number.
The problem with the Donner group started when the group decided to take a new route, which was said to be a shorter one to reach California. Though the group set out in Spring, their journey was hindered with rough terrain. The constant stops that lasted for 3 days also did not help. And soon, the group ended up being trapped in Sierra Nevada Mountain with heavy snow. It is claimed that the group ended up cannibalizing their death in order to survive in the winter.
The brothers leading the group were rich and when they set out with the other people, they initially followed the usual route to California. They reached Fort Bridger in Wyoming with no problem. However, it is here that the brothers decided to take an alternate route after a trail guide promised to mark the route for them, so that they could follow the markings.
This is said to have gotten the approval of Donner Party and they set out from Fort Bridger with twenty wagons and made their way to Weber Canyon, where the trail guide had informed them that there was an easy path to get across the Wasatch Mountain. On reaching the canyon, the group found a note left by the trail guide stating the route that he had contemplated was actually quite difficult and tough and so the party should stay put until he returned to lead the way using a different route. After waiting for 8 days for the guide to turn up, the party sent a messenger, who came back informing them that the guide wanted them to follow an alternate route. So, the party decided to take this route, which unfortunately turned out be worse than Weber Canyon.
The Donner Party managed to cross the Wasatch Mountains and made it to the Great Salt Lake. However, in the bargain they had lost eighteen days. The shorter route that they decided to take to California ended up with the party crossing the Sierra Nevada Mountains in the middle of winter. The party got snowed in and many of the members died due to cold and starvation.
According to circulating stories after the party was rescued the following spring, they ended up cannibalizing to live through the harsh winter. Out of the ninety people that set out from Springfield, just forty-five made it to California.
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History: Donner Party