May 16, 2022

1846: The Donner Party

1846: The Donner Party

It's happened. We have officially covered it. The Donner Party.

Join the ONUC gals this week as they discuss Manifest Destiny, the tragic events that led to the Donner groups down fall, and how the moral to the story is that you should listen to your friends when they give you advice. 

Trigger Warning Level: Low (Well... except for the cannibalism)

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Remember, there isn't always liberty and justice for all.

Sources: History, Legends of America, National Geographic, KQED, All Things Interesting, Britannica, and Donner Party Diary

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Transcript

You are listening to one nation under crime, a historical chronological, true crime podcast. Each week we go through our nation's history and cover a few cases from each year starting in 1800. I'm Kayla And I'm Leah. We are almost Almost To our year anniversary. We're coming up on it. And We will say Yes. And I can't Say that I'm not disappointed that this was not our anniversary episode. Oh, you say that until you find out what it's about. 

00:00:45

I'm just, I'm sorry that you're disappointed. It's All right. I'm so sad. It's all right, because it is, it's a topic. Well, it is. At the time we have one of, you know, There is usually a topic that is Each episode, Each episode there, there generally yes. Is a topic And usually a rabbit hole or two Or Five, I mean, yes. You know, Unless Kayla's got to go pick up a child and then she, yeah. She shoots daggers at me. And tell me to wrap it up, wrap it up. 

00:01:25

Don't tell about your love of nucleus. I mean, we, we gotta get moving. We gotta go. She doesn't have Got it. And the love for new kids, which is why she did not. Let me tell about how wonderful they are. We got to get the job done. We got to start a new nation. You Got to meet my son, You know, but as one person, As one person kindly said today that we spend over 10 minutes discussing our drinking habits and animal preferences, along with general noncrime banter. So I mean, if that's what you're here for welcome, Want to know what animals we like. 

00:02:08

I mean, does it, doesn't everybody want to know that giraffes, the camel horse combination is like the best animal to watch it. The zoo doesn't everybody. I mean, you know, that's, that was What kind of weirdo doesn't want to know that. Well, you know, and as I said to them, we understand we're not for everyone and you know what, that's fine. We're not for everyone. And we're happy with that. We're happy with ourselves. I mean, and if you need to go listen to something else, then that's okay. We understand That we're we're not stopping. You Don't understand it's it's okay. 

00:02:49

We create free content every week. And it holds over costs. Use $0 to hit pause and just find something else. So correct. You know, there's that Correct? As some people say, which really does bother me. So Our library or desks, We are All, Yeah. When you get out in the country, you get some, you get some interesting things. When I taught the kids would say this key, can I go to the library? And I'd say the, what? Can I go to the library? And I'd say, I'm sorry, Betty. I don't know what that is. Can I go to the lab area? Maybe we don't have her with us in these, in this school. 

00:03:30

Now, if you want to go to the library, I know we have one of those. That's true. They picked up real quick. <inaudible> Biblioteca That's LA scattered there. So we'll go ahead and we'll go into our sources for this week, because this is a topic that I am sure will generate plenty of conversation and yeah, we'll, you'll say so our sources for this week, we have several that I had to dig through a, to find a lot of information, because this is a topic that a lot of information is to be found. 

00:04:15

One could say that this topic is infamous. Oh dear. Now she hasn't shared with me. So I'm now curious. I can't wait to see the look on your face. I'm going to hide my face. So our sources, we have two sources from history.com. We have legends of America. They were a great source. Got a lot of information from them. National geographic, K Q E d.org. What in the world? Yeah. It was very helpful. That all things interesting where you can find all things interesting. Well, there you go. I mean, I used to have their sources. 

00:04:56

So we in there, I don't know, not yet, maybe pertain USCCA as well. And this is going to give away what we're discussing this week. Donner party, diary.com Oman. So let's get onto our events in 1846, January 5th, the us house of representatives voted to stop sharing the Oregon territory with the UK. Well, no, All our stores, January 21st, the first edition of the daily news came out, which was Charles Dickens newspaper, February 5th, the Oregon spectator became the first newspaper to be published on the west coast, February 21st. 

00:05:57

Sarah G Bagley became the first woman telegrapher in the United state For Sarah. I, you know, she's a trailblazer. There we go. Speaking of trailblazers, what we're covering this week, stop that February 27th, bill Liberty, bell cracked while being wrong for George Washington's birthday. This is the first time. No. Okay. Just more. Okay. May 4th, Michigan ended the death penalty in 1846. 

00:06:43

Wow. I, That surprising was Very surprised by this. There's only one person in Michigan since then that was put to death. And it was because it was federal, but the state itself has not put anyone to death at all since then, which is very intriguing. It is. And not, I don't want to sound hateful, whatever adjective you want to use. I wonder if their prisons are very overcrowded. I must most prisons and the prison systems are Most Crowded most are. 

00:07:23

I'm just, I'm curious. That's more into it. And I didn't see anything regarding that. How Weber, I don't know if that prevents you from being sentenced to death because you know, California doesn't have the death penalty, but I'm pretty sure Scott Peterson was sentenced to death and it was Demanded A life in prison. Oh, I was going to ask if that became a federal case. I don't know. I don't know. I Don't do I Have friends that do So I'm not sure, but either way, May 4th, Michigan ended the death penalty in 1846, which is Just so very early. 

00:08:10

Yes, very early may. 23rd, the associated press was founded in New York city. Got to love the AP June 5th Telegraph lines opened between Philadelphia and Baltimore, July 9th. The territory of the district of Columbia, south of the Potomac river was returned to Virginia via an act of Congress. July 21st Mormons founded the first English settlement in San Joaquin valley, California, August 5th, the Oregon territory was divided between the us and the UK at the 49th parallel. 

00:09:00

So while they didn't share it anymore, they just have to, you know, use your Half here's mom. Exactly. Like when two siblings argue over something and you're like, you know, Cookie Will have it. And then you look at it to see what Cosmic that one has more chocolate chips, Bigger, gotta weigh it out. Let's see. August 10th Congress passed the act, establishing the Smithsonian institution, which is now the largest. No. Yeah, it is. Are you sure? It's not just the largest is the world's largest museum and research complex. 

00:09:40

You could get lost there. Love Smithsonian. I mean, Love it. We were just actually talking about this before we started recording and love it. September 10th, Iliad Howe received a patent for a lock stitch sewing machine, November 4th, Benjamin Palmer patented the first artificial leg. Begging the question. Can we still call him judge Peck luck. 

00:10:22

It was an artificial leg, not peg leg. Like this one probably have my crew. So I don't think we can call him peg leg anymore. Well, sure we can because this was an actual interest tag, not an artificial leg, not a piglet. He could have upgraded and good for him if he did, honestly, he's a judge. He deserves it. Treat yourself. I mean, you know, NoMo gavel Is what it is. And then December 28, Iowa became the 29th state of the U S another shout out to our Iowan friends to Do, do Them, to Iowan friends. 

00:11:06

And we shouted them out last week. We're shying them out again this week Because they're so cond 1846, you guys joined as the 29th state in the U S so this week we are going to just jump right in. We are not covering a specific region one because the region is very large, vast, as some would say, and There isn't a specific area for us to cover. So we are going to dig deep into one specific thing though. 

00:11:49

We discussed the term manifest destiny a of episodes ago. And this idea is what encouraged the events that we were going to discuss in this episode today. So before we go into our topic today, I want to touch on exactly what manifest destiny is and why it was such a major influence at this time. It is so weird. I was thinking of that term earlier today. That's so funny. You knew I was speaking to you. That is so weird. I was speaking to you probably is what it was continue. I'm working on my telepathic abilities. 

00:12:30

It worked Clearly wigs me out. The term only came about a year before our case takes place today. So while it was just in its infancy, it made quite a large impact. Manifest destiny is essentially the idea that the United States was destined by God to expand its dominion and spread democracy and capitalism across the entire north American continent. In other words, while it might be a great term, that sounds like you have a greater purpose. When we kind of look into the actual definition, it truly was simply a reason to justify forced removal of natives from their land and expand the footprint of the us into these kind of unknown ish territories that existed. 

00:13:26

I mean, honestly, if you think about it, that's what it is because you're saying we are destined to expand this us and spread democracy and capitalism one, nothing good ever came from spreading capitalism. Like, let's be real honest here, too. What I mean, you're, that's what you're saying, because what is in those unknown areas you're trying to democratize or people who've been there, you know? And so it's kind of just like, oh, Hey, this is, we're going to use this term To make everything bright and Make sound great. 

00:14:07

It's like rebranding after the trail of tears, you're like, we need a rebrand. So, and I guess it did work in some ways when you truly think about it. Yeah. Immigration and higher birth rates led to a boom in the U S population from an estimated of 5 million people in 1800 to 23 million in 1815. So in a matter of 50 years, it jumped that much. Wow. The original push to move west began in 1803 with president Thomas Jefferson and the Louisiana purchase. 

00:14:51

It continued with the Louis and Thumb hole. Oh, absolutely. I Had to It, I mean, he's such a great, it continued with the Lewis and Clark expedition, which lasted from 1805 to 1807 and then pressed further south when Jefferson wanted Spanish, Florida is a part of the U S which was later completed in 1819 under president James maroon, Maine, if it's all one land, It needs to all be one country. Yeah. That's the thought, I suppose one continent, I guess, would have been fine anyways. 

00:15:33

I didn't get the Whole class, but I, yeah, but I mean, we were already a continent, so I mean, like it wasn't, we were fine. Yeah. In 1823, president Monroe invoked the manifest destiny idea before the actual term was coined when he made a speech before Congress warning European nations, not to interfere with America's westward expansion, Monroe threatened that any attempts by Europeans to colonize the quote American continents would be seen as an act of war, this threat of war and push to keep Europeans from claiming portions of north America as their own is what became known as the Monroe doctrine. 

00:16:21

So that's what the Monroe doctrine was all about. You Know, I'll learn this in school. Exactly. We forgot about it. I Been out of school, You know, Longer than some of you have had children. You know, that's All I'll say There's that. And which is funny. Cause the other day my daughter was talking about who her teacher's going to be next year. And you know, she really wanted there's one teacher is easy to shoot. She was like, oh, I wonder if this teacher's gonna, you know, be, you know, go and I want this teacher again. And I was like, well, you know, sometimes teachers do change grades. And I explained to her, I had a teacher in middle school who did, I had her in sixth grade and I had her in eighth grade as a science teacher. 

00:17:07

Her name was Ms. Felix, best name ever. She had Felix, the cat all around her, But my daughter was like, oh, I hope I have miss Felix when I go. And I was like, honey, I don't think miss Felix is teaching anymore. I mean, I really doubt it. She was talking about retiring when I was there. So anyways, that is <inaudible> of that. There was, she was like, I hope I have her. And I was like, she's like 90, like, Well, here's, here's an age check for ya. Shout out, by the way, to our new friends, Emily and Elizabeth, my husband and I had dinner with him, his coworkers Emily's big fan said Hi, Emily in Criollo, which is a real place by the way. 

00:17:59

Anyway, so we had dinner and we ordered beverages. I didn't get carded obviously. And our nice guests, Dick at carded and on one of the ladies, she goes, oh, we were really close in age. My birthday's in October of 97. And I leaned over to Michael and I went, oh my gosh, that's the year that we graduated. Highs Were born the year that we graduated high school. I mean, Well, yeah, but if that doesn't make you feel like Walker That yeah. 

00:18:41

That'll get ya. No fun. Well, I, Yeah, I like they, they could just about the, our kids, like N Almost Like biologically, they could, they could biological and been married 20 years, but yeah. But Yeah, that's True. Gut-check kind of hurts. It does, but we loved you girls y'all were fun. Y'all need to come up again and we won't make Michael come and sit through other girls stuff and we'll just have fun. Yes. And maybe we'll get Kayla to come and she won't have to work it on episodes. No, I had some, I had some episodes that I had to work on. This one actually I was working on. 

00:19:22

So it was quite extensive. So I hope, I hope Emily and Elizabeth enjoy the episode this week while I was doing this nor having dinner. So, you know, such a good topic to research. And that's what I told you. I was like, yeah, you don't know the topic I'm researching, but Like which out we're there, It includes dinner, I suppose, if you really think about it. So anyway, Moving on. Yes. In 1844, president John Tyler made Texas eligible for admission as a us territory as one of his last bills while he was in office. 

00:20:05

And just one year later, a Texas was admitted to the union officially as a state, Officially official, Officially official. This is when the term manifest destiny made its appearance into us histories. Zeitgeists in July kind of July and August because there were different articles that came out in both of those months. An issue of the democratic review came out and John O'Sullivan criticized those who were against the expansion of Texas. He urged the nation to unite on behalf of quote, the fulfillment of our manifest destiny to overspread the continent allotted by Providence for the free development of our yearly multiplying millions. 

00:20:58

I mean, I don't think that they were successful in not expanding Texas. No. Yeah. Well he was saying like, they should expand Texas. And he was speaking against the people who thought that we should, oh, okay. Was Texas big, Texas real big at this time? Oh, Sullivan was the editor of both the democratic review and the morning news, which both published the ideas of manifest destiny around the same time. And then later in the year and December, but this time it was referencing the Oregon territory, president James K. Polk won the election in 1844. 

00:21:40

And he was known for his strong stance on expansion. And he even won the election for his presidency with the slogan 54 40 or fight, which is a reference to the potential Northern boundary of Oregon while it was somewhat debated, whether the U S had claimed to the Oregon territory, poke wanted to submit the claim in order to move on to taking the California territory from Mexico. Because again, we needed that too. I guess, gracious. The Polk administration agreed to split Oregon at the 49th parallel in order to avoid war avoid can't speak. 

00:22:25

Apparently I was trying to say avoid and war at the same time in order to avoid war with great Britain, but it didn't necessarily help them move anything along any quicker because of Mexico, while Oregon was squared away, the U S was in an all out war with Mexico due to their aggressive movements for westward expansion and manifest destiny. The treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo ended the Mexican American war in 1848 and added an additional 525,000 square miles to the U S which includes what is now California, Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, Nevada, Utah, and Wyoming. 

00:23:17

Wow. Those are some big states, like a couple like Wyoming and California in general. Like those that's big, but like, wow, all of this not only caused a war between the U S and Mexico, but it also led to the deplorable treatment of native Americans, Hispanics and other long standing occupants of the territories that the U S took over then last but not least the rising debate regarding slavery in the new states is what all led to the civil war. So manifest destiny while a cool, like little term, I guess, to put on it, didn't turn out well for a lot of reasons, few wars, then the civil war, you know, that, that thing that we're going to get to <inaudible> Brother, you Know, it's fine. 

00:24:17

So in April of 18 46, 9 covered wagons left Springfield, Illinois on a journey to California with a group that would eventually total 87, 11 months later, only roughly 45 were still alive. And some survived only by feeding off of their deceased traveling companion This week on one nation under crime, we are covering the Donner party. Now there are a lot of misconceptions when it comes to the Donner party. 

00:24:59

So I will ask you now, when you think of the Donner party, like, what is it that you think of? What is it that you like initially someone says the Donner party and what are your, like, what do you think of Obviously Human flesh, Right? What, is there anything else that you think of when you think would you, how many people would you think I really don't know would have Died? Would you think it would have been more or less? I had no idea. I really don't. I don't know really much more about it. I really don't. It's really sensationalized a lot more than people realize when you really look At punchline Is what truly is a punchline. 

00:25:46

And I think the reason is that a lot of people sensationalize it even more sure is because while not everyone became a sacrifice for the rest of the party, there were some who were like, and that's kind of the thing, and we'll dig more into it. But there's also some that are documented as part of the Donner party who absolutely refuse to talk about it. And one that refused to say it even happened. She flat out was like a denier of it and shows there. 

00:26:28

So it's Probably scarred for life, man, I will go ahead and say, I am not going to dig into some of the more gruesome details of This. Appreciate, you Know, I there's some cringy type, but it could have been a lot worse than it was because there were a lot of things I could have included that I was like, you know what, it's best to not. And I Appreciate that. There's a few podcasts out there that have covered this extremely in depth. And you can, you know, this is just kind of an overview. This is a Historical, You know, it is <inaudible>, this is what happened. 

00:27:08

If you want to research more, Go for It. Certainly. And there is a lot of graphic content to consume about this. There were people who had diaries at the time that you can read the Donner party, diaries.com like go find it. You know, it's, it's linked in the show notes. If you, if you, that's something you're looking into. So, but thank you for providing that, you know, for those more interesting, You know, it's there. So where did all of it begin? The Donner party is also referred to as the Doner Reed party. And it was a group of American pioneers that became stranded in route to California in late 1846. 

00:27:54

The group was named for the ex expeditions leader, George Donner, who arguably was not well-equipped to handle a group of this size. You think? Well, And we'll see what happened because as we'll see, the group ended up becoming much larger than it started out. So this was not, we're going to take 90 some odd people through this trail. That's not what happened. The idea of manifest destiny is what caused all of this to take place. The fertile farmlands of central California were attractive to settlers in the 1840s. 

00:28:36

And in the spring of 1846, the group of people we are going to discuss today, left Springfield, Illinois, and joined the movement of the United States. That seemed to all be pushing west. The families we discussed today started with two brothers named George and Jacob Doner and their friend James Reed, hence the Doner Reed Party. There, you get The group gathered up their families on April 14th, 1846. And they left Springfield in order to travel westward towards what they thought would be their destiny. Well, it was their destiny. It was, it was a destination. 

00:29:20

It was not their destiny, as it turns out two to two sides of the same coin, but, but very different. So in total, between the families, friends, and employees of the men, there were 32 people who initially joined the party, the families included, and yes, there are going to be a lot of names. And I understand that. I don't expect everyone to remember all of these names, very thankful for that. I'm horrible with names, but it's because there's different parts of this where there's different stories that involve different people. And I don't want, like, I want to at least kind of say who they all are up front, so you can be like, I mean, I vaguely remember that name was there, but I mean, I totally understand I get it. 

00:30:13

So even when I was typing up the name, I was like, this is a lot of people who's on first. It very much so. So the families included the Reed family, the Donner family, but also the graves, the Breens, the Murphys, the eddies, the McCutcheons, the Casper ERGs and the best, last name of all time. Wolf fingers, literally Wolf Ingers. Nice. I mean, wa you've achieved life. I mean, that's just such great last name. 

00:30:53

I got to say, there were also several Teamsters in the group and those were just people at this time who heard it and drove cattle. So they were the ones like think tombstone. Gotcha. Those were Teamsters. They kind of like drove the cattle to a major area. So they had Teamsters as well as a few bachelors joining the group, they made their way to independence, Missouri and ended up joining another group and created a wagon train headed west. I'm not quite sure how many people realize how far this is. So very, you know, we have listeners from all over the country, as well as all over the world, which is super cool. 

00:31:37

So the best way to say it is if you were to take a look at the map of the United States and you found the dead center of the country, pretty much the dead center, that's where you're at. And then you just took a straight line to California. That is how far they were going. And this straight line was not a straight line. So also keep that in mind as well as we will see, this was, none of it turned out. It was all a tragedy from the beginning. It was just one of those things that kind of like if I plan a trip, yes, but worse. 

00:32:21

Now I'm a honeymoon. Yes. There you go. That is a better, yes. That is a better explanation. You, you would be correct. So James and Margaret Reed were accompanied by their four children for Virginia, Patty, James and Thomas, as well as Margaret's 70 year old mother, Sarah keys, and two hired servants. Sarah keys actually had to Burkey. Losis so bad at the time that she could barely walk. Oh, she was not fit for travel period, But she was unwilling to be separated from her only daughter. 

00:33:04

However, James Reed was determined that his family would not suffer along the long journey. The Reed family wagon was extravagant to say the least. It was two stories with a built-in iron stove, spring cushioned seats, and bunks for sleeping. I'm sorry, 1846. And he just wait. Cause it didn't sound like mama keys was man for this world. Wait for the next year. I don't know. I guess It's like, who's going to get there first. 

00:33:47

There were civil, new places. I agree. It's it took eight oxen alone to pull the one packet. Oh man. I bet he was the first one that day. That day it stayed on him real quick. I'm sure. Reads 12th. Just my opinion Needs 12 year old daughter, Virginia called it the pioneer palace car. Well, true the group. I mean, if I was going to have to ride in a wagon, that would be an out beyond princess going to be Rodan. Right. I'm just saying, I mean, not wrong. The group in all had it nine brand new wagons and it was estimated that the trip would take four months to get to California with of course, like I said before, the first destination being independence, Missouri, which was located as the main point for the Oregon and California trails. 

00:34:45

So that was kind of the spot of, we're going to go from Illinois to Missouri. We're going to stop here. And this is going to be where there's two trails. We decide where to go. And that thing top heavy, I would think so. Yes. I mean the first river crossed them. I would think so. I mean, I'm just going back to Oregon trail. Get the game in my mind. Yeah. I don't, I don't know. That's what I thought as well, but yeah, I don't, I don't know. I'm just thoughts going on in my mind. As I said before, the group also included George and Jacob Donner's families. George was a successful farmer at 62, along with his brother, the brothers were very adventurous and decided this would be their last trip to California. 

00:35:34

They had been at least once before that I could find or right about that. Yes, George Donner was traveling with his wife. Now I'll say this here. I have found her name listed as in several different ways, all with similar spellings, but all could be said. Totally different. Nice. So I just went with the first one that I saw and that's Tasmeem tan. Nope. See, this is why I can't do this, these names, Tam Xen similar. 

00:36:16

But like I said, it was listed so many different ways. It was hard to, if I saw a woman's name that started with a T, I was like, that's her, that's how I had to eventually like narrow it down. Tanzim Tamsin yes. Tim Xen was his third wife. And with them, they had their three children, Eliza Francis and Georgia. And Georgia's two daughters from a previous marriage Leander and a leaf E L I T H a Aletha. 

00:36:57

It's pretty, it's different. Jacob Donner and his yes. Jacob Donner and his wife, Elizabeth had their five children, Samuel Lewis, George Isaac and Mary. But they also had Elisabeth's two children from a previous marriage, William and Solomon hook. As you see, the children are piling up on this journey, That's a loss of children's Slots, just in the Doner group alone. That's a lot of children. Then you have the Reed family that includes their Sev like three children. I mean like children are already outnumbering adults, which we've discussed is not a good thing. 

00:37:39

And now we're going through the wilderness. I mean, great ideas all around. I had just seen two of the Teamsters were named Noah, James and Samuel Shoemaker who brought a friend with them named John Denton. Like I said, I know this is a lot of names. They all end up coming back up later. So that's just kind of why I'm laying out who they are now. It was three weeks later on May 12th, 1846. When the group reached independence and resupplied, there was a giant thunderstorm. And a week later they joined a larger party who was headed up by Colonel William H. Russell. 

00:38:21

This increased the group size to 87. So do they intend on meeting up with No, they were kind of headed in the same direction and it was kind of one of those, but Colonel William H. Russell was the one that was heading up the entire venture. So they just kind of were like, oh, this guy kind of seems like he knows what he's doing. We'll go with him. We'll see How the Stan numbers Safety in numbers. They come to see, they kind of seem like they know their stuff. So we'll, we'll go along with them. It wasn't long before the group had its first death on May 25th near Maysville, Kansas. 

00:39:02

You can probably guess who it Was. Mama keys, Sarah keys, the mother who had tuberculosis died and was buried next to big blue river, the group then built rafts to cross the water with the wagons. And then they were on their way again, following the Platte river for the next month Month. Oh yeah. It was not a short journey. Eventually Colonel William Russel stepped down as captain of the group. And the position was filled by William bogs, lots of Williams as always, they encountered a few problems along the way, but eventually reached for Laramie. 

00:39:45

Do we know why he stepped down? There was some discontinuation in the ranks. From what I understand, usually there Is. Yes. And I think it was kind of like, not my monkeys, not my circus. I'm a step down. Like it was kind of one of those things of like Fine. I'm not dealing with it. I'm a Colonel. So that's why they chose me to begin with. And like, it's not even that deep. So I'm, I'm a dip. Like I think that's kind of what it was. So they did eventually reach Fort Laramie only a week behind schedule on June 27th. Interestingly enough, once at Fort Laramie, James Reed ran into a friend from Illinois whose name was James Kleiman. 

00:40:32

Kleiman had just traveled a new route with Lansford Hastings. He made it very clear to James Reed that they should not take the Hastings cutoff stating that the road was barely passable on foot. And there would be no way for wagons to cross not to mention the desert and the Sierra Nevadas that would also have to be tackled along the way. And this was the, the Hastings cutoff is what he told him to not take What they had planned to take. No. Okay. Not from what I understand. 

00:41:12

I think it was kind of up in the air as to what direction they would take. There was this new cut through that was called the Hastings cut off. And so it was kind of like, you can take this path or you can take the one less traveled by, you know, kind of one of those things. And supposedly, allegedly this cutoff would save time. So that was kind of the big pool towards it. His friends strongly suggested that the party take the normal trail rather than this new route on July 11th, the group left Fort Laramie and they were eventually met by a man at the continental divide, carrying a letter from none other than Lansford Hastings. 

00:42:02

Ah, The letter said that Hastings would meet them at Fort Bridger and lead them to this new cutoff, which passed south of salt lake instead of going Northwest through Fort hall, which is now Pocatello, Idaho, keep in mind, this is the same cut off. They were just warned not to take. However, the letter must have been super convincing and put any fear, stress that they might've had regarding it because they headed in that direction. The wagon train eventually arrived at little Sandy river on July 19th. This is in what is present day Wyoming. 

00:42:43

And this is where the trail parted into two routes. The Northern route was the typical safe route that most groups normally took. But the other was Hastings. Cutoff, Sorry, pause the safe route. Okay. The safe route. Yeah, it was the safe route. And then the Hastings cut off. Okay. I just want to make sure I Do the two options. The other one, it was like, people had gone this way before we already know like, people know how to go this way. It's people have taken wagons this way. Like, we're good. Like this is world. This is the way that they already knew how to take. A lot of people already knew how to take like, yes, it was very well. You were returning. 

00:43:24

It was Yes. Okay. Everything, just Everything Shira understood, But men I'm not, I'm not disparaging men. I get it. I understand. However, you, you also know that if you're told of a good shortcut to get you there quicker, more than likely is going to be taken regardless. So We made good time. Great time. Yeah, we got lost. There must have been a portion of the group that didn't trust Hastings letter because a large portion of the 87 members took the safer route. 

00:44:12

But the group that decided to take the Hastings route decided George Doner would act as their captain on the trip. And soon after they began their routes, they did end up reaching Fort Bridger on July 28th. And this was where they were supposed to meet up with Lansford Hastings, but there was no sign of a Mr. Hastings to help them along their way. There was a note that was left behind at the Fort. And the note said that Hastings had already left with another group and that any travelers who showed up afterwards should hurry along the trail to catch up with them. That's kind, You know, it's fine. The leader of Fort Bridger assured the Donner party that the Hastings cut off was a really good, safe route. 

00:44:58

The group was satisfied and they rested at the Fort for a few days, making repairs to their wagons and getting ready for the rest of their journey. The rest of this journey was supposed to only last seven weeks and they would be in California. The Donner party left Fort Bridger on July 31st. And this is when they were joined by the McCutchin family, The McCutcheon family. Yes. Even though the group had fractured at one point the group now equaled 74, We went from 87 to an unknown amount to then 74. 

00:45:43

And there were 20 wagons at this point. Do we still have the double, double Decker with us? Yes. Okay. Cause that was the Reed family. So they're still with us at this Point. Okay. And according to travel standards at this time, They were Allegedly making good progress at 10 to 12 miles a day. Oh A day today. That's Just, wow. Some, some people travel farther than that. Just to go to, I know I was thinking how far away is the office? 

00:46:28

I mean, my mine is a little bit farther than that, but you know, after this week they reached the Weber river after going through the echo canyon. And they found a note from Hastings telling them that they should not travel down the Weber Kenyan because it was impossible to pass and that they should take another trail through the salt basin. Instead, the party decided to camp for the night while James Reed, along with two other men, took their horses ahead of the group and tried to catch up with Hastings. They actually did find Hastings on the south shore of the great salt lake and Hastings went partially back with Reed to point out the new route, which he said would take them about a week to travel. 

00:47:16

Oh, good grief. It is just, Yeah. I mean, what the heck, dude, we trusted you. We, we did what, what you told us to do and now we gotta take like backtrack week. Yeah. And so we're essentially adding two weeks early. Meanwhile, the graves family caught up with the Donner party and now the group totaled numbers have changed in many different sources, 86 to 89 people. Again with 23 wagons, everyone took a vote and decided to try the new trail instead of going back to Fort Bridger and taking the safer path. 

00:48:04

I'd like to know who voted on that. I know on August 11th, the group began onto the path that Hastings instructed them to go on. Instead of 10 to 12 miles per day, the group was lucky to travel to It took six days for them to simply travel eight miles. Oh no. So they were not even making two miles a day along the way they abandoned some of the wagons. And before long, everyone began to blame Lansford Hastings for all of them as fortune you think, but it wasn't long until they also started blaming James Reed, August 25th, the group lost another member, Luke Corrine who died of tuberculosis near Grantsville, Utah. 

00:48:58

This was also at the same time that supplies were running low. And they also knew that they were not going to reach their destination in the amount of time that they expected, which also meant they were going to run out of supplies before they got there, which is just a sad realization. Oh Yeah. I mean, yeah. In the 21 days, since they reached the Weber river, they had only gone 36 miles in 21 day. Wow. Five days later, the group had started to cross the great salt lake desert and it was supposed to only take two days. 

00:49:44

But what they didn't know was that the desert sand was wet and the, and the wagons were getting Caught In it. And all of the sand of course, was slowing the process down even further. You know, this is probably why they tricked us into thinking that quicksand was a thing, Right. I'm just saying all the shop that was going to be a bigger issue As a kid, I'm saying it's because of this. I mean, I stay inside way too much. The water supply was almost gone and some of Reed's oxen had ran away, which to be honest, can't them. 

00:50:29

When they finally reached the end of the desert, five days later, instead of two, they arrested at the base of pilot peak for several days on the 80 mile journey through the salt lake desert, they lost 32 oxen, four wagons while they rested, they took stock of the food that they had left. And it turned out to be less than adequate for the 600 mile journey. Still ahead of them. On September 26, they reached the Humboldt river and noticed that snow had started to cover the mountain peaks that night. 

00:51:11

Two of the bachelors traveling with the party named William McCutcheon, one of the McCutcheons and Charles Stanton traveled ahead to Sutter's Fort in California to try and gather some supplies and bring them back for the rest of the group from September 10th to the 25th. So 15 days the party traveled the trail towards Nevada and around the Ruby mountains. And they finally, yes. Is that what they did? Yes. And this was right around when they reached the Humboldt river that this all happened. This was supposedly the area that would meet up with Hastings original path. 

00:51:53

However, all of this travel had taken them 125 miles out of the way to get there. Gosh, the anger and Discontentment and the party against Hastings and read increased dramatically. After two weeks of traveling along the Humboldt river at the Donner party, then soon reached the California trail, which is around seven miles west of what is today known as Elko, Nevada, feelings of anger were still brewing beneath the surface. These feelings came to fruition on October 5th when one of the Teamsters began whipping some of the oxen, the owner of the oxen, John cider got into a fight with the Teamsters, insisting that he stopped. 

00:52:42

The whipping continued and James Reed stepped in and ordered him to stop as well. He didn't. And then Reed stopped using his words and instead grabbed his knife, stabbing him in the stomach and killing him almost instantly. This did not sit well with the Donner party and they wasted no time deciding to banish James Reed from the group. However, only James was banished. His family was still allowed to continue with the Donner party. 

00:53:25

The last time James Reed was seen riding off towards the west with a man named Walter Aaron, the group continued traveling with their animals, exhausted. Everyone was kind of just forced to walk if you could. So they were like, we're not, you can't sit on the wagon anymore. You gotta walk. Like the animals are too exhausted. We gotta get, we gotta get there. We got to take off as much weight of them as we can. So if you can walk, you gotta walk period. Like this was not for me. No, no, no, no, no. It was a no, just two days. The princess, just two days after the murder one man, with the last name of hard coop who had been traveling with them hard coop. 

00:54:14

Yes. He had been traveling with them and he could not keep up with the rest of the party due to his severely swollen feet. I'm thinking gal possibly based on what I read about it. That's what I'm kind of leaning towards. As far as that goes, he began to knock on wagon doors, but no one would let him in the last time he was seen, he was under a large Sage brush, unable to walk tired and he was left there to die. Blessed. That's so sad. The misfortune kept coming on October 12th when the oxen were attacked by local native Americans, the poison tipped arrows took out 21 of the cattle. 

00:55:00

Oh my goodness. Just four days later, they reached the gateway to the Sierra Nevadas and they were almost completely out of food. Just a few days later. One of the men, Charles Stanton, who had gone ahead to California with seven mules, he had cut. He had, he was one of the two that went ahead to California to try and go get some supplies and then come back. So he came back with seven mules and they were weighed down with beef and flour With him also came native American guides and news have a more clear path through the Sierra Nevadas however, while the path was more clear, it was also more difficult to travel. 

00:55:50

Stanton's travel partner, William McCutcheon, who had originally gone with him to California, had gotten ill along the way and stayed at the Fort. Once they had arrived. I don't blame him for that. I don't either the group camped for five days, just 50 miles from the summit. And they let the cattle rest for the last push to what the final frontier was. While the slight travel delay was a nice rest for the group. It was yet another decision that would lead to their, it was on October 28th and James Reed, who was the one who was like ousted from the group reached Sutter's Fort, where he now met the recovered William McCutcheon. 

00:56:38

The two started preparing for the journey back to get their families. Cause remember the McCutcheon family joined. So I'm thinking William McCutcheon was one of the sons of the McCutcheon family. Cause they said he was a bachelor. So that's what I'm thinking. That makes, there were a lot of things I kind of just had to like pull from context clues. But that makes sense Just cause there's so many sources with so much information. None of it is the same across all sources. It's like there's bits and pieces here and there. It would take forever to like, Well it makes sense for, you know, a large family and you know, Hey dad I'll go. Yeah, exactly. 

00:57:19

Yes. So after the group was well rested, they continued along the trail and it wasn't long until George doners wagon axle broke and he ended up falling behind the rest of the group. 22 people consisted the entire donor family. Cause remember there were two brothers, Right? And then all the past and then All the people. So just the Donner family alone was 22 people. That's a lot of people. That's a lot of people, A lot of people. So they stayed behind and the rest of the group carried on ahead in another series of unfortunate events as if there are not enough as George Doner was cutting down a tree to make a new axle for the wagon, the chisel, Oh dear, This Is not sounding good. 

00:58:12

I'm afraid. Cut his hand open, causing them to fall further behind The rest of the group that had gone ahead was traveling along the lake, just a little foreshadowing. This lake is now known as Donner lake And it began to snow. The group had tried to travel ahead and made it as far as they could, but ended up on a steep incline, not able to go any further. They retrace their steps backwards and found that an additional five feet of new snow had already fallen. They tried to pass several times in an attempt to get through the heavy snow and eventually had to go to the east end of the lake. 

00:58:58

Once there, they were finally on level ground and they were in the middle of the woods, which would provide adequate resources to help keep themselves warm. There was one abandoned existing cabin there when they arrived and they ended up building two more cabins as very quick to build cabins. They just said it like it was no big deal. They built two more cabins. It's fine. I mean, Wow. For two years after all, they had 59 people at this point that they had to shelter. The only thing that they could do now was wait for the snow to melt so that they could continue. The doners had still not caught up. And they were about six miles behind the group. 

00:59:38

They built tree shelters from quilts they had. Yeah. So they had the build. Not only did they build like these cabins within the Donner party had to build their own shelters to try and figure out how they cause they didn't have any cabins. They didn't have any room to build those. So they started building different shelters for themselves along the way from quilts, tents, Buffalo robes, branches brush, and pretty much anything else that they could get their hands on ahead on the lake. The group tried twice more to get through the pass, but they were not able to, with the harsh conditions, they went back realizing that they were going to be stuck for the winter. 

01:00:21

And several more small cabins were built, which all had to be shared by more than one family. On November 20th, Patrick Breen who had joined the group in independence, began keeping a diary that he continued until March 1st. His account of the winter of 1846 to 47 is the only contemporary written record of the Donner parties ordeal. During this time James Reed and William McCutcheon were still trying to get back to their families and it made their way back up into the mountains trying to rescue them. But two days after they started out, it began to rain. 

01:01:05

And as they made it farther up the mountain, as it does, the rain turned to snow and just 12 miles from the summit, they couldn't go any farther. They returned to Sutter's Fort in the hopes that they could given other men to come with them, with supplies to try and rescue the group. But unfortunately the Mexican war had just started, which drew the rest of the men away from the Fort and any further attempts to try and rescue their families had to wait because they didn't know how many oxen had been lost. The men thought that there would be adequate supplies and meat to last them several months. 

01:01:48

And while they were worried at this point, they were not overly concerned because I mean, think about it by this time they've lost over 30 ox. So like, yes. That's plenty like that. Sure. Yeah. That's fine. That's yeah, but they didn't know they were gone. Like they, they were like, they should be fine. We're not super worried. Yeah, they're wrong. Obviously it was November 29th, Thanksgiving and the group at Donner lake killed the last oxen for food. Any hopes of leaving over the next few days were quickly diminished. 

01:02:28

As snow just kept falling. Several of the other animals that they had brought along their way had run away from the camp or they were simply lost underneath the snow. And after just a few days, the remaining cattle they had with them. So not the oxen, but just the remaining cattle had to be used for food. At this point, the group had begun eating, boiled hides, bone marrow, bone marrow, actually not bad. Yeah. My boyfriend made a little Khristine was anyways, you can't talk about it. It was too good. Michael likes marrow too. Based on what we're about to discuss, can't talk about it. 

01:03:10

They also ate twigs and tree bark. They trapped some field mice that they could Sorry, guys. I put in a trigger warning here, Just animals. They also had to resort to any other animals. They brought with them. Oh dear. Such as pets. No, I wasn't going to go into how many or what kind. Thank you. Several of the men in the group tried to go out to hunt larger game. But with the severe weather, there was no success on December 15th, Baylis Williams died of starvation and the group realized that they would all soon suffer the same fate if something didn't change. 

01:04:07

So the next day nine men, no, Nope. Nine women. This is this one's interesting. Nine women, five men and one child. Why the one child, I don't know, started on foot in snow shoes for the summit of the mountains. They just decided, screw this. We're going to work the a hundred miles to Sutter's Fort. Like we got walk. We got, we don't have a choice. Yeah. We got to go. We got to do something. Which I mean, to be honest, I would probably be one of those people is like, I can't sit here anymore. 

01:04:48

I gotta go. Like I can not just gonna let it happen. I gotta get at least the awesome thing. I mean, things didn't work out well, but we'll see. On the sixth day of this group's travel, they ran out of the food that they had brought with them. And for the next three days after that, no one ate while they traveled through the freezing weather, snow and Gale force winds. One member of the group, Charles Stanton was exhausted blinded by the snow. And he was unable to keep up with the rest of the group. So he told them to go on ahead of them. He was never found several days later, the group was caught in a blizzard and due to the winds, they were not able to keep a fire lit Antonio, Patrick Dolan, Franklin graves. 

01:05:42

And I think it's Lemuel. It's L E M U E L. It's a boy's name. Yeah. So yes, Lynn mule Murphy died soon after this is where it starts guys. Just warning you and in inactive desperation, the others in the group finally resorted to cannibalism. Hmm. Yeah. In one diary account, a young woman named Sarah Murphy, foster guys, this is bad. I'm sorry. There were very few quotes to try and put into this story. 

01:06:22

This was one of them, but I will tell you, it was one of the more tame quotes that I found and that's saying something. So yeah, Sarah Murphy, foster hadn't even started mourning her brother Len mule. When she realized that other travelers were eating his heart, Patrick Breen wrote in his diary, quote, Ms. Murphy said here yesterday that she thought she would commence on Milt and eat him. I don't say that she has done so yet it is so distressing and Milt was another young man in the group who had also died. 

01:07:11

And Sarah was like, she was super resistant to any of it and didn't want to do it. And she was the one that saw her. Like her brother was a little mule. And so she told him, she was like, I might do it. Like I, I might do it, but I, but I can't like she, she was having a really hard time with it. Understandably well, hunkered does things to people, right. And I will say, I will say this and we'll get to it in a bit. There is one silver lining to this and we'll, we'll get to it. But I would be concerned if you didn't have a little bit of a struggle. 

01:07:56

Yeah. I Think it would be concern if you didn't Have Some resistance to the thought of eating humanity. A lot of people did from what I gathered from everything I read, we'll get more into it once we kind of through this. Cause there there's some other insights that are kind of throughout of the 15 people in the group that decided to walk only seven remained and only two of the men survived and five women. 

01:08:49

So in saying that my assumption is from the way that it is phrased, that the eighth might have been the one child that went with them because it's not mentioned the other one that died. I'm thinking it's the one child that also died along the way. So yeah, I did find one. Interesting. We'll say that story from the group, this group was called quote for Lauren hope. There were a few different names for groups. 

01:09:30

We'll see that going through this, in this group, two native Americans by the names of Salvador and Louise were traveling with them like Luis, like Louis, Luis. They had joined the group shortly before they were trapped in the blizzard in the Sierra Nevadas. And they had set out with the group, traveling on foot to try and rescue the others that were traveling on foot. No deer blossom. I mean their heart was in the right place, I guess for long. But after that joke, but after the first several days, the group found nothing, they were also starving. 

01:10:16

And one man in the group warned Luis and Salvador that the others might kill and eat them. Smartly. The two men ran the hungry travelers quickly followed their trail in the snow and found them collapsed in exhaustion almost immediately. They killed and ate them. These, I told you, there was kind of a silver lining kind of, not really, but kind of one garbage that they killed the only native Americans in the group, whatever. I mean, we've discussed it to help to help them. 

01:10:57

So came there to help them in the first place and then ended up trapped there. But that's yeah. These were the only casualties in the Donner party that were After they were murdered. Oh yeah. Anyone else in the group that ended up becoming a victim of cannibalization was already dead when the decision was made. So I think that's also a common misconception is that they were just like killing each other for food. Right. But it wasn't, these people had already died. 

01:11:38

And these two native Americans were the only two that were murdered, you know, garbage, but the murders of Salvador and Luis came to be known as the four Lorne hope murders while this tragic event did occur. The four Loren hope party did succeed. And after a month of traveling, they stumbled onto a ranch in California and they alerted everyone of what was going on Wolves. Yeah. Wolf's cause what could I going to get worse. Why, Why not? Why not? Wolves Wolves started sniffing around the areas where the remains of the dead were left in the snow. 

01:12:23

Another woman wrote in her diary, quote, perhaps God sent the wolves to show miss Merz, Ms. Murphy, and also Ms. Graves, where to get sustenance for their dependent little ones. Was it culpable or culpable? I can't speak apparently. Was it culpable or cannibalistic to seek and use the only life saving means to them? It didn't take long before people were dispatched to neighboring towns and residents gathered to try and save the rest of the Donner party. But by this point it was February 5th. Ooh. And the first relief party left Johnson's ranch. 

01:13:04

This was the ranch. They ended up stumbling upon. Yeah, The second group, which was led by James Reed, because he was still trying to get back. I mean, trying to find his family. He left two days later by February 19th, the first party reached the lake and thought that they had stumbled upon a deserted camp until they saw a woman appear. Many of them believed that the gaunt and pale woman was just a figment of their imagination. And she wasn't real. She was so skinny. 

01:13:44

Yes. Oh no. 12 of the group who stayed at the lake were dead and of the 48 left, Many had gone mad or were barely alive themselves. Ah, I can imagine. But even though rescuers came to save them, this did not mean that everyone would be able to be saved because not everyone could be taken at because packing animals couldn't be brought in with them due to the weather conditions. They did bring some foods, some food and some different supplies, but not many. They didn't realize how bad it really had gotten. 

01:14:29

Let's see. Yeah. Just, I mean, who would imagine? Yeah, The first relief party left with 23 travelers, but during their travel back to Sutter's Fort two of the children died When the first relief party was on their way down the mountain, they were met by the second relief party coming the opposite way. And here's a good silver lining at last. James Reed was finally reunited with his family after five months. Wow. Yes. So they were reunited. Well, that's happy. Yes. By March 1st, second relief party finally arrived at the Lakeside where they found more evidence of cannibalism. 

01:15:17

The next day, they arrived at fine that the Donner party themselves, cause keep in mind the group by the lake and the actual Doner party or two different groups at this point, right. Doners are by themselves. They're all related. Keep that in mind. So you technically have two groups, you have the lake group and the Donner party, two things, you know, just making sure that is clear. When they arrived to find the Donner party, they learned that they had also resorted to cannibalism. 

01:16:00

No, The second relief party left with 17 of the starved travelers, but only two days later, they were caught in another blizzard. When it finally cleared, Isaac Doner had died in most of the group or too weak to travel. James Reed and HIRA Miller took three of the refugees with them to try and find food that they had stored on the way up. So they were very smart and left food on the mountain on their way up because we can't carry all the food in because we can't take pack animals with us. So on our way up, we're going to try and store food along the way because we can't take it all with us over the mountain. 

01:16:43

Yeah. Pretty smart. Yeah. I mean, it's snowing reasonably. It's going to stay logic. It's going to keep whatever, Unless the animals get into it. Exactly. Try not to let that happen. I liked that. Yes. Done this before we've been here. Yes. Well the rest who stayed behind would be known as the starved camp. The third party came on March 12th led by William Eddy and William Foster. They reached the carved camp where Ms. Graves and her son Franklin had also docked the three bodies, including the body of Isaac Doner had been cannibalized as well. 

01:17:31

They made their way back to the Donner party to find George Doner dying from an infection in the hand that he had injured months earlier trying to fix the accident. I wondered if that was going to come into play <inaudible> it's noted. She was actually still in really good health. So how, I don't know. I don't know she was the cook. I don't know what was going on. And I like hate to say that, like I'm not trying to like be ghoulish or like poke fun at, at this cause like it is very tragic, but I don't know why it was pointed out so many times, like in multiple sources that she was in good health. 

01:18:13

It was just interesting that it was very Hardy. It was almost as if there was some underlying something that was not being said. So anyways, but Tamsin refused to leave her husband. She sent her three young girls with the relief party, but without her, the relief party soon left with four more members and anyone who was too weak to make the journey was left behind. There were two rescuers who stayed behind to help those who were too weak to travel. They were named Jean-Baptiste Trudeau and Nicholas Clark, but they ended up abandoning them soon after to catch joke with the relief party because they were like, dude, we don't like what's going on here. 

01:19:01

We got to go. We don't want to be filleted. Yep. We, well, it's not yet. So there was some things about Jean-Baptiste Trudeau that I was not going to go into. Did he? He was probably a less than savory character to say that. Okay. Okay. Yeah. I think he kind of realized like I'm turning into something because one story that I read about him and I'll just leave it at. This said that Nicholas Clark, who was the other traveler who stayed behind to like help saw John pap do use Trudeau, walking out from behind one of the cabins and you know how you like pick your hand up to wave at somebody you're like, Hey bud, well, Jean-Baptiste went to do that, but he had a leg in his hand. 

01:20:05

So sometime after that they left. I don't, I don't, I don't know. Hmm. Yeah. Very weird. There were a lot of interesting, weird stories as members of the party were arriving back to civilization stories were surfacing of everything that occurred there. One man described seeing quote, a revolting and appalling spectacle, which included quote, guys, I am sorry. You, you knew what the episode was about. That's all I'm saying. You've been with us this far, which included quote, human skeletons and every variety of mutilation. 

01:20:46

Hm. Another traveler claims to have seen guys. I'm so sorry. I'm so sorry. Okay. We're going to get through this and do it like a band-aid it's going to rip it off. Another traveler claims to have seen children quote, sitting upon a log with their faces, stained with blood devouring, the half roasted liver and heart of their father. And we're just going to move on. Yep. Well the fourth and final rescue party left in late March, but ended up being stranded in a snow storm for several days. It was April 17th. When the relief party finally reached the camps only to find Louis Kestenberg alive. 

01:21:34

The only thing around him to keep him company were the mutilated corpses of the rest who were also left behind. Oh no. The infamous stories of this survivor are chilling to say the least other members of the Donner party. Remember the German immigrant as short-tempered and often hateful to his young pregnant wife, rescuers in the final relief team claimed to have found him over a cauldron of human flesh. Oh allegedly. They offered him food, but he turned it down and said he had come true. 

01:22:13

Prefer eating people. This is all alleged Ella legend. And I put wild, very ghoulish. It's not really known whether this fact is completely true. Regardless. Louis Casper was injured. When the rescuers came back to get them. He had been left at the camp for weeks before the rescuers came back. But he was laughed. They were well people with him, but alive. 

01:22:53

Keep in mind. They also said that everybody yelled, no one was, everyone had died before anything like that happened. So I don't know. Keep in mind they kept leaving the people who were too weak to travel behind. So I just wanted to, yeah. Yes. This is sad. Sorry guys. This is anyways, but this is sad. So while I was saying like, yes, there's, there's some pretty bad stories about Louis Casper. Yes. He was a problematic person and character. This is still sad. Nonetheless. I will say that he had sent his daughter ahead of him with a previous rescue party, but he was unaware that his daughter did not make it back and that she had died along the path as the group was on their way back with Casper, he sat down to rest. 

01:23:49

As we said, he was injured. Remember he noticed a piece of cloth sticking up from the snow. Oh no. And pulled it out only to find that what he assumed was his own daughter's body. Oh no. He didn't know she was dead. They didn't know because there's so many people they didn't know who went with, who went with him. Yeah. So Casper was the last remaining member of the Donner party to arrive at Sutter's Fort on April 29th. Wow. After two months and for relief parties, the surviving members of what is now known collectively as the Donner party were finally reunited in total 41 died on the trip. 

01:24:43

And 46 survived. Only five had died before reaching the mountains. One died after reaching the valley after being rescued and the other 35 35 either died at the camp or trying to cross over the mountain. So these were also the same people who died as they were being rescued. So 35 total, Those who did survive, however did not go unscathed. Obviously I may mentally and several lost toes due to frost bite to this day, the accounts of the Donner party, very wildly many survivors who told their story in the beginning, ended up contradicting their stories later and several even retracted what they had originally said. 

01:25:31

And as I said, one of the younger girls in the party refuses to even refuse. I'm not sure if she's, I'm pretty sure anyways, I know what time this was. I know she wouldn't be allowed out. I'm saying in her, even in her later years, like she still refuse to say any of it happened, even though she was there. She was young. She was very, very young. I want to say she was the young, one of the youngest in the party. I don't blame her one bit. Yes it's it was all a nightmare. Yeah. And I guess that's how you cope, seeing all of that, that young, I guess that's what you did. 

01:26:13

However, the firsthand accounts of rescuers and witnesses, as well as the research opinions of journalists and historians confidently say that as many as 21, people were victims of cannibalism, regardless, the story of the Donner party spread like wildfire across the country. Newspapers started printing letters and diaries of the travelers, any events that happened along the way, several blamed Lansford Hastings for the entire tragedy I do while others laid all of their blame on James Reed for not heating his friends, warning about not taking the route after everything came out, understandably travelers opted to not take Hasting's cutoff Duh, But in January of 1848, gold was discovered. 

01:27:12

And the rush west began once again, by the end of 1849, more than a hundred thousand people had gone to California in search of gold, right near the area where the Donner party had suffered their grisly fate. As I said before, the lake is now known as Donner lake. And it is actually a very popular mountain resort near Truckee, California, and much like locations such as the board. In-house Chernobyl Alcatraz, the Facila Axe murder house and all the rest. 

01:27:55

The location of the Doner camp is a destination for dark tourism, but also holds a title as a national historic landmark. The state of California has justified memorializing the site because the event was quote an isolated and tragic incident of American history that has been transformed into a major folk. Epic. The Donner party is a story where humans turned to cannibalism due to starvation. And there are plenty of cases that this can be found in history. One of these instances includes the Andy's flight disaster in 1972 and the siege of the city of stalling grad during world war II, an instances of extreme stress and desperation as well as starvation cannibalism can often be found even though many don't want to talk about it. 

01:28:54

Well, now you don't wanna talk About it. And that is the Donner party. So Nice. Yeah. I left a lot out glass, so it is rough. So if anybody goes and searches for anything, you will find the links to the websites that I sourced for this on our website, but you're not going. Yeah, you're not going to find anything too gruesome there, but you can go to one nation under crime.com to find any and all Owen, you see information you are looking for. Yes, you should know where to find us on all social media by now and go leave us a five star review on apple podcast, please. 

01:29:43

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01:30:26

Especially if you take a cutoff that your friend clearly told you not to take Pay attention, PayPal, Goodbye.