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The Donner Party by Daniel Lewis
The Year of 1846

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Welcome!
The Year of 1846
The Story: Part I
Part II: The Journey
Part III: Snowbound
Part IV: Eating of the Dead
Epilogue: Journey's End
General Roster
Names for Research
Route of the Donner Party
Forensics of the Donner Party
Forensics II
The Donner Party and Native Americans
Religion of the Donner Party
Links and Sources
Contact Me

To see my sources for this page, see my Links and Sources page.

In the year 1846, relative few white people lived in the American West. San Francisco was still a small community, originally an Indian Town but later a Spanish mission, and then became an international farming community.

Sacramento was nothing more than a sparsely settled river valley, but the lush region was quickly gaining popularity for its fertile soil, and prosperous grazing-lands for cattle.

The Mormon faith was still being organized. Joseph Smith had recently been assassinated, and Brigham Young was still a year-or two away from establishing his continuation of his forefather's dream. Mormonism and other "New Age" Christian faiths were not tolerated by the Conservative Protestant population. Confused Mormons looked to the bible for what they believed a good lifestyle should be modeled after, and they settled the American West, much like Abraham left Sumeria for Israel.

Germans and others from all over Western Europe flocked to America to join the new class of European Americans, where they could follow their own choices and leave the overpopulated and polluted cities of their homeland.

On the East Coast, the grandsons of former aristocrats made their money the democratic way, and these tycoons were able to follow their dreams and impulses.

In this post-baroque era, technology, culture and changes in economy rapidly advanced, but people were still people.

It was in this strange and evolving world that about 90 emigrants, some all alone in foreign land, others with their whole family clan, traveled across an entire continent, to seek out a new life. Some, such as Lavinah Murphy, a sister of Mormonism, was most likely trying to expand the new religion in a safe land, while others like Charles T. Stanton might have tried to get a businessman's foothold in the west. These people, full of dreams, traveled the American West, seeking a new life. For the most part, these people were hard-working, honest, physically strong, and loving.

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