The Donner Party by Daniel Lewis


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

NOTE: This web-site is the result of my own research and personal delving into the story of the Donner Party.


The Donner Party was a group of roughly 90 emigrants in 1846, among the first Americans to settle in California, since the Gold Rush wouldn't occur until 1849. The group was mostly children, with their parents as well as young bachelors who wanted to travel to California to seek oppurtunity.
However, the Donner Party couldn't reach California before winter, and ended up trapped in the Sierra Nevada mountains by November 1846. The passes to California were covered in ice, and were exteremly dangerous. Even worse, they had almost no food.

In January 1847, one lone emigrant, skeletal, haggard- half-dead man aprroached the easternmost trail settlement in California, Johnson's ranch. He had walked for miles over the snow, looking for help. For him, for his wife and little children. The man told how his party had been trapped for months, was still trapped, was dying, and had no food.

By the time the man returned to his family he found them dead, frozen in the snow, after being butchered for food. He was not alone in his suffering. During the winter, hunger, greed, hatred and murder had plagued the whole of the Donner Party.

In the history of colonization, no story can compare to the shocking, harrowing and inspiring tale of the Donner Party.

To learn more about the Donner party, explore my site, and see my Links and Sources page.

My web-site is constantly under construction, and I'm sorry for any inconveniences you might encounter.

If you have any relevent questions or comments about the Donner Party, feel welcome to send me electronic mail (e-mail.) You can find my address on the Contact Me page.

Below is a picture of the Lake Camp of the Donner Party just before the winter:

A door; Actual size=180 pixels wide

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What's New- Updates

November 11- Minor updates and edits.

I changed my address! You can now reach this site just by typing, but still works.

I've been bombarded with requests to return the Showmotion slideshow I had on the Donner Party. Unfortunatly, Showmotion no longer is a tripod service, and I will have to find some other media tool to resurrect my slideshow.

I finished the end of the Donner Party story- Epilogue: Journey's End