Casefile Clues

23 November 2012

The Donner Party In the Newspaper--Before It Went South

Did your ancestors respond to a call to travel? Advertisements often lured migrants, including this one published in a local paper by George Donner of Springfield, Illinois. The ad was written in 1846--a year later Donner's name would be associated with the ill-fated Donner Party.

Donner was advertising for men to join him on the trip to California--helping to haul his family and provisions to the west coast.

Date: Thursday, March 26, 1846  


Paper: Illinois Weekly State Journal (Springfield, IL)

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obtained on 

    Genealogybank.com

After the family has started their trip, Mrs. Donner writes back to a friend in Springfield, Illinois. Mrs. Donner's letter to an unnamed friend is printed in it's entirety in the same paper as her husband's advertisement--only parts of it are included in this blog post:

Date: Thursday, July 23, 1846  


Paper: Illinois Weekly State Journal (Springfield, IL)

--

obtained on 

    Genealogybank.com

She continues, talking about some of the others who travel with the Donner party:

Date: Thursday, July 23, 1846  


Paper: Illinois Weekly State Journal (Springfield, IL)--

obtained on 

    Genealogybank.com

She ends the letter...

Date: Thursday, July 23, 1846  


Paper: Illinois Weekly State Journal (Springfield, IL)

--

obtained on 

    Genealogybank.com

Date: Thursday, August 13, 1846  


Paper: Illinois Weekly State Journal (Springfield, IL)

--

obtained on 

    Genealogybank.com

George Donner ends the letter by saying,"Our provisions are in good order and we feel satisfied with our preparations for the trip."

Little did he know.

[note--the book George Donner used as his guide can be viewed or downloaded here http://archive.org/details/emigrantsguideto04hast ]