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Monterey's connection with the Donner Party

 
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monterey
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Joined: 27 Nov 2007
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Location: Monterey County, California

PostPosted: Mon Apr 07, 2008 7:28 pm    Post subject: Monterey's connection with the Donner Party Reply with quote

Selim E. Woodworth, lieutenant on board the United States sloop-of-war Warren, stationed at Monterey, in 1846, and who in 1849, upon the adoption of the Constitution, was elected State Senator from Monterey County, was the second son of the poet Samuel Woodworth, the author of "The Old Oaken Bucket."

On his arrival at San Francisco in the fall of 1846, he received news of the lost Donner Party, and volunteered his services to go to the rescue, and was appointed in command of a party. A launch was loaded with provisions, clothing and all the necessaries required. After a tedious trip of eleven days up the Sacramento River, the party arrived at Sutter's Fort, where General Sutter eagerly furnished them with pack animals, Indian servants, and whatever else they lacked.

Their journey from the fort was a hard one. When they reached the scene of the camp of the emigrants they found it inexpressibly sickening and horrifying in its dreadful realism, and was appalling to their stout hearts. Many of the Donner Party had already perished from cold and starvation; many of them were benumbed and stupified; both physically and mentally; some were raving and some idiotically stupid and indifferent to their surroundings. But that band of rescuers determined to save the remaining lives of their pitiful demented fellow-creatures.

With tenderest care and brave words of encouragement they cheered them on their weary tramp, and helped their tottering footsteps over the deep snows and rugged Sierra Mountains, across raging streams and deep gulches, until they succeeded in reaching Sutter's Fort with about seventy of the ill-fated Donner Party.
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