The Donner Party exemplified the difficulties the western pioneers encountered. Out of the 45 survivors, 32 were children. By late 1849 more than 100,000 people had come to California in search of gold near the streams and canyons where the Donner Party had suffered. During the winter of 1846/47, heavy snows trapped twenty-five of these emigrants here in Alder Creek Valley. What Happened To The Youngest Survivors Of The Donner Party. The principle reason for the demise of nearly half of the 81 pioneers in the Donner Party was starvation, not weather. 2. Don Hardesty, an archaeologist and professor emeritus at the University of Nevada, Reno, searched for the site in … A Donner Party member murdered two people for use as food. Donner Memorial State Park is a state park of California, US, preserving the site of the Donner Camp, where members of the ill-fated Donner Party were trapped by weather during the winter of 1846–1847. Donner Party: Starved Camp (2 Photos ) March 16, 2006. During the “Forlorn Hope” expedition, the hiking party included a pair of Indians named Salvador and Luis, both of … A Look at the Donner Party Historic Campsite at Alder Creek, California in the Tahoe National Forest. The starting point for the Donner Party including the Reed family and the Donner family. Caught without shelter or adequate supplies, members of the group resorted to cannibalism to survive. General Stephen W. … The face of this rock formed the north end and the fireplace of the Murphy Cabin. Donner Lake, named for the party, is today a popular mountain resort near Truckee, California and the Donner Camp has been designated as a National Historic Landmark. The approximate location of the Donner Party encampment at Alder Creek has been known since the late nineteenth century, but the precise camp spot had never been pinpointed. The others were stranded at Donner Lake. Of the nearly 90 members who left Illinois, only around 45 made it to California. As many as 21 members had been eaten. What started out as a hopeful journey toward prosperity ended tragically for the eighty-nine member Donner Party. The party was comprised of 32 members including the Reed's 2 servants and 7 teamsters who drove the wagons. The stories of the Donner Party were still fresh on everyone's mindwhen a group of wagons began their journey from Salt Lake City in October of 1849. This map shows the route taken by the Donner Party, a group of pioneers who set out in covered wagons to create a new life in California in 1846. When rescue expeditions finally reached the the Donner Party the next spring, they found evidence of murder and cannibalism. In 1846, a group of 87 ordinary settlers calling themselves the Donner party set off west in order to start a new life in California. The emigrants had failed to protect their livestock from the arrows of Indians in present-day Nevada. 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