The Expedition of the Donner Party and Its Tragic Fate

By Eliza P. Donner Houghton | Go to book overview

CHAPTER XXV
FEVER PATIENTS FROM THE MINES -- UNMARKED GRAVES -- THE TALES AND TAUNTS THAT WOUNDED MY YOUNG HEART.

A SHORT experience in the mines cured grandpa's "mining fever," but increased his rheumatism. The accounts he brought of sufferings he had witnessed in the camps prepared us for the approaching autumn's work, when many of the happy fellows who had started to the gold-fields in vigorous health and with great expectations returned haggard, sick, and out of luck.

Then was noble work done by the pioneer women. No door was closed against the needy. However small the house might be, its inmates had some comfort to offer the stranger. Many came to grandma, saying they had places to sleep but begging that she would give them food and medicine until they should be able to proceed to San Francisco.

Weary mortals dragged their aching limbs to the benches under her white oak tree, dropped upon them, with blankets still across their shoulders, declaring they could not go another rod. Often, she turned her face aside and murmured, "God help the poor wanderers"; but to them she would say encouragingly,

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