The Expedition of the Donner Party and Its Tragic Fate

By Eliza P. Donner Houghton | Go to book overview

CHAPTER XXXVI
NEWS OF THE BRUNNERS -- LETTERS FROM GRANDPA.

MORE than two years had elapsed since we had heard directly from Sonoma, when, on the day before Thanksgiving, 1860, Judge Robert Robinson and wife, of Sacramento, came to the ranch, and he, in his pleasing way, announced that he and Mrs. Robinson had a little story to tell, and a message to deliver, which would explain why they had arrived unexpectedly to spend the national holiday with us. Then seating himself, he bowed to his wife, and listened in corroborative silence while she related the following incident:

"Last Summer when the Judge went on his circuit, he took the carriage, and I accompanied him on his travels. One day we stopped for dinner at the stage station between Sonoma and Santa Rosa. After we had registered, the proprietor approached us, saying: 'I see you are from Sacramento, and wonder if you know anything about a couple of young girls by the name of Downie, who spent some time there in the public school?' He seemed disappointed when we replied, 'We know Donners, but not Downies.' 'Well,' he continued, 'they are strangers to me; but I am interested in them on account of their former connection

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