OUT of the sunshine and shadows of sixty-eight years come these personal recollections of California -- of the period when American civilization first crossed its mountain heights and entered its overland gateways.
I seem to hear the tread of many feet, the lowing of many herds, and know they are the re-echoing sounds of the sturdy pioneer homeseekers. Travel-stained and weary, yet triumphant and happy, most of them reach their various destinations, and their trying experiences and valorous deeds are quietly interwoven with the general history of the State.
Not so, however, the " Donner Party," of which my father was captain. Like fated trains of other epochs whose privations, sufferings, and self-sacrifices have added renown to colonization movements and served as danger signals to later wayfarers, that party began its journey with song of hope, and within the first milestone of the promised land ended it with a prayer for help. "Help for the helpless in the storms of the Sierra Nevada Mountains!"
And I, a child then, scarcely four years of age, was too young to do more than watch and suffer with other