The Expedition of the Donner Party and Its Tragic Fate

By Eliza P. Donner Houghton | Go to book overview

CHAPTER XVII
ORPHANS -- KESEBERG AND HIS ACCUSERS -- SENSATIONAL ACCOUNTS OF THE TRAGEDY AT DONNER LAKE -- PROPERTY SOLD AND GUARDIAN APPOINTED -- KINDLY INDIANS -- "GRANDPA" -- MARRIAGE OF ELITHA.

THE report of our affliction spread rapidly, and the well-meaning, tender-hearted women at the Fort came to condole and weep with us, and made their children weep also by urging, "Now, do say something comforting to these poor little girls, who were frozen and starved up in the mountains, and are now orphans in a strange land, without any home or any one to care for them."

Such ordeals were too overwhelming. I would rush off alone among the wild flowers to get away from the torturing sympathy. Even there, I met those who would look at me with great serious eyes, shake their heads, and mournfully say, "You poor little mite, how much better it would be if you had died in the mountains with your dear mother, instead of being left alone to struggle in this wicked world!"

This would but increase my distress, for I did not want to be dead and buried up there under the cold, deep snow, and I knew that mother did not want me to be there either. Had she not sent me away to save

-138-

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