In the winter of 1846 a group of settlers, now known as the Donner Party, became stranded in the high Sierra Nevadas, unable to move forward or to return from whence they came. Eventually food ran low and they began to die. The situation became so bad that some of the survivors resorted to cannibalism. A dark chapter indeed in our country's history.
At the end of October, 1998 Gerard E. Wynkoop, [email protected], of Beaverton, Oregon mentioned this to me in an E-mail:
"I did hear a story from some Koops in Portland, Or., that a Wynkoop girl had married a survivor of the infamous Donner party--possible family lore?"
Until recently that was all the information I had on the subject, but thanks to Kristin Johnson, [email protected], the mystery has been solved.
Below is a list of possible candidates, men and boys who might have married one of the Wynkoops at a later date. (As it turns out one of the Wynkoops did marry a descendant of one of the male survivors, but the descendant was a female and the Wynkoop was a male, the complete opposite of the family story.) A list of the entire party can be found at:
POSSIBLE CANDIDATES FROM THOSE WHO SURVIVED:
Key to codes:
Hiram Miller (P) 29 Teamster for Reeds - Left group early
On June 30, 1999 I received the following information from Kristin Johnson, who runs the Donner Party Web Page at:
Kristin has been studying their history for many years and is considered one of the authorities on the Donner Party. She sent me the following information in response to some questions that I sent her a while back.
"I was poking around in one of my Donner files looking for something else and discovered the link you were probably looking for:
1. George and Jacob Donner had a brother named John (b. 09 Apr 1790, d. 21 Aug 1879) John married Sarah Lame (b. 19 Feb 1800, d. 24 Feb 1852).
Whew-- I thought that name was familiar.
Kristin, I can't thank you enough for your help in solving this family mystery. I really appreciate it. There's a little kernal of truth in every family story, isn't there.
Gerard, thanks once again for another terrific mystery!
Created April 27, 1999; Revised July 14, 2005
Comments to [email protected]
Copyright © 1999, 2001-2005 by Christopher H. Wynkoop, All Rights Reserved
This site may be freely linked to but not duplicated in any fashion without my written consent.