Relics of a Historic Tragedy

Edward Reynolds at the coin cache site

Publication: Overland Journal, Vol. 23, No. 1

Author: Jim McClain

Date of Publication: 2005

PDF File: McClain-2005-Relics-of-a-Historic-Tragedy.pdf


One of the artifacts on display in the museum at Donner Lake State Park is a freshly polished coin, one of a cache carried in the family wagon of Franklin Ward Graves and his soon-to-become-widowed wife Elizabeth, who only had several more months to live herself. The Graves family, with nine children, was one of nine families that composed the now legendary and tragedy hounded Donner Party. They were some of the one thousand people of the 1846 overland migration to Oregon and California that would eventually involve from 350,000 to perhaps a half-million men, women, and children.