February 19, 1847: The Donner Party
On April 15 [qv], 1846, the families of James F Reed and George and Jacob Donner, 31 people in nine wagons, left Springfield, Illinois, USA. It was the commencement of the Donner Party, the most famous group of American emigrants ever to attempt the cross-country wagon journey to California. Almost ninety wagon train emigrants were unable to cross the Sierra Nevada before winter, and almost one-half starved to death.
However, it was noted that some of the survivors seemed to be remarkably well fed, considering their ordeal. In 2003, near the modern city of Truckee, California by Lake Tahoe, near Alder Creek, archaeologists found a campfire pit and solid evidence that cannibalism took place.
PBS on the Donner Party New Light on the Donner Party
Museum of San Francisco on the Donner Party More