The Donner Party of pioneers became stranded by snow in the Sierra Nevada mountains on their way to California. This diary records firsthand the enormous challenges faced by the Donner Party. To fight starvation, some finally resorted to cannibalism of the dead to stay alive.
Patrick Breen, an Irish immigrant, his wife Margaret, and their seven children were part of the Donner Party stranded in the fall of 1845, through the winter of 1847. Patrick Breen kept a personal diary of the events. Amazingly, the entire Breen family survived the tragic ordeal.
Breen's diary is primary source material which documents the challenges the Donner Party families faced. His diary has been printed in a more readable font, but the content, spelling and punctuation has been left unchanged.
Primary source material brings history to life. This diary was written during the darkest days for the Donner Party and humanizes the challenges faced by these pioneers during the Western Expansion.
-Lorrie L. Birchall