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VIRGINIA E. B. REED: LETTER II

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VIRGINIA E. B. REED: LETTER II
Napa Vallie
California
May 16th 1847
My Dear Cousan
I take this oppertunity to write to you to let you now that we are all Well at presant and hope this letter may find you all well to My dear Cousan I am a going to Write to you about our trubels geting to Callifornia; We had good luck til we come to big Sandy thare we lost our best yoak of oxons we come to Brigers Fort & we lost another ox we sold some of our provisions & baut a yoak of Cows & oxen & they pursuaded us to take Hastings cut of over the salt plain thay said it saved 3 Hondred miles, we went that road & we had to go through a long drive of 40 miles With out water or grass Hastings said it was 40 but i think it was 80 miles We traveld a day and night & a nother day and at noon pa went on to see if he coud find Water, he had not bin gone long till some of the oxen give out and we had to leve the Wagons and take the oxen on to water one of the men staid with us and others went on with the cattel to water pa was a coming back to us with Water and met the men & thay was about 10 miles from water pa said thay git to water that night, and the next day to bring the cattel back for the wagons any [and] bring some Water pa got to us about noon the man that was with us took the horse and went on to water We wated thare thought Thay would come we wated till night and We thought we start and walk to Mr doners wagons that night we took what little water we had and some bread and started pa caried Thomos and all the rest of us walk we got to Donner and thay were all a sleep so we laid down on the ground we spred one shawl down we laid doun on it and spred another over us and then put the dogs on top it was the couldes night you most ever saw the wind blew and if it haden bin for the dogs we would have Frosen as soon as it was day we went to Miss Donners she said we could not walk to the Water and if we staid we could ride in thare wagons to the spring so pa went on to the water to see why thay did not bring the cattel when he got thare thare was but one ox and cow thare none of the rest had got to water Mr Donner come out that night with his cattel and braught his Wagons and all of us in we staid thare a week and Hunted for our cattel and could not find them so some of the companie took thare oxons and went out and brout in one wagon and cashed the other tow and a grate manie things all but what we could put in one Wagon we had to divied our propessions out to them to get them to carie them We got three yoak with our oxe & cow so we [went] on that way a while and we got out of provisions and pa had to go on to callifornia for provisions we could not get along that way, in 2 or 3 days after pa left we had to cash our wagon and take Mr. graves wagon and cash some more of our things well we went on that way a while and then we had to get Mr Eddies Wagon we went on that way awhile and then we had to cash all our our close except a change or 2 and put them in Mr Brins Wagon and Thomos & James rode the two horses and the rest of us had to walk, we went on that way a Whild and we come to a nother long drive of 40 miles and then we went with Mr Donner
We had to Walk all the time we was a travling up the truckee river we met that and 2 Indians that we had sent out for propessions to Suter Fort thay had met pa, not fur from Suters Fort he looked very bad he had not ate but 3 times in 7 days and thes days with out any thing his horse was not abel to carrie him thay give him a horse and he went on so we cashed some more of our things all but what we could pack on one mule and we started Martha and James road behind the two Indians it was a raing then in the Vallies and snowing on the montains so we went on that way 3 or 4 days tell we come to the big mountain or the Callifornia Mountain the snow then was about 3 feet deep thare was some wagons thare thay said thay had atempted to cross and could not, well we thought we would try it so we started and thav started again with thare wagons the snow was then way to the muels side the farther we went up the deeper the snow got so the wagons could not go so thay packed thare oxons and started with us carring a child a piece and driving the oxons in snow up to thare wast the mule Martha and the Indian was on was the best one so thay went and broak the road and that indian was the Pilot so we went on that way 2 miles and the mules kept faling down in the snow head formost and the Indian said he could not find the road we stoped and let the Indian and man go on to hunt the road thay went on and found the road to the top of the mountain and come back and said they thought we could git over if it did not snow any more well the Woman were all so tirder caring there Children that thay could not go over that night so we made a fire and got something to eat & ma spred down a bufalorobe & we all laid down on it & spred somthing over us & ma sit up by the fire & it snowed one foot on top of the bed so we got up in the morning & the snow was so deep we could not go over & we had to go back to the cabin & build more cabins & stay thare all Winter without Pa we had not the first thing to eat Ma maid arrangements for some cattel giving 2 for 1 in callifornia we seldom thot of bread for we had not had any since [blot, words not readable] & the cattel was so poor thay could note hadley git up when thay laid down we stoped thare the 4th of November & staid till March and what we had to eat i cant hardley tell you & we had that man & Indians to feed well thay started over a foot and had to come back so thay made snow shoes and started again & it come on a storme & thay had to come back it would snow 10 days before it would stop thay wated tell it stoped & started again I was a goeing with them & I took sick & could not go - thare was 15 started & thare was 7 got throw 5 Weman & 2 men it come a storme and thay lost the road & got out of provisions & the ones that got throwe had to eat them that Died not long after thay started we got out of provisions & had to put Martha at one cabin James at another Thomas at another & Ma & Elizea & Milt Eliot & I dried up what littel meat we had and started to see if we could get across & had to leve the childrin o Mary you may think that hard to leve theme with strangers & did not now wether we would see them again or not we could hardle get a way from them but we told theme we would bring them Bread & then thay was willing to stay we went & was out 5 days in the mountains Elie giv out & had to go back we went on a day longer we had to lay by a day & make snow shows & we went on a while and coud not find the road & we had to turn back I could go on verry well while i thout we wer giting along but as soone as we had to turn back i coud hadley git along but we got to the cabins that night I froze one of my feet verry bad & that same night thare was the worst storme we had that winter & if we had not come back that night we would never got back we had nothing to eat but ox hides o Mary I would cry and wish I had what you all wasted Eliza had to go to Mr Graves cabin & we staid at Mr Breen thay had meat all the time & we had to kill littel cash the dog & eat him we ate his head and feet & hide & evry thing about him o my Dear Cousin you dont now what trubel is yet a many a time we had on the last thing a cooking and did not now wher the next would come from but there was awl wais some way provided there was 15 in the cabon we was in and half of us had to lay a bed all the time thare was 10 starved to death there we was hadley abel to walk we lived on litle cash a week and after Mr Breen would cook his meat we would take the bones and boil them 3 or 4 days at a time ma went down to the other caben and got half a hide carried it in snow up to her wast it snowed and would cover the cabin all over so we could not git out for 2 or 3 days we would have to cut pieces of the loges in sied to make a fire with I coud hardly eat the hides and had not eat anything 3 days Pa stated out to us with providions and then came a storme and he could not go he cash his provision and went back on the other side of the bay to get compana of men and the San Wakien got so hye he could not crose well thay Made up a Compana at Suters Fort and sent out we had not ate any thing for 3 days & we had onely a half a hide and we was out on top of the cabin and we seen them a coming
O my Dear Cousin you dont now how glad i was, we run and met them one of them we knew we had traveled with them on the road thay staid thare 3 days to recruet a little so we couId go thare was 20 started all of us started and went a piece and Martha and Thomas giv out & so the men had to take them back ma and Eliza James & I come on and o Mary that was the hades thing yet to come on and leiv them thar did not now but what thay would starve to Death Martha said well ma if you never see me again do the best you can the men said thay could hadly stand it it maid them all cry but they said it was better for all of us to go on for if we was to go back we would eat that much more from them thay give them a littel meat and flore and took them back and we come on we went over great hye mountain as strait as stair steps in snow up to our knees litle James walk the hole way over all the mountain in snow up to his waist he said every step he took he was a gitting nigher Pa and somthing to eat the Bears took the provision the men had cashed and we had but very little to eat when we had traveld 5 days travel we met Pa with 13 men going to the cabins O Mary you do not nou how glad we was to see him we had not seen him for months we thought we woul never see him again he heard we was coming and he made some seet cakes to give us he said he wouId see .Martha and Thomas the next day he went to tow days what took us 5 days some of the compana was eating from them that Died but Thomas & Martha had not ate any Pa and the men started with 12 people Hiram O Miller Carried Thomas and Pa caried Martha and thay wer caught in [unreadable word] and thay had to stop Two days it stormed so thay could not go and the Bears took their provision and thay weer 4 days without anything Pa and Hiram and all the men started one of Donner boys Pa a carring Martha Hiram caring Thomas and the snow was up to thare wast and it a snowing so thay could hadley see the way they raped the chidlren up and never took them out for 4 days & thay had nothing to eat in all that time Thomas asked for somthing to eat once those that thay brought from the cabins some of them was not able to come and som would not come Thare was 3 died and the rest eat them thay was 10 days without any thing to eat but the Dead Pa braught Thom and pady on to where we was none of the men was abel to go there feet was froze very bad so they was a nother Compana went and braught them all in thay are all in from the Mountains now but five they was men went out after them and was caught in a storm and had to come back thare is another compana gone thare was half got through that was stoped thare sent to their relief thare was but families got that all of them got we was one
O Mary I have not wrote you half of the truble we have had but I hav Wrote you anuf to let you now that you dont now whattruble is but thank the Good god we have all got throw and the onely family that did not eat human flesh we have left every thing but i dont cair for that we have got through but Dont let this letter dishaten anybody and never take no cuof and hury along as fast as you can
My Dear Cousin
We are all very well pleased with Callifornia particularly with the climate let it be ever so hot a day thare is all wais cool nights it is a beautiful Country it is mostley in vallies it aut to be a beautiful Country to pay us for our trubel geting there it is the greatest place for catle and horses you ever saw it would Just suit Charley for he could ride down 3 or 4 horeses a day and he could lern to be Bocarro that one who lases cattel the spanards and Indians are the best riders I ever say thay have a spanish sadel and woden sturups and great big sturups and great big spurs the wheel of them is 5 inches in diameter and thay could not manage the the Callifornia horses witout the spurs, thay wont go atol if they cant hear the spurs rattle they have littel bells to them to make them rattle thay blindfold the horses and then sadel them and git on them and then take the blindfole of and let run and if thay cant sit on thay tie themselves on and let them run as fast as they can and go out to a band of bullluck and throw the reatter on a wild bullluck and but it around the horn of his sadel and he can hold it as long as he wants
a nother Indian throws his reatter on its feet and
throws them and when thay git take the reatter of of them they are very dangerous they will run after you then hook there horses and run after any person thay see thay ride from 80 to 100 miles a day & have some of the spanard have from 6 to 7000 head of horses
and from 15 to 16000 head Cattel we are all verry fleshey Ma waies 10040 pon and still a gaing I weigh 80 tel Henriet if she wants to get Married for to come to Callifornia she can get a spanyard any time that Eliza is a going to marrie a a spanyard by the name of Armeho and Eliza weighs 10070 We have not saw uncle Cadon yet but we have had 2 letters from him he is well and is a coming here as soon as he can Mary take this letter to uncle Gurshon and to all tha i know to all of our neighbors and tell Dochter Meniel and every girl i know and let them read it Mary kiss little Sue and Maryann for me and give my best 1ove to all i know to uncle James and Lida and all the rest of the famila and to uncle Gurshon aunt Percilla and all the Children and to all of our neighbors and to all she knows so no more at present pa is yerbayan [Yerba Buena]
My Dear casons
Virginia Elizabeth B Reed
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