Objects & Places from The Perilous Journey of the Donner Party

Marian Calabro
This set of Lesson Plans consists of approximately 113 pages of tests, essay questions, lessons, and other teaching materials.
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Springfield, Illinois

This was where the Donner Party embarked from in April 1846. The Donner and Reed families were prominent members of the community.

The Pioneer Palace Car

This was owned by the wealthy Reed family. It had beds and a built-in stove, among other amenities. The Reeds were forced to give this up after a dearth of oxen forced the Donner Party to abandon wagons.

The Emigrants' Guide to Oregon and California

This was written by Lansford Warren Hastings as a means to lure settlers to California (as opposed to Oregon). Hastings advocated a shortcut on the route he had never taken, and otherwise spoke as if he was an experienced frontiersman. James Reed relied on Hastings' advice, with tragic consequences.

Hastings Cutoff

This, advocated by Lansford Warren Hastings, was a southern shortcut around the Great Salt Lake in modern-day Utah. It featured treacherous terrain, including the Great...

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