The Perilous Journey of the Donner Party Characters

Marian Calabro
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James Reed

James Reed was forty-five years of age in 1846 when the Donner Party formed. He was a successful merchant who enjoyed success in the furniture-making and mill businesses, and he was known to be a wealthy man. With George and Jacob Donner, he agreed to form a wagon train to travel to California.

Reed fought in the Army with Abraham Lincoln, and Mary Todd Lincoln was there to bid farewell to the Donner Party when they headed West. Like Lincoln, Reed had political aspirations, and he hoped to become the chief negotiator between Native American tribes and the United States for all territory west of the Rocky Mountains. Reed preserved to leave the hard work on the trail to a variety of young bachelors and servants he hired. As such, he acquired a reputation for being somewhat of a snob.

Ever confident, Reed read the "Emigrants' Guide...

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This section contains 1,003 words
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Buy The Perilous Journey of the Donner Party Study Guide
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