Historic Sites and Points of Interest in Nevada County

Tamsen and Elizabeth Donner 30 August 2014
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Tamsen and Elizabeth Donner
State Route 89 North of Alder Creek Road
Donner Camp Historical Site

Two commemorative plaques share a stone base near the entrance to Donner Camp Historical Site.

The larger plaque is titled Tamsen and Elizabeth Donner. The smaller plaque is titled Donner Party Camp at Alder Creek Valley.

The Tamsen and Elizabeth Donner plaque reads:

Tamsen and Elizabeth Donner

They gave unselfishly, their fortunes and their lives that their children should survive

Near this site, in the winter of 1846, two pioneer women gave up their lives for their families. Tamsen and Elizabeth Donner feared their many children could not survive the ravages of cold and starvation when the party was caught in an early blizzard. They provided care and comfort to their families and companions throughout the snowbound winter, desperately trying to prevent the death of their loved ones. Both lost their lives. However, most of their children survived to carry their mothers' dreams of new life and new beginnings to the valleys of California. The summit that they never crossed now bears their family name.

An inspiration to all who followed their footsteps across the Sierra Nevada Mountains, we herein honor the memory and the sacrifices of these women. Their struggle to survive, enduring hardships we can barely imagine, remains a legacy of the pioneer spirit. On this the 150th anniversary of their tragic encampment, the Chief Truckee Chapter of E. Clampus Vitus dedicates this monument to their spirit and the preservation of their memory that we not forget the sacrifices they made in opening California to its destiny.

Dedicated September 28, 1996
ECV Chief Truckee Chapter 3691

These markers are near the beginning of the Donner Camp Interpretive Trail.

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