Friday, January 13, 2006

Donner Party

I'd overheard some discussion of this topic, which "Glittering Eye" links to: Archaeologists now say there's no evidence of cannibalism at the Donner family campsite. The Donners and other California-bound pioneers got stranded in the Sierra Nevadas during the winter of 1846-47. Of the original 87 pioneers, 41 died and 46 survived, and the story always was that the living ate their dead. It turns out the worst they may have done was eaten the family dog.

Some in the same wagon train (which was dispersed across the mountains before it was snowed in) certainly did resort to cannibalism, but perhaps not the Donners. Which spoils one of the ways I used to amuse myself when I was young and obnoxious: Make dinner reservations for more than were with us, under the name "Donner." Then the maître d'hôtel announces to the room, "Donner, party of five!" and only three people get up. Yeah, you had to be there.