Abe Lincoln Doc Survived Donner Party Ordeal

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You might have thought there would be more than a few degrees of separation between President Abraham Lincoln and the infamous Donner Party, the group of pioneers who, legend says, was forced into cannibalism to survive a harsh winter crossing the Sierra Nevadas in the late 1840s. No direct evidence of that has ever been found, but that's neither here nor there for this post.

Because ... surprising new facts released yesterday show that, cannibalism or no, a member of the Donner Party carried documents containing Abraham Lincoln's signature and a short note all the way to California, despite months of starvation, snow and hardship.

The new details about the manuscripts, which had been left untouched for about 40 years in the California State Library, were discovered by a Donner Party historian almost by accident, according to a CNN report.

The document is a "muster roll," a list of volunteers who fought in the 1832 Blackhawk War.

James Reed, one of the Donner Party organizers and Lincoln's former military comrade in the war, likely inherited the document from his military commander and kept it as a part of his personal history, the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum told CNN....

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