Patty Reed’s Doll
This little doll, a replica of the one brought across the prairies and mountains by Patty Reed, symbolizes the dangerous and difﬁ cult journey made by so many pioneers and the innocence of the children who made the trip with their parents. Patty Reed was only 8 years old when her family left Springﬁ eld, Illinois, to head west to California. The Reed family was part of the wagon train known today as the Donner Party. In April 1846, the Donner Party, made up of 33 men, women and children, headed west in search of a better life, to start a business or a farmstead. The families used covered wagons, usually pulled by oxen, to carry their household items, family treasures and food and supplies for the trip. The journey was very dangerous because of the limited amount of basic supplies that could ﬁt in the wagon, the extreme weather in the winter, and diseases epidemic on the trail. The Donner Party did not escape these dangers, and their story would go down in history.