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By John Carroll Power

These biographies were submitted by a researcher and evidently abstracted from the 1876 History of Sangamon County, IL. Errors could occur, so one should always verify the correctness by obtaining copies of vitals and performing all necessary research to document what is contained herein.

DONNER, GEORGE, was born about 1786, in Rowan county, N. C., came with his parents to Jessamine county, Ky., and from there to Decatur county, Ind. He was there married and had five children. Mrs. Donner died there, and Mr. D., with his family, came to Sangamon county, Ill., in the autumn of 1828, settling about three miles northeast of Springfield. George Donner was married in Sangamon county to Mary Blue. They had two living children, and Mrs. Mary Donner died in Sangamon county. Mr. Donner's five eldest children married in the latter county and in 1838 he took his two children by the second marriage and, in company with his son William and family, and his brother Jacob and family moved to Texas. They raised one crop fifty miles south of Houston. Not liking the country, they all returned in 1839, and George Donner moved on the farm he left. About two years afterward he married Mrs. Tamsen Dozier, whose maiden name was Eustace. They had three children (all girls) born in Sangamon county. Of the five children of George Donner by his first marriage -

MARY, born in Indiana, was married in Sangamon county, Ill., to George Weaver. They had four children and Mr. Weaver died, and she married Adam Harmon. They had two children and Mr. H. died at Island Grove. The family live near Libertyville, Iowa.

WILLIAM, born May 3, 1812, in Decatur county, Ind., was married March 1832, in Sangamon county, Ill., to Elizabeth Hunter, who was born May 1, 1819 in Gallatin county, Ky., and came to Sangamon county in the autumn of 1830. They had two children, and in 1838 moved to Texas with his father, where one child was born. He returned to Sangamon county in 1839, where two children were added to the family. Of their five children: JAMES W., born Jan. 7, 1834 in Sangamon county was married April 20, 1857 to Elizabeth Snodgrass, who was born Feb. 6 1837, in Harrison county, Indiana. They have six living children: George A., Charles F., Nettie J., Irving, Albert F. and Dora E., and live in Clear Lake township, one mile south of Riverton. James W. Donner enlisted August 8, 1862, in Co. H, 114th Ill. Inf., for three years. He was severely wounded by a musket ball, through the hip joint, at the battle of Guntown, Miss., June 10, 1864, was captured and taken to Mobile. After one month, sent to Cahawba, remained three months, thence to Macon, Georgia and from there to the prison pens at Andersonville. As the close of the rebellion approached, all the prisoners who could travel on foot were removed, leaving about one hundred there. The prison was surrounded by artillery, bearing on the stockade. The rebel guards, in order to escape capture, cut down the wheels of the artillery, and fled before the Union forces. J. W. Donner, with others in like situation, was sent by Capt. Wirz to Thomasville by railroad, thence to the Union lines at Jacksonville, Florida, which was reached the latter part of April. They were sent by water to Hilton Head and Annapolis, Md. Then by railroad to Chicago and Springfield, reaching home July 10, 1865. He now draws a pension. SARAH E., born Sept. 27, 1836, was married July 27, 1855, to Gilbert Sponsler, who was born Sept. 18, 1833, in Dauphin county, Penn., came with his parents to Sangamon county in 1841, and settled in what is now Woodside township. They have four children: William A., George A., Mary F. and Alice J. and reside in the Donner settlement four miles east of Springfield. GEORGE T., born May 27, 1839 in Texas, enlisted at Springfield, August, 1862, in Co. G, 114th Ill. Inf., for three years, served full time, and was honorably discharged with the regiment at the close of the war. He was married March 1868, to Sarah Scott, east of Springfield. They have three children: William, Nancy M., and Harvy O., and reside near Latham, Logan county, ILL. RACHEL T., born May 7, 1842, was married Jan. 20, 1857 to Felix Carver. See his name. JOSEPH, born Sept, 30, 1845, enlisted one hundred days, served four months, and was honorably discharged. He was married Nov. 22, 1868, to Mary L. Butler, who was born June 5, 1849.They have one child, Linnie B., and reside with his mother, near Springfield, Ill. William Donner, died July 22, 1867, within two miles of where his father settled in 1828. His widow, Mrs. Elizabeth Donner, resides four miles east of Springfield.

ELIZABETH, born in Indiana, was married in Sangamon county, Ill., to Absolom Harmon. They had six or seven children, and reside near Libertyville, Jefferson county, Iowa.

SUSANNAH, born in Indiana, was married in Sangamon county, Ill, to Daniel Blue. They had three children, and moved to Hancock county, Ill.

LYDIA, born in Indiana, was married in Sangamon county, Ill., to John Vancil. They had three or four children, and moved to Hancock county, Ill.

Of the children of George Donner's second marriage --

ELITHA CUMI, born in Sangamon county, Ill., lived through the disaster on the mountains, in 1846 and was married in California to Perry McCoon. He was killed by a runaway horse. His widow was married Dec. 8 1853, to Benjamin W. Wilder. They have six children, and reside at Elk Grove, Sacramento county, California.

LEANNA C., born Dec. 5, 1834, near Springfield, Ill., lived through the disaster on the mountains 1846-47, was married in Sacramento City, Cal., Sept. 26, 1852, to John App. They had four children: REBECCA, born Feb. 9, 1854, resides with her parents. LEONARD F. died in his sixth years, in San Francisco. JOHN Q. and LUCY E. reside with their parents near Jamestown, Tuolumne county, California.

Children of the third marriage -

FRANCES E., born Jul 4, 1840, in Sangamon county, Ill., lived through the disaster on the mountains, was educated at St. Dominic Catholic school, at Benicia, was married Nov. 24, 1858, in California to William R. Wilder. They reside near Point of Timber, Contra Costa county, California.

GEORGIANA, born Dec. 3, 1841, near Springfield, Ill., lived through the disaster on the mountains, was educated at Benecia Catholic school, and married Nov. 4, 1863 to Washington A. Babcock, in California. They have three children: HENRY A., FRANK B., and EDITH M., and reside at Mountain View, Santa Clara county, California.

ELIZA P., born March 8, 1843, near Springfield, Ill, lived through the disaster on the mountains, was educated at St. Dominic Catholic school, at Benicia, Cal., was married in same State, Oct. 10, 1861, to Sherman O. Houghton, who was born April 10, 1828 in New York city. She is his second wife. He served the lst regiment N. Y. Vol. Inf through the Mexican war, was Mayor of San Jose, Cal., in 1855 and 1856, represented California in the 42d and 43d Congress. They have six children: ELIZA P., SHERMAN O., Jun., CLARA H., CHAS. D., FRANCIS F. and STANLE"Y W., all born in California except the last, who was born in Washington, D. C. Hon. S. O. Houghton and family reside in San Jose, Cal. He is a practicing lawyer

George Donner was a good man. It is said by his former neighbors in Sangamon county, that it appeared to be a pleasure for him to do a kind act. For an account of the sad fate of himself and wife, see sketch of the Reed and Donner emigrant party.

For more information on the Reed and Donner party see Nov 19 & 26, 1847 James Reed Diary.

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