Donner Party Documents Found With Lincoln’s Handwriting

July 21st, 2010 - 10:15 pm ICT by Angela Kaye Mason  

linclon July 21 (THAINDIAN NEWS) An unexpected, yet thrilling discovery has been made by researchers who were looking over documents which were kept in a carpetbag on the Donner Party’s ill-fated trip to California. It seems that among the paperwork that had been safely tucked away for year was a military document with Abraham Lincoln’s own handwriting on it.

According to a statement which was issued by the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum on Monday, James Reed, a member of the Donner Party was said to have carried muster rolls with the former president’s name on them among his families most treasured possessions.

After the discovery of the documents, a team of librarians, historians, and handwriting experts was called in and worked to confirm that the handwriting on one of the papers was indeed Abraham Lincoln’s. The paper is a list of the soldiers who fought along with Lincoln in the 1832 Black Hawk War.

Daniel Stowell, who is the director of the ‘Papers of Abraham Lincoln’ stated, “We often find documents that detail fascinating stories about Abraham Lincoln’s life and times, but it is rare indeed for the document to have such an intriguing history after it was written. That these documents detail part of Lincoln’s military service and that they accompanied the Donner Party to California makes them doubly significant.”

In all of the muster rolls, “Private Abraham Lincoln” is listed as one of the volunteer soldiers. One of the documents has the following written in Abe Lincoln’s own handwriting; “Muster Roll of Captain Jacob M. Earleys Company of Mounted Volunteers Mustered out of the service of the United States By order of Brigadier General Atkinson of the United States army on White Water Rivers of Rock River on the 10th day of July 1832.”

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