Moses Schallenberger:
At Truckey’s Lake, 1844-45

The Stephens-Townsend-Murphy party, the first to take wagons over the Sierra Nevada, set a standard for all who followed: They lost nobody on their journey to California. In fact, they arrived with two more people than they started with — two children were born on the way.

When they reached what we now call Donner Lake, though, they had a problem. It was late and the passage over the mountains was difficult. They decided to leave six of their eleven wagons at the lake for the winter. And eighteen-year-old Moses Schallenberger stayed with the wagons, alone, in a crude cabin the men of the party built in two days.

What at first seemed to be a simple stay over the winter, in a beautiful setting with plenty of game, changed character as the snow fell. In later life, Schallenberger recalled that winter stay, and his experience of that winter, including his attempts to cook coyote in a way that “could be eaten without revolting my stomach.”

Moses Schallenberger: At Truckey’s Lake, 1844-45 reproduces Schallenberger's recollection of the winter he spent at Donner Lake, by himself, when only eighteen years old.

Moses Schallenberger: At Truckey’s Lake, 1844-45. Charles H. Dodd, ed. 19th Century Publications, 1995. 5½ by 8½ inches. 23 pages. Schallenberger's reminiscence is typeset in script to evoke the feeling of a handwritten manuscript. Picture of cabin (a later painting) on the front cover; picture of Schallenberger in later life inside front cover. Notes. References.

Currently out of print.