Donner Party Survivor in Rose Memorial Cemetery, Fort Bragg, CA

I got a lead on this one from Lynn Catlett’s Facebook page, “You know you’re from Mendocino if ……. ” What follows comes from a site entitled, “Mendocino in my Heart.”

“A large “Red Men” fraternal order monument at Rose Memorial Cemetery in Fort Bragg includes the name  Sarah Ann Charlotte Murphy Foster, a survivor of the Donner Party, and the family of her sister, Minnie Foster Markle. Born November 24, 1826,  Sarah Ann Charlotte Murphy and her husband, William McFadden Foster were members of the ill-fated Donner Party in the winter of 1846-47. They were traveling west with their young son, George, and Sarah’s mother. After being stranded in the snow at Truckee (now Donner) Lake for two months, provisions were running low. Desperate to get help, 15 of the strongest people were selected to get help. The group consisted of 10 males and 5 females, including Sarah and William Foster. Later called the “Forlorn Hope,” the group left on December 16, 1846, swearing to get across the mountains and into California,  or die trying.

Somehow, seven (two men and all five women) survived the 33 days of travel, which brought them to Johnson’s Ranch, 35 miles east of Sutter’s Fort, on January 17, 1847. Sarah A.C. Murphy Foster’s three-year-old son, Jeremiah “George” Foster, was left behind with his grandmother, Levinah Murphy, in the Murphy Cabin at Donner Lake, but both perished. After her husband, William M. Foster died in 1874, Sarah moved to Mendocino County. She lived at or near Kibesillah – a town north of Fort Bragg till she died in 1906.”

Her tombstone is in the Rose Memorial Cemetery in Fort Bragg.

Sarah Ann Charlotte Murphy Foster

Sarah Ann Charlotte Murphy Foster

Sarah Ann Charlotte Murphy Foster's Headstone

Sarah Ann Charlotte Murphy Foster’s Headstone