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Exhibit item: JESSY QUINN THORNTON, Oregon and California in 1848, 1849

Exhibit item:
JESSY QUINN THORNTON
Oregon and California in 1848, 1849

The saga of the ill-fated Donner Party is well-known in California history. Starvation of the group was postponed when Mr. Eddy succeeded in shooting a grizzly in the snow near their high Sierra camp.

Quotation:
JESSY QUINN THORNTON
Oregon and California in 1848, 1849

"Nov. 13th, Mr. Eddy succeeded in killing two ducks, but no one would let him have a gun without he gave them half he killed. The next day, very faint from want of food, he resumed his hunting, and at length came upon an enormously large grisly-bear track ... He was not long in finding the object of his search.

At the distance of about ninety yards he saw the bear, with its head to the ground, engaged in digging roots. The beast was in a small skirt of prairie, and Mr. Eddy, taking advantage of a large fir-tree near which he was at the moment, kept himself in concealment. Having put into his mouth the only bullet that was not in his gun, so that he might quickly reload in case of emergency, he deliberately fired.

The bear immediately reared upon its hind feet, and seeing the smoke from Mr. Eddy’s gun, ran fiercely toward him, with open jaws. By the time the gun was reloaded the bear had reached the tree, and, with a fierce growl, pursued Mr. Eddy round it, who, running swifter than the animal, came up with it in the rear, and disabled it by a shot in the shoulder, so that it was no longer able to pursue him.. He then dispatched the bear by knocking it on the head with a club.

He then returned to the Mountain Camp for assistance to bring in his prize. Graves and Eddy went out after the bear. They finally contrived to get in the bear after dark. Mr. Eddy gave one half to Mr. Foster for the use of the gun. A part of it was likewise given to Mr. Graves and to Mrs. Reed. The bear weighed about 800 lbs."

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