Sunday, October 29, 2006

George Donner, Sr., Memorial

On September 3, 2006, a monument honoring George Donner, Sr., was dedicated at Oak Hill Cemetery in Springfield, Illinois, by the local chapter of the Sons of the American Revolution. Don Springer, a 5th great-grandson and Springfield resident, organized the creation of the monument after his distant cousin, Jo Ann Brant Schmidt, a 4th generation descendant of the honoree, proved George's record of Revolutionary War service.

George Donner was born in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, in 1752. About 1770 he moved to North Carolina, where he maintained a jail for British prisoners on his property during the Revolutionary War. George married Mary Huff, with whom he had several children, including George and Jacob of the Donner Party. The Donners moved to Kentucky, Indiana, and Illinois, arriving in Sangamon County about 1825. George Sr. died there in 1844 at the age of 92. The location of his grave is unknown, so the stone erected to his memory was placed in the Donner plot at Oak Hill. Also included on the stone are the names of his wife Mary Huff Donner; his son, George Jr.; and George Jr.'s wives Susannah Holloway, Mary Blue, and Tamzene Dozier, none of whose graves are known or marked.

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