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Thu, Dec. 12

Family's ancestors traveled west with the Donner party

KINGMAN ­ The winter of 1846-47 was one of the harshest in history, particularly for travelers heading west in wagon trains.

Margie Cornwall and her son James can attest to mistakes made by people in the Donner party, some of which were their ancestors from Independence County, Ark. The mistakes and unforgiving weather led to disaster.

Some of what they have learned comes from a letter written from memory of the trip by Joseph Hardin Cornwall, the second son of the Rev. Josephus Cornwall, a Presbyterian minister, and his wife Nancy Hardin. She was the sister of alleged killer John Wesley Hardin of Texas.

When Josephus Cornwall married Nancy Hardin, he stood to inherit land from the Hardin family in Greenbrier, Ark. But he felt it was not rightfully his and wanted to start anew out west so the couple joined the Donner party wagon train that traveled the old Oregon Trail, James Cornwall said. To read story, see a copy of Monday's Kingman Daily Miner.

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