Adolph "Greasy Jim" Bruheim

Age [25]
1st Relief and Auxiliary

       Adolph Bruheim or Brueheim was 21 when he came to California in 1842. In 1845-46 he was recorded as working for Theodor Cordua at Neu Mecklenburg near the present site of Marysville. A document in the Fort Sutter Papers clears up a minor mystery: in September 1846 Edward Kern and James Adolph Bruheim signed an agreement that Kern would furnish a horse and pay ten dollars a week to Bruheim for delivering correspondence between Sacramento and Sonoma. Although the document is signed only “Adolph Bruheim,” the use of “James Adolph” in the body of the letter and Kern’s other references to his courier as “Jim” confirm  that the “Greasy Jim” mentioned in J. Q. Thornton’s Oregon and California in 1848 must have been Bruheim.
       On February 5, 1847, Bruheim set out with the First Relief; after a week he and two others went back while seven continued on. According to Kern’s records, Bruheim was employed to butcher cattle and to carry provisions from Johnson’s Ranch to Bear Valley. He served a total of 48 days, from January 31, 1847, to March 19, at $1.50 per day, earning $72.00.  Bruheim’s life after his participation in the Donner relief is a mystery, but historian H. H. Bancroft believed that he may have been living in San Francisco under another name.


New Light on the Donner Party, Kristin Johnson

Ordeal By Hunger, George Stewart