Editor’s note: One of the many privileges we have been afford during our Forlorn Hope journey has been to meet family members of the Donner Party and/or those that were a critical part of their history. One such family are the McGlashans, direct descendent of C.F. McGlashan, author of the History of the Donner Party published in 1879. They have been tremendously supportive of our initiative and Doug McGlashan wrote us a thoughtful note which he has given us permission to publish below. We are extremely humbled and honored.

Dear Forlorn Hope Expedition Team,

Hearing you share the vision and dedication that brought the team to this point as well as your dreams for future plans beyond the expedition was a testimony to the devotion and passion you all have to this mission.


As I mentioned, what inspired me as I read all of the information about Forlorn Hope was best summarized by what Bob said is the expedition’s focus: “the perseverance, endurance, toughness, passion and grit…focusing on the motivation, ruggedness and resilience of these ‘normal’ people who accomplished extraordinary feats and who embodied the core characteristics and tenets that became the backbone of America”.


I believe that you captured perhaps the key legacy given to us by those who actually created this history and all those who have recorded those events. This legacy is that we all are the beneficiaries of the sacrifices and the loving, steadfast spirit of all those people. Who they were and what they valued is their gift to us.


In the preface of his book C.F.’s commitment to the truth and his intention was clear when he said, “California’s history is replete with tragic, startling events…this work (is) a work intended as a contribution, not to the literature, but to the history of the State…It is an honest effort toward the truth, and as such is given to the world”.


Nona’s labor of love Give Me a Mountain Meadow was written over the course of nine years and gave our family thoughtful insight into CF and his family which was best summarized when she concluded the book saying, “Others may write of the influential people Papa knew or of his manifold achievements. I have preferred to write of what he valued”.  


I detailed this backdrop of our heritage in order to highlight what a privilege it is to hear and see what you have already accomplished and how you intend to make the next chapter in this history literally come to life. It is humbling to understand the devotion and selfless dedication over the period of seven years that you have given to this endeavor. It is an honor to be included as someone who can encourage you and the team before and after the expedition.


The unique and remarkable athletic skills of the team combined with your commitment to bring to life the humanity, the suffering and the heroism of the Forlorn Hope is wonderful gift to us all.


With gratitude and appreciation for all you have done and continue to do,

Doug (Seattle) McGlashan

NOTE: Doug is the great-great-grandson of C.F. McGlashan