Donner Party member (see his biographical entry). Although his reputation has been subject to some controversy, there is no denying Reed played a major role in the rescue of the Donner Party. After a grueling journey to Sutter’s Fort, Reed turned around after only two days’ rest to take supplies back to the wagon train that had banished him. The snow defeated him and he was forced to return until conditions were more favorable for another attempt, but in the intervening months he continued publicize the plight of the emigrants in the mountains. As a result of his his efforts, the people of San Francisco had already raised money and were organizing a rescue party when news of the Forlorn Hope arrived from Sutter’s Fort.
At age 46, Reed was the oldest of the rescuers who went into the mountains. During the blizzard at Starved Camp most of the men quailed while Reed worked himself into a state of exhaustion; Miller and McCutchen labored for two hours, chafing his limbs and rubbing him, to revive him.
New Light on the Donner Party, Kristin Johnson
Ordeal By Hunger, George Stewart