|Birth: ||1819, England|
|Death: ||Feb. 24, 1847|
Member of the Donner/Reed party, stranded at Donner Lake in the winter of 1846-47. Mr. Denton was rescued by the 1st Relief, but was later abandoned on the trail.
Excerpt from "Desperate Passage, The Donner Party's Perilous Journey West" by Ethan Rarick.
"The third day out from the lake, an Englishman named John Denton crumbled. Denton was a likable figure, a man who had proven himself handy around camp. When Sarah Keyes died back at the Big Blue River, it was Denton who hefted a chisel and carved her name on a tombstone. As the company endured its winter captivity, he bore up better than most of the other young single men, the majority of whom were long since dead. But the Journey toward safety sapped his last reserve. He struggled to keep pace, pushing himself with desperation, but in time it became plain that he could not go on.
Not wanting to hinder the others, he asked to be abandoned, so they built a fire on a small platform of green logs, chopped some extra firewood, and left what food they could spare. Reason Tucker laid a crude bed of evergreen boughs next to the fire and provided a blanket to ward off the worst of the cold. Putting up a brave face for a man he was forced to abandon, Tucker vowed to send back help soon, but he knew it was a pointless promise. Denton knew it too. He gave tucker a brace of pistols he was carrying and told him to keep them in case the worst happened. Tucker's bluffing confidence fooled little James Reed Jr., who asked to be left with Denton and the warmth of the flames. His mother refused, of course, and James and the others gathered up their meager provisions and moved on.
Alone, Denton made himself as comfortable as possible, then took out a pencil and a small journal. He began to write, revising as he went by rubbing out lines with a small India rubber eraser. Surrounded by endless white snow, his mind returned to verdant boyhood summers back in England: gazing at a brook, wandering through fields, sitting beneath "the old witch-elm that shades the village green" - joys now impossibly distant. He finished his composition, and waited.
Weeks later, rescuers found his body sitting against a snowbank, his head down upon his chest."
Body lost or destroyed
Specifically: A member of The Forlorn Hope, John Denton died on the trail
Created by: Cindy Baldogo
Record added: Sep 16, 2010
Find A Grave Memorial# 58736881