Old City Cemetery Committee, Inc. - The Keseberg Plot

The Keseberg Plot

Lewis Keseberg, b. 1823. d. 1877,  was the Donner Party's most infamous member. In Ordeal By Hunger, the most influential chronicle of the Donner Party, George R. Stewart related an incident in which Keseberg ...was heard boasting, publicly in a bar-room, that human liver was the best meat he ever ate."

In 1891, Virginia Reed Murphy, another Donner Party survivor, recalled that Keseberg was in the habit of beating (his wife) until she was black and blue. She wrote that, . . .this aroused all the manhood and my father took Keseberg to task, telling him it must stop or measures would be taken." She continued, "Keseberg did not dare beat his wife again, but he hated my father and nursed his wrath until papa was so unfortunate as to have to take the life of a fellow-creature in self-defense.

Keseberg's true role in the tragedy that befell the Donner Party still remains under some speculation, though one thing is clear. Louis Keseberg died in a Sacramento hospital, with out fanfare, and was buried in an unmarked grave somewhere around the hospital grounds.

By contrast, Keseberg's wife's descendants have given her and her children, a proper marker atop their final resting place in Sacramento's Old City Cemetery.



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