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Luis and Salvador

Luis and Salvador, were two Indian vaqueros whom John Sutter detailed to assist Charles Stanton in taking supplies to the Donner Party. Nothing is known about them for certain, but they were evidently young men, perhaps only teenagers, for some sources refer to them as “the Indian boys.”

Luis — called “Lewis” in most early documents — spoke a little English and may have been the Luis mentioned as assisting a settler to drive cattle in the New Helvetia Diary entry for December 10, 1845.

In mid-December 1846 he, Salvador, and Stanton set out with the Forlorn Hope; the following month, mad with hunger, William Foster is purported to have shot the two Indians, if true, making them the only individuals in the Donner Party definitely known to have been killed for food.

 Joseph A. King researched the early baptismal register of the San Jose Mission for Indian converts given the Christian name Luis. King believed that Eema, an Ochehamne Miwok who would have been about 19 in 1846, may have been Luis of the Donner Party.

King believed that Queyuen, a Miwok of the Cosumne tribe, may have been Salvador of the Donner Party. He would have been about 28 in 1846. There is, unfortunately, no way to confirm King’s conclusion.

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