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Heroes

In the Rose Memorial Cemetery in Fort Bragg lie the remains two of California’s real life heroes.

The first hero was Britton Greenwood. Britton was a guide and a member of the rescue party for Donner Party in 1846-1847. Donner Lake was named for the ill-fated group. There was 18 feet of snow on the ground and many miles to the nearest settlement when the group became marooned. See here for details

When word came that that there were 87 people stranded in the deep snow, Brit was the first to offer his services. He made numerous trips back and forth, bring food to those who had to remain and taking others out from October until the end of April. Of the 87 only 48 survived.

Brit, his father, and brothers made their living as guides for the early settlers along the Redwood Coast. They came to Elk about 1850 and settled there acquiring a large parcel of land in the vicinity. Later, Brit moved to Noyo where, in 1889, he died at age 64.

Mrs. Sarah A. C. Foster, better known as Granny Foster, was one of the members of the Donner party who escaped with her life. Granny Foster, her husband, her infant son and her widowed mother joined the Donner party from South Carolina in 1846. She and another young mother, Mrs. McCutcheon, left their infant sons at the Donner Lake Camp when they came out with the relief parties thinking this would be safer for the small children. Alas, they never saw them again.

After her ghastly experience Granny Foster took up a homestead at Westport and she became the midwife to the settler’s wives. She was beloved for her charity and simplicity and lived a life of virtue and self-sacrifice. She died in San Francisco aged 80 but is buried here in Fort Bragg.