James abandoned the family when the children were young and she then married Jacob Donner on November 21, 1835 in Sangamon, Illinois. They had the following children:
Mary M. (Donner) Houghton
Mary Martha Donner
This family was part of the ill-fated Donner Party that was trapped in the Sierra Nevada Mountains by snow in 1846 while emigrating to California. Elizabeth is criticized for the way she butchered and served up her husband as food for her children after his death. Most of the survivors were forced to survive on human flesh but the others are reported to have been careful not to eat the flesh of their own kin.
Elizabeth died from starvation in March 1847 in Donner Lake, Nevada Territory.
Dixon, Kelly, Shannon Novak, Gwen Robbins, Julie Schablitsky, Richard Scott , and Guy Tasa (2010), "Men, Women, and Children are Starving: Archaeology of the Donner Family Camp". American Antiquity 75(3):627-656
McGlashan, Charles (1879). History of the Donner Party: A Tragedy of the Sierra Nevada: 11th edition (1918), A Carlisle & Company, San Francisco
It may be possible to confirm family relationships with Elizabeth by comparing test results with other carriers of her mitochondrial DNA.
However, there are no known mtDNA test-takers in her direct maternal line.
It is likely that these autosomal DNA test-takers will share DNA with Elizabeth: