~Part Five~

? February 8, 1847

That day, Patrick Breen wrote in his journal: "The Graves Seized on Mrs Reid's goods until they would be paid. Also took the hides that she & family had to live on. She got two pieces of hides from there, & the balance they have taken. You may know from these proceedings what our fare is in camp. There is nothing to be got by hunting; yet perhaps there soon will. God send it. Amen."

James Frazier Reed was also destined to see action in the Mexican War, most notably in the Battle of Santa Clara on January 2. This was not much of a battle as battles go, but Reed helped free a hostage: Washington Allon Bartlett. Bartlett, an American, had been serving as chief magistrate or Alcalde of the Bay Area. He would become San Francisco's first American mayor—and he had plenty of pull.

Upon hearing of Reed's plight, Bartlett called a public meeting; Reed prepared a speech but as soon as he took the podium, he started sobbing horribly and couldn't utter a word.

[He breathes shakily.]

Funds poured in at once, as well as direct pledges of aid, rescue efforts were organized, and at almost that very same moment back at Truckee—though none on the Bay could know it—Margaret Eddy, William Eddy's little girl, died.

Reed, having no inkling of his own family's fate, steeled himself for the worst and prepared to ride East once again, determined to cross the mountains if it killed him.

Meanwhile, Eddy was planning his rescue mission furiously—aiming to join a relief team himself, caring not that he had nearly wasted away and resorted to eating human flesh—multiple times—covering that very terrain. He was hellbent on going into those mountains himself, if it killed him!

Two days later, his wife followed their baby girl. Of course, he had no way of knowing this at the time; yet, as there were multiple relief teams making the rescues almost as relay-racers in deadly turns, he was informed they were gone before it was his time to make the journey he planned.

Yet, he went on that rescue mission, anyway.