John Muir


John Muir


[Jeanne C. ] Carr



New Snellings Merced Co Feb 24th [1869]

Dear Mrs Carr

Your two California notes from San Francisco & San [illegible] reached me last evening & I rejoice at the glad tidings they bring of your arrival in this magnificent land. I have thought of you hundreds of times in my seasons of deepest joy, amid the flower purple & gold of the plains the fern fields in gorge & canon – the sacred waters, tree columns, & eternal unnameable sublimities of the mountains, of all my friends you are the only one that understands my motives & enjoyments. Only a few weeks ago a true & liberal minded friend sent me a large sheetful of terrible blue steel orthodoxy calling me from clouds & flowers, to the practical walks of politics & philanthropy, Mrs Carr thought I never lectures thus, I am glad indeed that you are here to read for yourself these glorious lessons of sky & plain & mountain which no mortal power can ever speak, I thought when in the Yo Semite Valley last spring that the Lord had written things there that you would be allowed to read sometime – I have not made a single friend in Cola & you may be sure I strode home last evening from the post office feeling rich indeed


As soon as I hear of your finding a home I shall begin a plan of visiting you – I have frequently seen favorable reports upon the silk culture in Cola. The climate of Los Angeles is said to be as well tempered for the peculiar requirements of the business as any in the world. I think that you have brought your boys to the right field for planting. I doubt if in all the world mans comforts & necessities can be more easily & abund- antly supplied than in Cola. I have often wished the doctor near me in my rambles among the rocks Pure science is a most unmarketable com- modity in California – Conspicuous energetic unmixed materialism rules supreme in all classes, Prof Whitney as you are aware was ac used of heresy while conducting the state survey because in his reports he devoted some space to fossils & other equally dead & unCalifornian objects instead of columns of discovered & measured mines. I am engaged at present in the very important & patriarchal business of sheep – I am a gentle shepherd. The gray box in which I reside is distant about seven miles northeast from Hofuton, two miles north of Snellings. The Merced pours past me on the south from the Yo Semite. Smooth domey hills & the tree fringe of the Tuolermine bound me on the north – the Lordly Sierras join sky & plain on the east & the far coast mountains on the west


My mutton family of eighteen hundred range over about ten sq’ miles & I have abundant oportunities for reading & botanizying, I shall be here for about two weeks. When I shall be engaged in shearing sheep between the Tuolumne & Stanisl[illegible] from the Joaquin to the Sierra foothills for about two months. I will be in Cola until next November when I mean to start for South America ------------------------------------------ I received your Castletion letter & wrote you in November. I suppose you left Vermont before my letter had time to reach you – You must prepare for your Yo Semite baptism in June. Here is a sweet little flower that I have just found among the rocks of the brook that waters Twenty-hill-hollow. Its anthers are curiously united in pairs & form stars upon its breast. The Calyx seems to have been judged to plain & green to accompany the splendid Corolla, & so is left behind among the Leaves I first met this plant among the Sierra Nevadas. there are five or six species; for beauty & simplicity they might be allowed to dwell within sight of Calypso There are about twenty plants in flower in the gardens of my daily walks. The first was born in January I give them more attention than I give the dirty mongrel creatures of my flock that are about half made by God, & half by man

Feb 24, 1869. [4]

[in margin: # 26]

I have not yet discovered the poetical part of a shepherds duties Spring will soon arrive to the plants of Madison & surely they will miss you. In Yo Semite you will find Cassiopes & laurels, & azaleas, & luxuriant mosses & ferns, but I know that even these can never take the place of the long loved ones of your Vermont hills Forgive me this long writing I know that you are in a fever of joy from the beauty pouring upon you nevertheless you seem so near I can hardly stop My most cordial regards to the Doctor, Californians do not deserve such as he

I am ever your friend

John Muir

A lawyer by the name of Wigonton or Wegleton a graduate of Madison, resides in Snellings. I suppose you know him



Near Snellings, Merced Co.[Calif.]


Original letter dimensions: 21.5 x 33.5 cm.

Resource Identifier


File Identifier

Reel 02, Image 0027

Copyright Statement

The unpublished works of John Muir are copyrighted by the Muir-Hanna Trust. To purchase copies of images and/or obtain permission to publish or exhibit them, see

Owning Institution

University of the Pacific Library Holt-Atherton Special Collections. Please contact this institution directly to obtain copies of the images or permission to publish or use them beyond educational purposes.

Copyright Holder

Muir-Hanna Trust

Copyright Date



3 pages



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