Maggie [Margaret Muir Reid]


John Muir


Crete, Neb., Jan. 19, 1885.

My dear Brother John:

I received your very kind letter of Dec. 30th full of good and kind wishes to me and mine (as are all your letters) for a happy New Year, and though a little late I heartily wish you and sister Louie and dear little Wanda a very happy and prosperous New Year. Tell Wanda that Auntie thanks her for wishing her happy new Year. I would like to hug and kiss her and wish that she may always be happy. But will ask Papa to do it for me.
I am sorry you did not succeed in finding a foreman as we had not had any word from you when it came near the end of the year I wondered if you did not mean to surprise us, and thought every now and again (especially about train times) that perhaps you would come walking in, but we will look forward to seeing you in the spring when it will be milder weather. It has been very cold lately. This morning it was 20º below zero, and on New Year's morning it was 28 below. Since we, were with you in such cold times I always keep comparing it with the mild weather in California.
I was sorry to hear through sister Annie that you were not well. What is the matter? I hope that you are better. I am sorry that sister Annie is not as well. I have been rather on the sick list myself lately and when not able to work have done a good deal of thinking, much of it of little importance. I have been thinking much about our old home in Scotland, that big house in and around which Dave and you used to play so many pranks and about how the town and the shore and the Dauval Brae looked, and Sidden's school, and the old Methodist meeting house around the corner. I remember just exactly how it looked inside, where our seat was up in the far gallery behind Miss Morison and Miss Memures whom we used to think were such grandly dressed ladies. And below, in the body of the church, we used to see some old ladies, with ancient bonnets, whose names I never knew; also Miss Benton and Misses Cannon and Mrs. Purcell and her daughter and Mrs. Drumond who were ladies maid and housekeeper at Lord Landerdale's house, and about the times we had at grandfather's.
I suppose you have not much time to let your mind wander away there, and you were so young when we left and have been such a traveler and have seen so much to fill your thoughts, and you have such a good memory. But mine has been so poor nearly all my life and especially now, that it is only things far away back that I can remember distinctly, but that is the case with all real old folks, and you know I am in my fifty-first year, and at that age am older and more stupid than most people at sixty.
I suppose that you have heard the wonderful news from Joanna. She has her hands full now, poor girl. Sarah is not at all strong since David's death. I suppose she is worn out with watching and taking care of David. She has not said anything about coming west since. Mary intends to visit in Neb. and K[ansas] C[ity] next summer. Poor Katie suffers terribly now, although she is easier at some times than at others. She cannot use her right arm now. She sent her picture lately (taken about five or six weeks ago). She looks rather sad and worn and thinner than when we saw her last. We take the Portage paper yet. With last week's was a supplement. On one side was the governor's message, and on the other piece was a letter from the Northwest. (I do not know who was the writer). It was very interesting. It was about the cod fishery and other enterprises in Alaska and the scenery around Glacier Bay, and about the Alaskan glaciers being larger than those in Switzerland, and that the largest was the Muir Glacier, you being the first white man that set foot on it. I would like to see it. Will send you the paper if Mother has not. I was disappointed in not hearing in your last a word from or of Louie. I hope she is well. Remember me to the Doctor and Mrs. Strentzel. I think it a pity they gave up their trip. I have written you quite a rambling letter, but bear with me.

Your affectionate sister,


[Margaret Muir Reid]


Crete, Neb

Date Original

1885 Jan 19


Original letter dimensions: 20 x 24.5 cm.

Resource Identifier


File Identifier

Reel 05, Image 0190

Copyright Statement

Some letters written to John Muir may be protected by the U.S. Copyright Law (Title 17, U.S.C.). Transmission or reproduction of materials protected by copyright beyond that allowed by fair use requires the written permission of the copyright owners. Responsibility for any use rests exclusively with the user.

Owning Institution

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


3 pages


Environmentalist, naturalist, travel, conservation, national parks, John Muir, Yosemite, California, history, correspondence, letters


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