John Muir


John Muir


Louie [Strentzel Muir]



of but who declared they knew me passing well etc. Willis "Ham?] is expected here tonight. He left Kansas City wiating for me. I have not been at their home on the roads & must not take the time now. Davids eldest daughter Carrie is away a hundred miles or more northward teaching music. Anna who has just graduated from the high school is keeping house for David & the two boys. & she does it well. No hired girl ever in the house. All the children are remarkably quiet but shrewd & sharp with their eyes. The [illegible] is little John 13 yrs old today so preternaturally solemn I have to laugh every time I see him. He has been busy for some time Wheeling away my old school books, which I gave him.


Portage City - Sep 19th. 1885.

Dear Louie. I meant to have commenced the return journey last Saturday but Anna made up her mind to go with me to California & I had to wait for her. Now she is ready & we will set out next Monday She looks about half well & eats well & coughs very little & is in hopeful spirits & I turst she may be able to stand the journey. By stead straining efforts I have at [illegible] compelled David to promise to accompany us as far as Kansas City & Nebraska to visit father & her brother & sisters there. he is so set in his business here that he fancies he cannot spare or spend a cent or minute.


& I am sure the changes will prove of much behefit every way. The small trip around the old home neighborhood waked him up to some semblance of his old joking laughing witty self & everybody remarked the change I had compelled in him. And besides the benefit to himself in this Nebraska trip I convinced him that he would never again see father alive unless he made his visit this year. As he is very feeble & confined to his bed.

I mean to stop in Chicago one or two days to inquire into & observe the front business & see whether arrangements can be made to market the bulk of our products there in the future. In the4 meantime


Anna will be resting by the way at Crete - or Lincoln I expect to return by way of Portland to save money as I can get half rates that way from [illegible]. If I can find as cheap a way & more direct by the other routes I shall take it in preference to going so far round.

I was down at Poynette 13 miles S of here two days ago visiting a cousin & had a good time talking geneology etc & old times. I have made a long visit & must make haste home to work. hav been regarded as a great curiousity here & have been called on to recognize about a thousand people that I had never heard



highly as the first from you. I think you might give poor Warah & Maggie the same pleasure now that you have comm[illegible]. The[y?] poor women will carry a burden of ill health all the way to the end - in addition to the normal burdens of mothers which are heavy at best_

I have wanted to write a few Yellowstone letters & conse[illegible] been goading me unmercifully as idle these weeks. & fit what [illegible] writing & drawing nice album pages for Heaven knows how many of these sentimental nieces & home letters & all this introduction to nearly every man women & child in Portage 7,000 or so. Leaders all in the adjucent country & the speaches lectures [illegible] on Alaska California resources

[embossed letterhead] 5

& of course I had to give him a teen present. I found that the firm of Parry & Muir still owed me $800. & interest for ten years making altogether about $1600. As he showed me a note bearing interest at 10 per cent. then drew me $560,00 interest & gave back half of it to David as I did not wish to charge him anything for the use of the money, but Parry only. Therefore I have received $280,00 which will be enough to bring Anna & I home. &I have not been compelled to draw on Upham at all. The $800 is still left with the firm & is safe enough I

[embossed letterhead] [9]

etc & all the long talks to mother & the girls & the store keeper I have not yet written the first page of manuscript but I shall lock the door tomorrow & write something about neat painters operating old fountain head [illegible] rivers rights or [illegible] bright or dull. Just for peace of mind if nothing more I have the very prettiest baby picture for Wanda that I ever saw. I am afraid to trust it to the mails or I would enclose it in this letter Jeannie Neil a second of third cousin of mine or something of that kind in Scotland. Tell Wanda papa wants to come home very fast to see her & I hope the cars will


years. And I have directed David to give Little John $100. out of the interest money as soon as it acrues & invest it for him until he is of age leaving us of course a clear 3 1/2 % on the $800.

As I had forgotten all about that old debt & expected nothing I feel that I have been quite generous & at a very moderate expense, while actually getting rich in the middle of the generosity. David has been 20 yrs in business & is well known & is doing fairly well Do not think he will ever leave Portage or change his business materially though yet young. He is older looking & grayer than Mr. C[illegible] by years of close


application Katies long sickness & dyspepsia. The Dyspepsia he has at length overcome & probably will be growing younger for the next ten years or so. I have actually commenced to get fat_ have gained 3 1/2 lbs since I arrived here. & am now fleshladen to the extent of 138 1/2 lbs. & feel much better since my last exploit in the Yellowstone park [ illegible]gallop through the mud & rain & fire on a thrice- empty stomach liken Tam O'Shanter without the hot ale but with more than the full compliment of witches from kind & another.

Mother received your letter a few days ago & prizes it very



10 [in margin: Ever truly yours John Muir]

go quick. I sent [illegible due to rusty paperclip marks] a letter some time ago.

The weather here has been very like Cal winter. Wet & dry with occasional frost - cool & pleasant with slight hints of rheumatism. I found the plants from Florida & the South in good condition & have had a grand overhaul [my?] of them & repacking for Cal. Also the wooden clock & some other old traps of queer construction some of wh I will bring out with me. with old drawings & letters etc. Love to all hope Grandma is still regaining health & strength & that the Dr is not working too hard over my [illegible]a your health - you know well what I would say


Portage City, [Wisc]

Date Original

1885 Sep 19


Original letter dimensions: 20.5 x 25.5 cm.

Resource Identifier


File Identifier

Reel 05, Image 0447

Collection Identifier

Online finding aid for the microform version of the John Muir Correspondence

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

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.

Copyright Holder

Muir-Hanna Trust

Copyright Date



4 pages


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



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