John Muir


John Muir


Louie [Strentzel Muir]


Kansas City, Mo

Sep. 26, 1885-

Dear Louie, We have been here two days & have seen Father Joanna Mary & Walter Brown. David & I start this morning for Crete. Will stop there about 2 days & then return to Kansas City - & Lynn at length the direct journey home. Anna will remain here with Joanna & Mary until my return & thus get a good rest. She stood the journey to this place very well & I anticipate no trouble in the longer journey to Martinez David has not been away from home before in twenty years & the rest from business & new scenes & people after all his trials is making



a great change in him for the better. I have tried to get him to come all the way with us now that he has at length cast loose but fear I shall not succeed. He intends returning from Crete & Lincoln to this place to take Mary back to Portage as Willis left her here to attend to his Wis busienss. I expect to be in Martinez about the 6th or 7th by way of the Topeka [illegible] to Santa Fe & Southern [service?].

I was only one & a half days in Chicago but I saw most of the fruit dealers, Portec Bros, Hicksea Justi & Co etc. & had long talks with them to but little purpose I fear. My other friends I had no time to see though I should


have enjoyed a week very much.

Father is very feeble & helpless, & within the last month or two has failed very much. & is often for a few moments in a kind of bewildered stupor out of which he awakens with a start & is conscious in a bright keen way for a few moments or so & again looses the power of attention. He is very much emaciated also & as he eats but little I fear the end is very near He does not know me & I am very sorry. He looks at me & takes my hand & says "is this my dear John" & then sinks away on the pillow without



exhausted without being able to understand the answer. This morning when I went to see him & was talking [illegible] Scotch to him hoping to stire some of the old memories of Scotland before we came here he said I don't know much about it now & then added "Youre a Scotch man are not you" & when I would repeat that I was his son John that went to California long ago & came back to see him He would start & raise his hed a little & gaze fixedly at me & say O Yes my dear wanderer & then loose all memory again & the next moment when


he awakes he has to be told again who I am but David & Anna & all the rest of the family here he knows readily He is conscious that his last days are drawing nigh & seems to be resigned though eager for love & encouragement. It was only a few months ago that he said while yet in full possession of his facilities that he had made terrible mistakes in dealing with his children & in partic- =ular mentioned some of the cruel things he had said & done to his poor wandering son John & advised Joanna to be careful to rule her children only by love


[5 is struck out] 6

I sent for a physician last evening to consult with him about his condition & how best to smooth his way to the grave. he said there is no disease. that he might [illegible] for months or die at any hour & that he should not be left alone. I had already consulted with Joanna & [struck word] [Walter?] about hiring a nurse at once. When the doctor came father asked whether his was going to die now & seemed glad to be told that there was no probability of his dying yet. Thought I expect to be here only a week I fear that David & I will see him laid at rest


I'm sorry I could not have been here two or three months earlier though I suppose all may be as well as it is.

I have had quite [faint writing illegible] getting acquainted with the younger ones of the family. Mary & Joanna are strong & marked characters & could make names for themselves if they had a chance. Maggie I shall see very soon fear she is by no means well Give my love to everybody Tell Wanda that papa will soon be home & that little Ethel knows her quite well. Mary has two large hopeful ungovernable boys

Ever truly Yours John Muir


Kansas City, Mo.

Date Original

1885 Sep 26


Original letter dimensions: 19.5 x 12.5 cm.

Resource Identifier


File Identifier

Reel 05, Image 0455

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



4 pages



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