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

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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