John Muir


John Muir


Louie [Strentzel Muir]



[embossed letterhead]

803 Wabash Avenue Kansas City, Mo Oct 6th 1885

Dear Louie;

You will know ere this that the end has come & father is at rest.

He passed away in a full summer day evenings peace & with that peace beautifully expressed & remaining on his countenance as he lies now pure & clean like snow on the on the bed that has borne him so long.

Last evening David & I made everybody go to bed & arranged with each other to keep watch through the night promising the girls to give warning in time should the end draw near while they slept.



David retired in an adjoining room at 10 o'clock, while I watched alone he to be called to take my place at 2 or 3 in the morning should no marked change take place before that time

About 11o clock his breathing became calm & slow & his arms which had been moved in a restless way at times at length were folded on his breast. About 12 o'clock his breathing was still calmer & slower & his brow & lips were slightly cold & his eyes grew dim - At 12.15 I called David & we decided to call up the girls Mary Anna & Joanna but they were so worn out with watching that we delayed a few minutes longer & it was not until



about one minute before the last breath that all were gathered together to kiss our weary affectionate father a last goodbye as he passed away into the better land of light.

Few lives that I know was more restless & eventful than his - few more toilsome & full of enthuasstic endeavor onward towards light & truth & eternal love through the midst of the devils of terrestrial strife & darkness & faithless misunderstanding that wellnigh overpowered him at times & made bitter burdens for us all to bear

But his last years as he lay broken in body & silent were full of calm Divine Light & he oftentimes spoke to Joanna



of the cruel mistakes he had made in his relations towards his children & spoke particularly of me wondering how I had borne my burdens so well & patiently & warned Joanna to be watchful to govern her children by love alone.

He was born in Manchester England 81 1/2 years ago. left motherless at the age of about six months & father= =less a few months later, with an elder sister who became a mother to him & brought him up on a farm in Lenarkshire Scotland While yet more boy than man he left his sisters home without telling anyone full of wild schemes for the benefit of all the world His sister the



meanwhile searching the ponds & streams on the neigh= =borhood frantic with grief & believing he had been drowned. He had gone to Glasgow & joined the British Army. In a few years left the army married & went into busienss- wife died & a first born child. Married a second time prospered in business established fine home then the wilds of America farm making hewing & digging farm after farm. The preaching & tract distributing in Wisconsin Canada Arkansas Various benevolent institutions preaching the gospel with all his might as he happened at the time to understand it.



a member of nearly every church in succession under the sun ever changing yet doing every= -thing thouroughly & well. At length brought to earth by old age & a broken limb He was yet youthful & enthusiastic to the end, his mind aactive & glowing like a fire b4eneath all his burden of years & pains

Dan & Maggie have been telegraphed for & will come to the funeral Thurs seven of the eight children will surely be present= We have also sent telegrams to Mother & Sarah though I fear neither will be able to endure the [illegible] of the journey The funeral will be on Thursday


2 P.M. & in case they should try to be present David an I would meet them at Chicago then the entire family would be gathered once more & how gladly we would bring that about! For in all our devious ways & wanderings we have loved one another.

In any case we soon will be scattered again, & again fathered together in a few days the snow will be falling on fathers grave, & one by one we will join him in his last rest, all our separating wanderings done forever.

Love to all Wanda Grandma & grandpa - Ever Yours Louie

John Muir


...Kansas City, Mo.

Date Original

1885 Oct 6


Original letter dimensions: 20.5 x 12.5 cm.

Resource Identifier


File Identifier

Reel 05, Image 0487

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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