George M. Dawson


John Muir



25 April 1888

Dear Sir,

Please accept thanks for your articles on [Stikive?] etc from S.F. newspapers. I am much indebted for the trouble you have taken in the matter & shall endeavor to do justice to your work in so far as it [illegible] within my province. [illegible] G saw [illegible] a number of [illegible] work a short [illegible] of the geological [illegible] by [Prof?] [illegible]

Yours tuy

George M. Dawson

John Muir Esq Martinez Cal.



[in margin: It is not long since David & I were talking about you & he was greatly interested to hear all I had to tell him of your welfare & of our pleasant sojourn with you in Cal]

reaches within the veil?

You ask about Walter. well he is much about as you saw him. In some points better but scarcely so strong. His local trouble is better controlled than then I want say cured, for that can neverbe.

Hee does a little light office work, but of course is unfitted for anything very active_and with good care may hold out quite a while_

My parents were terribly affected over our misfortune, & poor Mother took to her bed & for a week or two, it seemed as though she would never be up again. She is gaining again however, but both are quite feeble_ Of course my own family were badly frightened fro in spite of my efforts to prevent anything of the kind, news by the daily papers came that we were both fatally hurt. My telegrams soon relieved them regarding myself_

Is it not about time you were coming East? When you start we want to know your movements and watch that we may all be at home, when you reach Detroit

Give kind regards to Mrs. Muir and to your Sister, Annie, if she is still with you & believe me with best wishes Yours Sincerely John S. Gray

P.S. I saw the [Frost?] brothers last fall, when their youngest brother Alex was dying in this city. [illegible] had received your letter but why he had not written I do not know my recollection is that he said he intended to soon.



Detroit April 28th 1888

Mr. John Muir My Dear Friend

Two weeks have past since receipt of your very kind letter fo the 8th [illegible]_

Your words of sympathy were gratefully read, and we all wish to thank you for your kind expressions. In our way that is from our point of [illegible] [David's?] departure, is sad indeed_ but for him it was not so_ To look forward there was a constant threatening of the "dreaded fiend-paralysis__ his own words_ a lingering life, in death, of imbecility, and perhaps weakness, of the mental facilities. These he was happily delivered from. Even the pain of parting from all he loved in this life was spared him. that night in the sleeper he was weak and tired


and after I had helped him as one would a child, he lay down peacefully in the berth, fell quietly asleep and for six hours, each time I looked at him in my anxiety for him he seemed to be quietly resting_ The crash came the rolling cars went down the soft embankment and piled in the ruins at the bottom. We were all more or less hurt_ he struck only very slightly on the head_but enough to render him unconscious. It was some time before we could get uninjured help enough, to get him out, and only a few minutes later the car was all in flames so that our effects were burned - those not previously removed. I thought he would die before we got him out but stimulants brought him around a little, but by no sign or word, did he ever show a spark of consciousness_ & for nearly three days in the hospital I watched beside him, being joined by his wife as quickly after as possible_ Had he been strong and robust as I was he would no doubt have recovered_ Hemorrhage of the brain_ the blood vessels of which were very weak_brought death and we parted from him without a word of his_

I was in great anxiety at the thought of taking him away in that critical con=



dition he was in but his physician deemed it advisable. The railway men who saw the situation said it was a wonder anyone escaped from such an accident unless killed or mangled. So the escape was a closer on than I realized at the time for myself_

David had not done much in a lit- erary way for several years but enough of his best prose and poetry is extant to fill two volumes_ so a committee of his old friends thought and under their directions a collection is being made, while a brief biography by a Mr. [Larned?] -a fine writer- will form part of one of the volumes These will not likely be out till the end of summer, but I will see that you have a copy when published_ as they will not be put in the market_

Has a good while his friends had urged him to allow them to collect & publish one volume but of late years his mind was so much taken up with matters pertaining to the eternal state, that he placed no value on them and would give them nothing but discouragement_ I never knew anyone to whom the promises of the future, were so real, and so precious. and it was no hardship to him to be called away, but as he often said "to depart and be with Christ is far better"_ And indeed what else is there that has lasting value like the faith that


. . . Ottawa, [Canada]

Date Original

1888 Apr 25


Original letter dimensions: 25 x 20.5 cm.

Resource Identifier


File Identifier

Reel 05, Image 1032

Collection Identifier

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

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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