Maggie [Margaret Muir Reid]
[in margin: if it should be dry again as for several years back. he has been trying in different places to find a position to work for a salary [&?] anything else but without success & sometimes he talks of renting a farm but in either case]
There was nothing on the place in Kansas but a few horses & the cow & J. thought Harry could take care of everything there if perhaps he could earn a few dollars to help keep us this winter he has worked a month or five weeks breaking horses, but the weather has not been favorable for about three weeks now, and yesterday Harry's bill of expenses was sent us. he is too young, or not old but too thoughtless a boy, to be left, so, (he is nineteen) & it has taken him a good deal more to run the place then it would his father. & nothing to meet it. it costs to go down to see about things, & J. thinks, or fears he could make little or nothing off the place
Crete Neb Feb 1st 1890
My Dear Brother John
Your kind and comforting letter of Jan 13th was received yesterday. & I am glad to know you are all well I had made up my mind to write to you within a few days as it began to seem long since we heard from you, but not such a letter as this, may be, our always happy & pleasant correspondence has been badly mixed for a long time with distressing affairs & I don't like to write about them John, but your ever kindly interest in us encourages me to confide in you
The land at the [illegible] that we
[in margin: P S John please tell me what you think about things dont you think we had better go down & live on the place & try to hold it if we are able. as it may be valuable before many years
Trouble has seemed to so unsettle John that a great part of the time he seems unable to think clearly on a few things]
what would we do with the place in Kan. Everything would be torn down & taken if left alone. I think we had better move down there it would not take much to keep us. Jessie gets thirty five dollars a month & the prospect of more perhaps. she could board or stay with Anna & Anna has a good home. May is able to teach and will be old enough soon, she is seventeen now & I think the boys would like it on the farm & I would be glad to be a kind of hermit after what has passed if my family are fairly comfortable.
how glad I will be to see you. I sometimes wish I could talk to or
feared loosing, was almost gone. the time was up and J. had writen a letter & went to mail it, deeding it to a man for just what was to pay on it but just then he recd a letter from Brother David with a five hundred dollar check & later Willis Hand sent one hundred dollars which cleared the payment, & payed the taxes on the whole & a little more, but in the fall he will again be at the mercy of the R.R. co & fears he will have to tose it all as a payment of one thousand dollars & arrears, too perhaps, will have to be made on the two sections (about three thousand will clear the [illegible]) & the third section being school land, is to be payed by one hundred dollars a year payments for about sixteen years. J. says he would be willing to let it all go with his three thousand dol. worth of impro-
-vements also about fifteen hundred dollars which he personally has payed on it, if he could only get enough to pay Sarah out of it, & could get anything to do to make something to live on & pay debts but there is no prospect of making a living, debts out of the question. God only knows what we are to do. John is perfectly discouraged & held down with seemingly incumountable difficulties old & new & does not know what to do or where to turn. after he got rid of the horses (which was sold at a big loss) J. was partly promised help to buy some sheep to put on the place which seemed to him & others to be the best investment, but it was so late when he got through with the horses, he was put off for it till another fall & no certainty of it then.
with you I dreamed you were here the other night. I hope you are not writing too hard. I hear you are going to write for The Century again. We have not heard that Mary & family have moved to Kearney yet. we anxiously hope they will make us a visit on their way. we are better now but have all had this La Grippe or influenza except May. John & John had it light. it griped my hard for two weeks but I am much better but so nervous. Give my move to Louie & the children, what a comfort & pleasure the little girls must be to you all now, also remember me to Dr. & Mrs Strentzel. pardon me John if I have done wrong in writing this doleful letter, but your kindly sympathy is precious
1890 Feb 1
Original letter dimensions: 20.5 x 25 cm.
Reid, Margaret Muir, "Letter from Maggie [Margaret Muir Reid] to John Muir, 1890 Feb 1." (1890). John Muir Correspondence (PDFs). 1880.
Reel 06, Image 0348
Copyright status unknown