S. Hall Young


S. Hall Young


John Muir


Butler, Butler Co. Pa, Apr. 17, 1890

John Muir;

"Dear my friend & fellow student, I would [lean?] my spirit oe'r you." Reading your exquisite descriptions in Picturesque California has given me an irresistible impulse to write to you; not to renew our friendship, for I will not admit that that has suffered a moment's break or decline. But I want to hear from you again & to know some things from you. I subscribed for Picturesque Cal. just before leaving Cal. last month, because you were its editor & principal writer. I have received five numbers, & the last left me breathless in the midst of a sentence on the Yosemite. It is certainly a great work - the most perfect of its kind that I have



ever seen. The engravings are beyond criticsm & only surpassed by the descriptions. I shall await the other numbers with impatience. I did not get to San Francisco at all after leaving Alaska. I bid farewell to my "beautiful fruitful wilderness" in July '88, stopped a few weeks in Or. & then went direct to Los Angeles, & soon settled at Long Beach, where I preached until the first of last month. I have come to Pa. to remain. I shall soon be settled, I hope, over a good congregation, where I shall have a good field of usefulness, & where I shall receive a salary sufficient for my wants & those of my family. I hope at last to have a home, which is a luxury I have never yet enjoyed. My dear wife & my two girls, Abbie - 10 1/2, & Alaska, 9, are still at Long Beach. I don't want them to travel in the hot season,


& I want to have a place all ready for them when they do come. I keep quite busy, lecturing, preaching & writing. I have at last commenced my book on Alaska. It will be a narrative of personal experiences & impressions. My life was so full of adventure there that it ought not to lack variety. The descriptions of scenery will give me most pleasure in writing, & the long poems you & I read together on the sublime pages of that country will occupy a principal place. The adventure I tell oftenest, & with most effect in lectures & sermons is your rescue of my helpless self from that frightful predicament in the mountain. And believe me, my wonder at your strength & gentle skill, and my gratitude, grow with the years. I shall publish some of the chapters of my book in the



New York Evangelist - more as an advertisement than for any other purpose. I am staying with Father at present, & his house will be my headquarters for some time. He is 84 years of age, & is strong & well, preaching nearly every Sunday, & working at his Commentary on Proverbs - a happy, green old age. I have a brother in Alaska at [Howean?] - married to a Scotch woman we took out there to teach in our school. The Wrangel mission, I am sorry to say, has greatly declined, so I am informed. The man who took my place doesn't seem to be the man for the place. Of your Tlinkit friends I do not know that there are any left whom you would recognize but Lot, who is as outwardly correct & as avariciously incorrect as ever. Dr. Jackson is still (in his own notion) monarch of all he doesn't


survey in Alaska, & is still engaged principally in blowing his own horn, which has, however, become somewhat thin by constant use, & has lost its power to thrill the public as of yore, though it is as brassy as ever. Jackson Islands, & Sheldon Bays, & Sheldon Jackson Points, & Mount Jacksons, & Dr. Jackson Glaciers thickly bestride the [illegible]. How many children have you, my friend? Have all been spared you, & does Mrs. Muir keep well? Are her father & mother still alive? You sent me the account of your father's death, which I have in my scrapbook. No children have been born to us since the sweet but, whose fading you witnessed in Oakland. The spirit of Mother Nature stirs within my mightily at times & it is hard to stay within the prosaic bounds of civilization. My whole body tingles to be gone to the mountains &



the islands again. What full delight it would be to spend a few months with you again in canoe & forest! Oh! for a whiff of glacier air & a drink of glacier water! My arms have grown quite strong - haven't been out for two years & a half. Please tell me in what number of the Pict. Cal. will the article on Alaska appear. Have you published, in accessible form, any other letters on Alaska or letters on your trip up [Lacource?]? If you have please give me the name of the publishers. I had one trip in Cal. full of enjoyment. I took my 8 year old Alaska last summer, & we went as far from settlements as we could get, up the San Bernardino Mts; & in a grand pine & cedar forest, by a beautiful trout stream, 8 miles from the nearest house, we spent a happy month, & I found health & strength & thought.



Give my kindest regards to Mrs. Muir. It will always be a regret to me that I saw so little of her, & that Mrs. Y. failed to meet her. But the fault was not hers or yours, & on our part sad events made it impossible. Little Wanda must be a big girl - as old as my Alaska, whom I call Lassie. Now please write me again.

Yours as ever,

S. Hall Young.

I shall of course send you my writings, when finished, as far as they relate to you, that I may not put in anything you would disapprove of. How is your fruit ranch doing?


Butler, Butler Co., Pa.

Date Original

1890 Apr 17


Original letter dimensions: 22.5 x 14 cm.

Resource Identifier


File Identifier

Reel 06, Image 0423

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

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.


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