Maggie [Margaret Muir Reid]
Collyer, Kansas, Dec 24th 1890
My Dear Brother John
I wish you all a happy Christmas & glad New Year & every good in time and for ever. This is Christmas Eve May & John jr has gone to the village to a S.School entertainment & Christmas tree. Harry is in Crete visiting Annie & Jessie (having had a chance to go with a shipment of sheep for Mr Arnold the man who owns the sheep John cares for) & John & I are alone & we have just been reading letters from all three they have had a good visit & it H is ready to come home. We have
also heard from the dear ones in Portage Wis. & they are all pretty well. What a blessed thing it is that we can write to each other at least. How glad I am that Sarah & I visited you & your dear ones in your California home so we can think of you all & your surroundings about as they are and we know what a sad vacancy the Death of Good, Kind, & Energetic Dr. Strentzel has made. I am so sorry for Mrs. Strentzel she will feel so lonely But Louie & the children will be if possible more to her than ever. I feel bad John awful sorry to think that your kind help in money matters to so many of us
has so far proved so much worse than fruitless to you & I do hope & hope & pray that ere very long times may be better for all. & you did right in this last case. John has been sorry many times he got so much land, but he had money in the bank drawing ten perc't interest $2000. & that on the land was only six perct & at that time the stock market took a big tumble & the [RVZ?] had 6000 fat sheep ready to ship & that money & about everything else went. & John thought he would sell the land (& he could have sold for more than double, twice as much anyway as what he payed for it) but monied friends offered to see him through & every one thought it was too good an investment to throw away. W Brown was there about that time when John wanted to
sell the land for six dollars an acre & he said "no I can sell it for 7 dol. but dont you do it John, it is worth more", Then the President of the Crete Bank wanted to buy out Sarahs share for $6000, which would just have doubled all the money she had. We wrote to Brother David & Sarah about but David did not think he knew enough about it to take the responsibility of advising Sarah & John though she might get more by waiting & so these good chances went by. & as I said J lost about everything by those sheep well next year they made some money on sheep but after that by Fosters mistakes & rashness mostly, came loss upon loss. then a big loss when they dissolved partnership. (which I always wished from the first had never been formed) from which John has had no chance whatever to recover
with no means & almost no crops for so long though the Land is good if we only had the moisture. J. has been trying hard to sell it this last summer & Fall for money or more saleable property & had a prospect of selling to a man in Iowa who had a lot of Boys & wanted a big piece of land all together for a stock farm but at the time he was to come & look it over sickness in his family prevented him J has put it into the hands of a Land Agent promising him $500 if he can make a sale but at present for land there is almost no sale only there is more hope of ours so much of it being together, well being helpless in the meantime he J. wrote to the Land Co. stating his case & asking what they would do with him if he failed to raise
the money by the 29 of Dec, they wrote back a few lines to the effect that under the circumstances they would extend the time till Dec. 29. 1891. & oh what a relief it was John. for if the contracts had been cancelled how could we ever pay what was borrowed on it besides what we have payed on it. I do hope we can sell it the comming year. Dear John I did not mean to take you through this long unpleasant story but only to send good wishes for the new year so forgive me John. Give my love to Louie & may the Lord Bless her & comfort her since her great loss of her dear Father. also remember me with kind regards to Mrs. STrentzel & a kiss for Wanda & Helen.
As Always Maggie
1890 Dec 24
Original letter dimensions: 39 x 13 cm.
Reid, Margaret Muir, "Letter from Maggie [Margaret Muir Reid] to John Muir, 1890 Dec 24." (1890). John Muir Correspondence (PDFs). 1984.
Reel 06, Image 0773
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