July 7th 1899
Prof. John Muir
My Dear sir: -
I picked up today a recent number of current literature which contained an extract from Prof. Olaf Ellison's article in the May "Self-Culture" paying an enthusiastic tribute to what you have done for science and manhood, and then I found and read the entire article.
The short biography therein fully answers, I think, a query that has floated through my mind many times for the last thirty eight years, [illegible]: "What became of the John Muir, who, in the spring of 1861, occupied a room in North Hall of Wisconsin University and had whittled out the wonderful docks, and made a thermometer out of a piece of [zinc?] washboard, and arranged the mechanism which would tilt his bed and awaken him on a
summer morning but allow him to sleep if the morning was lowsy?"
I am very glad indeed that my boyish mental prophecy that my friend of those days would amount to something has been realized.
I remember you, doubtless, much better than you do me, for that short term - spring of 1861 - was the only college education my limited resources ever permitted. And the next summer found me carrying a musket in the ranks of the 22d. Wisconsin Infantry, and so on, "endurin the war". Three of us from Racine county occupied rooms together on the second floor of North Hall. Perhaps you will better remember my roommates, Wm. Fuller and John E. Goldsworthy. Fuller is now a leading physician in Grand Rapids, Mich. specialist in brain diseases. Goldsworthy
I have lost track of for several years, but he was a lawyer in Springfield Mo. for some time and was once candidate for Congress but not elected.
I feel that I ought to apologize for burdening your time with these reminiscences, but my life has been spent in a struggle for bread and butter in small towns out of the current of travel, so I seldom meet old acquaintances. I had never heard one word of you since on parted in Madison, and the shock of surprise, and sense of happy discovery on reading the magazine article was so great, that I have not resisted the temptation to write and ask whether you are really the clock man. It should be funny if my discovery should prove only a coincidence
1899 Jul 7
Original letter dimensions: 27.5 x 21.5 cm.
Reid, Harvey, "Letter from Harvey Reid to John Muir, 1899 Jul 7." (1899). John Muir Correspondence (PDFs). 2419.
Reel 10, Image 0869
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