John Muir


[John Muir]


Sarah [Muir Galloway]


00758 [1] [1877]

Thanksgiving eve at old 1419 Taylor St

My dear Sister Sarah – I find an unanswered letter [illegible] yrs dated Sep 23d & though I have been very hungry on the mtns a few weeks ago I have just been making bountiful amends at a regular turkey thank feast of the old New England type I must make an effort to answer it however incapacitated by “stuffing” for [illegible] upon it this Turkish method of thanks does make the simplest kind of literary effort hard, - ones brains go heavily along the easiest lines like a laden wagon in a bog but I can at least answer your questions – The Prof’ Gray I was with on Shasta is the writer of the school botanys the most distinguished botanist in America, & Sir Joseph Hooker is the leading botanist of England. We had a fine rare time together in the Shasta forests discussing the botanical characters of the grandest comfe[illegible] trees in the world camping out & enjoying ourselves in pure freedom – Gray is an old friend that led around Yosemite Years ago & with whom I have corresponded for a long time. Sir Joseph I never met before He is a fine cordial Englishman

[Page 2][2]

President of the Royal Scientific Society & has charge of the Kew botanical gardens & a great tr[illegible] but perfectly free from all chilling airs of e[illegible]ty . He told me a great deal about the Himmalayas the deadar forest there & the gorgeous shad[illegible] that cover their flanks with lavish bloom for miles & miles & about the Cedars of Lebanon that he visited & the distribution of the species in different parts of Syria -, & its relation to the deadar so widely extended over the mountains of India . & besides this scientific talk he told many a story & kept the camps in fine lively humor. On taking his leave he gave me a hearty invitation to London & promised to show me through the famous government gardens at Kew & all round etc etc - - When I shall be able to avail myself of this & similar advantages I don’t know I have met a good many of Natures nobleman one way & another out here & hope to see some of them at [ there living?] but my own researches seem to hold me fast to this compar[illegible]ity solitary life. Next you speak of my storm night on Shasta Terrible as it would appear from the account printer the half was not told but I will not likely be caught in the same experience again – Though as I have said, I

[Page 3]3 [3]

have just been very hungry – one meal in four days coupled with the most difficult nerve trying cliff work. This was on Kings River a few weeks ago. Still strange to say I did not feel it much & there seems to be scarce any limit to my endurance

I am far from being friendless here & on this particular day I might have eaten a score of prodigions thank dinner if I could have been in as many places at the same time but the more I learn of the world the happier seems to me the life you live. You speak of your family gatherings – of a weeks visit at Mothers & here & there – Make the most of your priviliges to trust & love & live in near unjealous generous sympathy with one another, for I assure you these are blessings scarce at all recognized in their real divine greatness. Remember me to Jane Mitchell Root & all the Galaways You ask whether you are to keep Mrs Moores letter – Keep it if you can for if she is no relation of Merrill Moores but a friend whose acquaintance I made here Merrill is now a man. studying hard & successfully in Yale College We had a company of fourteen at dinner tonight

[Page 4][4]

& we had what is called a grand time but these big eating parties never seem to me to pay for the trouble they make though all seem to enjoy them immensely – A crust by a brook side out on the mountains with God is more to me than all beyond comparison- Nevertheless these poor legs in their weariness do enjoy a soft bed at times & plenty of nourishment. I had another grand turkey feast a week ago Coming home here I left my boat at Martinez 30 miles up the bay & walked to Oakland across the top of Mt Diablo, & on the way called at my friends the Strentzels who have eighty acres of choice orchards & vineyards – where I rested two days, my first rest in six weeks, they pitted my weary looks, & made me eat, & sleep – stuffing me with turkey, chicken, beef, fruits, & jellies, in the most extravagant manner imaginable & begged me to stay a month. Last eve dined at a French friends in the city & you would have been surprised to see so temp- =erate a Scotchman doing such justice to French dishes – The fact is I’ve been hungry ever since starving in the Mtn Canons. This evening the gents would ask me how I felt while starving? Why I did not die like other people How many bears I had seen - & deer etc How deep the snow is now & where the snow line is located etc. Then up stairs we chat & sing & play piano etc & then I slip of from the company & write this. Now it near midnight & I must slip from thee also wishing you & David & all your dear family goodnight with love


1419 Taylor St. [San Francisco, Calif]


Original letter dimensions: 31 x 40 cm.

Resource Identifier


File Identifier

Reel 03, Image 0619

Copyright Statement

The unpublished works of John Muir are copyrighted by the Muir-Hanna Trust. To purchase copies of images and/or obtain permission to publish or exhibit them, click here to view the Holt-Atherton Special Collections policies.

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.

Copyright Holder

Muir-Hanna Trust

Copyright Date



4 pages



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.