David Muir


David [Muir]


John Muir




Portage, Wis., April 2 1878

My Dear Brother John
At last Iv’e got started writing to you I really do feel ashamed of myself for permitting myself to neglect answering your always welcome letters I think however the cause is hard times, unprosperous times, & the terribly hard Scratching to make business go at all Last harvest everything looked more than usually promising good crop fair prices &c &c It rained all the fall. We had no winter – mud all through the winter months. So we had no fall trade & no winter [illegible] [in margin: 00782]

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& as we had a [ lage stock?] we had to pay for our goods before they were sold consequently had to borrow a great deal & then the goods sold so slowly that the profits did not half pay expenses. So Ive been blue & worried & fretted & it seemed to me that I would be glad to run away without a cent just for freedom’s sake. I wish you could find a rich gold mine so that I could get enough to pay our debts How I have envied your freedom from care & trouble & still I would not take your single blessedness Our hope is that the tide will turn & if it does I’ll get out of this as soon as I can do so write a whole [ hide?] We have an expensive establishment, in good times it pays & in bad times we lose

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Money & lately we have had worse times than usual, but the last fall & winter cow’s [illegible] My folks are pretty well now I enclose pictures of Willie & [ Johni?] our youngest two ‘My family are [underlined: all] at School Johnie is 5 ½ years old & a jolly chap, he is although he looks sober in the picture. Father is reported very healthy & contented in Canada Mother Mary & Annie are well Saw most of them yesterday Joanna had a bad week last week poor girl She has been pretty well all winter & looking well most of the time. She needs lots of patience

[in margin: 00782]

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& deserves lots of sympathy & love Her sickness seems to make her more lovely & sweet in her disposition everyday. She has quite home & everything she needs & wants for which we should be thankful Jno Reid is on the rampage in Nebraska or Kansas. Maggie is just about her usual. looks pale & tired & yet most of the time able to be about. riding out & working too. her girls Annie & Jessie are big strong well behaved sensible girls Sarah is pretty healthy looking for her & her folk are well About money I will try to send you some in June will that do? I wrote to Dan that you needed money he answered that he would send it to me before this time, but he has not done so yet. He reports doing a large business but cant collect

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on acct of the hard times Dan is doing splendidly he has a Sas[illegible] practice & is very successful he says he can book $4000. [ per?]year. I often see men from Racine who all report him very successful & in high standing in that city as a physician How I would like to see you & yet I would not like to have you here now because things are so blue & it dont seem as if I could have time to enjoy you as I would if every thing was lovely. Write soon. Your letters do me good I see all of your letters they go all the

[in margin: 00782]

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round of the family. As soon as a letter arrives from you all have to see & read it a great many from the country enquire for you. Most Maynard is strongly in love with you. also Mrs McRrath & David Thompson When & in what Magazine will your next article appear. I generally watch the co[illegible] & [illegible]. a copy as soon as the new monthlies arrive here the last I got was the Ouzel piece Now that the spell is broken perhaps I will be more brotherly hereafter so write again & try me & believe me always most affectionately Your Bro David


Portage, Wis

Date Original

1878 Apr 2


Original letter dimensions: 20 x 14 cm.

Resource Identifier


File Identifier

Reel 03, Image 0754

Collection Identifier

Online finding aid for the microform version of the John Muir Correspondence

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

Holt-Atherton Special Collections, University of the Pacific Library. Please contact this institution directly to obtain copies of the images or permission to publish or use them beyond educational purposes.


6 pages


Environmentalist, naturalist, travel, conservation, national parks, John Muir, Yosemite, California, history, correspondence, letters



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