Marcius C. Smith


John Muir




March 12th 1901

Mr. John Muir,

Martinez California;

Dear Mr. Muir;

I have wondered for many years prior to the year 1893 if the John Muir, the indefatigable geologist botanist and discoverer of glaciers, was the same man who was so kind and attractive to me, and Indianapolis boy many years ago. The short sketch in the Century of May '93, where it states that John Muir went to Indianapolis and entered the employ of a large wagon material factory (Osgood & Smith) convinced me that my boy friend of the Early seventies, is the selfsame man who discovered Muir glacier. I am the youngest son of S. F. Smith and remember well when you ran the rip saw at the factory. On Saturday I would "clean out hubs", count spokes,


[2] Last

and do other work, that wood give me a little pocket money. I think I was at the factory at the time you had your distressing accident. You were lacing a belt I think, and in pushing the lacing through the eyelets with the sharp end of a file, your hand slipped and the point of the file penetrated your eye. Last.
When you were convalescing I visited you on the South Side. You had two front rooms; my first call may be called a charitable call - The other frequent calls were selfish calls, because I was fascinated with you and your wonderful collections and inventions. You had a rough wooden clock of three wheels I think standing in front room - something you had hastily gotten up for your Sunday school class. Then your bed which would drop the sleeper to the floor at any desired hour, throw the cover from his sleeping frame, light the lamp and do almost everything but dress him, was an ingenious novelty. You had me climb into the bed and set the "alarm" for five minutes. Your large wooden clock was in the



wall at the foot of the bed, and as the cylinder slowly wound up the cord attached to the foot of the bed, I grew more anxious and uneasy. I soon was on my feet, and the lamp burning! After my first visit, I hurried home, bent upon making a large wooden clock, and hair g[illegible]meters, and pyrometers. But alas the clock would not materialize, and the dials of the other instruments were crude and inaccurate. You may have forgotten all of this, but I have not. Then it was your intention, so you confided to me, to make a botanizing turn through South America. I begged you to let me accompany you, you half promised that when you entirely recovered your health and were ready for the strange and wild ramblings, that you would write me and I could then join you, if I so determined. I am still waiting for that letter!



What varied and interesting experiences you have had since then. I have long settled down to a prosaic and dull business career. I am always fond of travel and extremely partial to the picturesque inland streams, seated in my canoe. I have canoed down the Thames England, and the [Nekar?] Germany besides many rivers in Iowa & Illinois. But those cruises are only for recreation and pleasure. My father died in 1879. After he retired from business he travelled abroad two years, and soon after his return, he died. He was a noble man - selfmade and big hearted. [Now?] Mr. Muir excuse this long scattering letter. I would be greatly pleased to hear from you, you interested me when a boy, you now interest me as a great man. If you ever come to St Louis don't fail to call on me.

Yours very truly

Marcius C. Smith.


St. Louis

Date Original

1901 Mar 12


Original letter dimensions: 27.5 x 21.5 cm.

Resource Identifier


File Identifier

Reel 11, Image 0637

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.


4 pages



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