Annie K[ennedy] Bidwell


John Muir



in those four days we went to Big Meadows & Butt Valley, and collected lovely flowers. Took my press and portfolio. Gathering flowers is very fascinating but the pressing is trying. Dr Gray says I “send noble specimens”. Is not that encouraging? In the last lot, sent recently, I have some things which I think precious, but Dr Gray’s report will prove. One beauty I found on our “summit”. You remember the “Summit” of the Mountain [illegible]ad, where we get the grand view of “Lassen” & the chasm beneath us? General is so interested in the collection of plants that he facilitates my getting them, even when we are in haste, so we pass some by. (He has found several which delighted him, & he was “sure they were new”, but the report did not so say, & he has to be reconciled. Dr Gray says some of my specimens are “rare;” , some, “bulbs & seeds never yet obtained”. One had been “found before only by Hart[illegible] on the Sacramento, probably at Chico”. its name is “Antirrhinum Coruntum” What I ought

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Rancho Chico Sept 4th 1878

Dear Mr Muir.

Last night’s mail brought yours to my sister, which we read, as directed, and will forward tonight. What grand opportunities you are enjoying for studying that which so interests you, and which you have chosen for you life work. My sympathies are heartily with you, and my prayers too, that God may long spare you to study His noble works and give the world the benefit of your [illegible]- ons (though pleasant) labors. Your enthusiasm in your work is what misleads persons to imagine you are on a grand picnic; to think you ought to “settle down”, when really you are at the hardest kind of work, though in the sight [underlined: of your own [illegible]] it appears play. One secret of my enthusiastic sympathy is that you give God the glory due unto his name, and as I said, I do pray daily for you that you may trust in

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weeks from date”, and in that time I had no opportunity to write, owing to our hav- ing a lady with us in the last stage of consumption, who died on the 14th of Aug. at our house. Her case was the saddest I have ever met, & enlisted my heart and hands, fully, so that I could not write you though I was anxious to do so, for I had not been able to thank your for your pleasant good bye letter, as Mrs Covley came to us a few days after my return from San Francisco. General has been too busy to write you, but enjoys your letter extremely, & intends writing so soon as he can crowd a letter into the space [ allowed?] him for many more duties than he can perform. He is putting up a build- ing for our Agricultural fair, and — Well, I will not begin or I shall not know where to end. He went to Tehema Monday night on business for an estate for which he is one of the executors, returning this morning, so your letter came in most


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Shasta! What a grand time we had. Billy is so fat that I question whether even you could fasten a saddle on him sufficiently securely for safety on those Mountain sides. He is looking very handsome, but eyes me suspi- ciously whenever I attempt to be very friendly with him. Sa[illegible] mule pet! With another mule, have done mount, ain service this summer. General drove them the last time he went to the Mts, & rode Pet, & pronounced her the tamest & easiest mule he had ever ridden. But I must say adew. This is for General and myself, and so these are no apologies needed for its length! Trusting that your return may be in safety, & your trip in every way a success, I remain Very Sincerely Your Friend Annie K. Bidwell
Mr John Muir.


To do is to thoroughly study botany, and General and I purpose doing so if we can carry out our plans. We had a letter recently from Prof. Gunning, from Waltham Mass. He said he intended visiting Dr Gray in a few days and talking up Chico and Shasta”. We have a lovely lawn this summer, [illegible] to our new water works being in operation. The fig tree is undis- turbed and I know you would enjoy a lounge under it. We have a few seats scattered over the lawn and pleanty of shade & beds of flowers, but the latter being cultivated flower can not hope for your favor. General was in San Fran- cisco but Sabbath on Monday, and your card stated you expected to leave the city on Friday, so we did not call. Otherwise we would have done so. General expressed regret afterward that he had not called at a venture. I attended a pleasant party at General McDowell’s, and a “lunch” at San


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Mateo. Spent a few days at Black Point with an army officers’ wife who is a rel- ative of mine. The scenery from Black Point is fine. Had sails on the Bay. You suggest that you may go East the coming winter, and may visit Washington. I hope you will, for you are as far on your way that you will find it easier to continue than to start from San Francisco. I hope you will like Washington. Dont judge it too hasti- ly, or you will wonder wherein is the attraction as my San Francisco friends seemed to wonder wherein were the at- tractions of our Camp life, over which we so exulted. To them there was the snow, & ice, & rain, and dust and hard- ships, To us a world of pleasure. Sympathy is necessary to enjoyment, whether it be in city or country. If one is not in sympathy with the country he will see no beauties there, and the


same as regards to city. When I first go to the city all seems lonely and dreary, but on reflection I remember the citys’ charm is its society, and I enjoy that even when longing for the country; also there are other advantages which it is superfhious to mention. I make this little plea for Washington lest you judge it too hastily, and because it was long my home. I would like you to see Mamma and Papa also. You will like them I am sure. They may possibly come to see us this winter but it is not probable. They are now at Saratoga They were in Meadville Penna, but left my sister there to extend her visit, & are now at Saratoga, & thence to Mass. Sallie expects to visit New York, and Berk- shire Mass. later. This time last year we were busy packing our Camp equi- page, and a little later we were on


Rancho Chico [Calif.]

Date Original

1878 Sep 4


Original letter dimensions: 20 x 26 cm.

Resource Identifier


File Identifier

Reel 03, Image 0890

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.


4 pages


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



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