Sarah M[uir] Galloway


John Muir



Portage Wis.

Feb 10./91

Dear brother John

Yours of Jan 13. was gladly received, a letter from your hand always brings pleasure with it, but you have been so exceedingly busy these last years they have come few, and far between. I am sorry that business drives you so unmercifully that you find it necessary to work in the night, as well as the day. I hope that in some way matters may be so arranged that you will be able to take things more moderately



In both of your last letters you have requested me to let you know if I was in need of some ready money for household expenses, while my means were so tied up. Now John I thank you most heartily for your kind thought of me, and I feel that it is only right that I should let you know how, I have been getting along. Well to begin with, all, belonging to the estate now, is invested in that Kansas land, and I have not received one cent from it for more, than three years. There was two notes due us in Fort Winnebago that was not paid up, when John


2. [3]

Reid got into trouble, at first I think they amounted to about two hundred and fifty or sixty dollars, from that source I have received some money, my wood for fires alse the greater part, of the butter and eggs, I have needed, and potatoes for winter use &c Then I have raised some potatoes, and all the vegetables I could in the garden. Anna and Celia have helped me when it was necessary, Anna more especially as I have also had to borrow a little from her when I was in need. then a year ago past last summer Joanna and the children came and took rooms that I could


spare and boarded with me under the circumstances I have been obliged to put it [in?] that way, though at first I had to force myself to do it, things had always been so different, and there was always so much of everything in the shape of food when we were all together on the farm) well she staid the next winter, and when she found she would have to be in Portage last summer she thought she would like rooms on the ground floor and enough of them so that she would be more comfortable during the warm weather, then July and August she spent in the Country, in Sept Anna who had been teaching


3 [5]

one of the city schools and staying, or boarding at home was married, (Louie would tell you all about it when you come home from Alaska as I told her about it at the time) she always insisted on paying her way as she called it Even her marriage expenses, when she was [gone?], I did not know which way to turn, David said I need not worry, but it seemed terrible to be dependent, even for a time, I carried the matter to the Lord as before and sooner than it seemed possible and in the most natural way, things seemed to be arranged so that it was possible for me to go on comfortably again.



Miss [Dates?] came to board with me and attend school then Joanna came back from the country telling us that Walter had been at Kansas City and had sent on her [goods?], he seemed to think it probable that she might have to be in Portage for some time yet and she spoke of looking for rooms or renting a house, so I told her that she might have my parlor and what rooms she needed up stairs if she thought she could be accommodated in that way and that Grace and I would do our best and get the meals for all, we have always done so for Mother and Aunt Annie as well, so every thing was


4 [7]

arranged, she came in Sept. and has been here ever since, she seems to think if possible she may be with us for some time yet, perhaps all summer, and as long as things continue as they are now, we get along by being very careful, we all live comfortably, the only running debt I have is my rent, and David is willing to wait for it until something can be got out of the land. As things are now it is possible for Grace to be at home, she is only seventeen yet, is too young to teach school and it is a comfort for me to have one girl at home, she is good help and together we can manage to keep things going, Aunt Annie helps about



the dishes generaly if she is well enough. You ask how mother and Annie also Joanna are off for money. It seems rather queer to have given you such a long string about myself and house affairs first, which I fear you will be tired of before you get through, but you put it that way and I commenced at the beginning. Well David knows better about what Mother has, than I do, but she always looks nice, and comfortable and well dres[illegible], her rooms are cozy and comfortable and no matter what stir or hurry may be going on in other parts of the house nothing of the kind enters there, she reads her papers

5 [9]

and books and receives her company, if she wishes the children a while, she enjoys them (she just loves the baby) and if she gets tired, she has quiet again, she keeps her rooms in order with help from Annie sometimes, if anything extra is required she gets other help, then her expenses for living are small, so if there is no great income neither is there any great [outlay?]. I think mother enjoys unusually good health for a person of her age, she has a little of her old trouble once in a while, but her simple remedy always helps her, I am so glad that she can go out and enjoy her friends, if


just cheers her up and does her good, from what I know about Annie’s affairs, without asking, I should think that the money she had saved was not far from being gone, Mother helps her about getting things, she has paid me five dollars per month for board since she came home, Mother has paid me the same amount for the past few months, but for the years back of that much less, Walter sends Joanna plenty to keep her and the children comfortable and nice, Walter has been having a hard pull, but seems to be working hard and hopefully and aiming at great results. I had a letter from John Reid

6 [11]

last month in which he said that he had had to make great efforts to keep the land contract from being made null and void, but in the end he was told that if he would pay the taxes, they would extend the time of payment on the land one year, he has had a hard time of it on account of the failure of crops, but for some reason thinks this may be a better year and that he may be able to do something to help matters before the time of payment arrives, I am sure I hope it may be possible, I will send you the clipping you ask for, Celia sent it from Lomah. I do not know what paper she took it from. This is an awful long letter, you might almost as well



begin to read a newspaper, I send love to all,

Very Affectionately

Sarah M. Galloway.

Do you remember a lady by the name of Miss Kate [Worth?] who went to Alaska on the same boat with you, she is a niece of George [Lindsay?], who married Walter Sanderson’s daughter Mrs Sanderson spoke of her in her last letter to me, she enjoyed her trip so much,



Portage, Wis.

Date Original

1891 Feb 10


Original letter dimensions: 20 x 13 cm.

Resource Identifier


File Identifier

Reel 07, Image 0061

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.


7 pages


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



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.