D[avid ] G[ilrye] Muir


John Muir [et. al. ]



Portage Wis Dec [7?] / 82

Maggie Sarah Louie & John yr before beauty

Dear sisters & brother I have long intended to write to you but a convenient time never seems to come, Katie says I must write today or never so that explains my position, I have to write eight or ten letters nearly every day & it seems as though I could not find time for my ‘foreign correspondence’! We are very busy in the store at present, lots of business, folks are all well, as usual as far as I know Katie is about as usual - children all quite well. I am better than I’ve been for years, weight 150 lbs. Week before last I thought you were well off in escaping the cold weather, 18 to 24 below zero, had to get up in the night & stir up the fires in two stoves & pile in the fuel to keep every thing in the house from freezing, and we have had hard winter weather ever since. We have a good deal of snow six or eight inches but not good sleighing. We were glad to receive letters from you Maggie & Sarah and the thought of your climbing mountains & gathering flowers [illegible] [illegible] or trees also blossoms made us think less of home & sigh for ability & means to fly south with the birds at the appoach of Jack Frost

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but seeing we cant, perhaps it would be better for us not to know of any better climate (when ignorance is bliss, ‘tis folly to be wise’). John do you remember our bedroom at Hickory Hill? on the north side – never [smelt?] fire nor sun – window none too light three in a bed, Dan in the middle. the quilts all frozen about our faces in the morning & how awful cold it was to get up in the morning & dress & go down to the kitchen bare footed oo-oo-oo. it makes me shiver to think of it. and going to Portage with load of corn – running behind the wagon to keep warm & having to eat frozen bread for our lunch, I dont want & have not had any of that kind of diet since. perhaps recalling some of those cold memories may make us more thankful for present comforts. it does me. Sarah I have seen David quite a number of times since you left, he looks well & I believe he is glad you are having such a grand change so dont hurry back on his [a/c.?] Maggie I have heard from [illegible] twice lately but all on business, - did not say whether he was lonesome or not. Christmas is almost here again & we go to mothers as of you, perhaps this will be the smallest Christmas gathering we have ever had. it seems to grow smaller & mother seems to feel it keenly & still she never complains much. She is very well this winter so far, has very comfortable quarters & has not very much to do. She reads a good deal & is always glad to see any of her own folks.


Parry was elected to the State Senate last fall so I will be kept close at home all winter. his health is poor,

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[illegible] I saw Dave Galloway to-day & he looks well, Sarah dont hurry home on his [acc.?] he wants you to stay as long as you want to. & still he keeps insisting that it is [illegible] strange that you can be happy when he is so miserable but dont mind him. Ill write him & make him ashamed of himself. If you come home sooner than you incline. he will blame yourself. It has rained for the last 36 hours & now it has turned to snow. When [Silver?] Cliff pans out I’m going to Cal. I think I would prefer to go there than to Scotland. Jno when are you coming home?-dont come in the winter - I would like to see you if you have passed the re[illegible] of your Sist[illegible] I’m afraid a few more years your brothers would not know you If it was not so busy a time I would write you a long letter [deleted word] [&?] So excuse me, Wishing you a Merry Christmas & a happy New Year, and all of my best wishes I remain

Yours Very Affectionately D [G?] Muir

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P.S Sister Louie I hope you will come to Wis some time I should like to get acquainted with you, dont judge of the Muir family by the specimens you have seen. D.[G.?] Muir



Portage, Wisc.

Date Original

1882 Dec 17


Original letter dimensions: 62.5 x 20 cm.

Resource Identifier


File Identifier

Reel 04, Image 0954

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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