Life & Legacy

Who was John Muir?

He was a farmer, inventor, botanist, geologist, explorer, mountaineer, writer and pioneer of nature conservation.

John Muir was born in Dunbar, Scotland, on 21st April 1838. As a child he developed a deep love of the natural world. This grew into a lifelong journey, both physical and spiritual, of exploration, revelation, hardship and wonder. His introduction to Yosemite Valley, California, resulted in his campaign to preserve wilderness for wilderness’ sake. This led to the establishment of the world’s first national park system. Today he is remembered as a pioneer of the modern conservation movement.

Important events in John Muir’s life:

1838   John is born in Dunbar on 21st April

1851   Goes to Davel Brae School

1849   Leaves Dunbar and begins his new life, farming in Wisconsin, America

1850   Gets up at 1am to read and build his inventions

1860   Leaves home to show his inventions at Madison State Fair, Wisconsin

1861   Starts classes at the University of Wisconsin

1864   Travels to Canada, finds work as an engineer

1867   Sets out on 1000 mile walk to Gulf of Mexico

1868   First visit to Yosemite Valley, California

1879   First trip to the glaciers of Alaska

1880   Marries Louie Strenzel. Adventures with Stickeen in Alaska

1881   Daughter Wanda is born

1886   Daughter Helen is born

1890   Yosemite becomes a National Park

1892   John and his friends start the Sierra Club

1893   Travels around Europe, and visits Dunbar while in Scotland

1894   First book published – ‘The mountains of California’

1895   Trip to Europe and visits Dunbar

1903   World tour, including Europe, Asia, Far East, Australia and New Zealand

1911   Tour of South America, including the Amazon, and Africa

1914   John dies of pneumonia in hospital in Los Angeles on Christmas Eve