|Birth: ||Jul. 6, 1847|
|Death: ||Aug. 9, 1905|
Contra Costa County
The most fitting tribute can be best summed up by the words of her own daughter, Helen Lillian Muir. From a letter Helen wrote to a friend she says:
"Louie Strentzel Muir, a remarkable woman, was a wonderful mother," the letter begins. "To her parents, Dr. and Mrs. John Strentzel, she was ever a devoted daughter and a great comfort to them in their later years. Mama longed for a son but had only the two girls, and I was a sickly child…"
The letter continues, in part, "As to mama's life with my father – John Muir – she was the perfect helpmate. His interests, lifework and health needs became her own life work too and she did all she could, gladly and willingly to help him. Some recent biographers have tended to make a sort of martyr of my mother, but that was not the case…
"Mama did not enjoy traveling and the crude hotel accommodations of that time seemed to upset her. She much preferred to remain at home and look after the ranch. Her father, rancher and physician, had taught her much about fruit raising long before her marriage and she took pride in her ability to ‘carry on', leaving papa free a part of each year to make his summer trips and continue his studies in Alaska and the Sierra. Though we had a good ranch foreman, papa did nearly all the planting and was home again to harvest the principal crops.
Loved Fragrant Flowers
"Mama loved flowers and especially fragrant ones. Never since leaving the old home garden at Martinez have I seen so many lovely, fragrant things in one garden as we had there. Of course, there were roses of all kinds, but the great thicket of single Cherokees were by far the sweetest; and there were jasmine, honeysuckle, lavender, lilies, wisteria, magnolias and heliotrope. On a warm summer's night, the old garden was heartbreakingly sweet, every flower a favorite of my dear mother.
"mama was interested in astronomy, loved poetry and was quite a musician. She loved to walk in the garden on clear nights, study the start and point out certain ones to me. When she was a young girl, her father (Dr. Strentzel) bought her a beautiful Steinway grand piano and she learned to play beautifully, she beautifully. Some of her friends tried to persuade her to go in for concert work but she never did.
After her marriage, Mama played very little while Papa was at home. For a very good reason, it seems, he could not endure piano music while he was writing, and his study was directly over the parlor where the piano stood. (Before marriage, Papa lived for several months in the home of friends in San Francisco and the young daughter of the family was learning to play the piano. She hated it but, being made to practice, she really pounded it out, near Papa's room, where he was trying to write for publications.) Mama understood and did not play for Wanda's and me, but always when Papa was away. One of Wanda's sons now has the old Steinway Grand, and I have been told that his wife plays well.
Become Muir's Adviser
"Mama loved to read, especially of world affairs and she especially enjoyed the Review of Reviews and the World's Work magazine. She was greatly interested in new inventions, and had a strong prophetic sense of things to come. She was fond of birds, especially humming birds and grosbeaks. She never wanted to have her picture taken, but we do prize the few we have. Papa always turned to her as his trusted critic and adviser. She lived to be only 58, passing away in 1905. We all grieved for her, of course, and as I grew older I typed all his manuscripts and correspondence as well as keeping house and cooking, though we did employ a Japanese boy for general work.
"Needless to say, I felt the honor keenly of taking Mama's place as No. 1 critic of his writings, but I fear I was a poor substitute for my mother, truly a remarkable woman."
John Theophil Strentzel (1813 - 1890)
Louisiana Erwin Strentzel (1821 - 1897)
John Muir (1838 - 1914)
Helen Lillian Muir (1886 - 1964)*
Muir-Strentzel Hanna Cemetery
Contra Costa County
Maintained by: Lori Lumsden Smith
Originally Created by: Kaaren Crail Vining
Record added: Apr 30, 2006
Find A Grave Memorial# 14129109