John Muir was born in Dunbar, Scotland, on 21st April 1838 and grew up with a love of wild places. He moved with this family in 1849 to Wisconsin, America where his family started a farm. Growing up in a strict Christian household, he was supposed to have memorised all the New Tetstament and much of the Old. Despite, or maybe because, of that, he was never restricted by conventional views.
Extracts from the accompanying The Greatest Scot television programme are being added to these biographical notes as the programme is broadcast between November 9 and 13. If you live outside the UK, you will not be able to see these, but you may enjoy other videos about some of the subjects which are available via links in the te
In 1867 he walked from Indiana to Florida and the following year he moved to San Francisco. His introduction to Yosemite Valley, California, was a transforming moment and led to his campaign to preserve wilderness for wilderness’ sake.
He hated the blatant waste and foolishness of man and yearned for people to love and respect the wilderness.
He was a man whose life was nothing short of inspirational. His writings are clear, vibrant and full of prophetic wisdom – he was one of the first to realise that all species are interconnected and “hitched together”.
As his fame and following grew, the then President, Theodore Roosevelt, wrote to him in 1903 to ask John to take him to the mountains. During this pivotal time, John talked to Roosevelt about the importance of the wilderness to the human spirit and the nation as a whole. As a result, by the time he left office in 1909, Roosevelt had added 100,000 acres to the forest reserves, created 6 new National parks and 53 new wildlife refuges.