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Dictionary of Wisconsin History

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Term: John Muir Country (Historic Marker Erected 1969)


Hwy. 22, 8 mi. S of Montello, Marquette County

It was over this road that John Muir traveled to such early settlements as Kingston and Pardeeville. Muir was eleven when he came here from Scotland with his father, brother and sister in 1849. His mother arrived with her other children after a home had been carved out of the wilderness. They settled west of here at "Fountain Lake," at what is now John Muir Memorial Park. Here, surrounded by the beauties of nature, Muir began his love of wild animals, flowers, trees and waters. Later, the family moved five miles east to the Hickory Hill Farm. Muir's early education began at home. His mechanical skill was demonstrated by many ingenious inventions. He entered the University of Wisconsin but left without completing his studies to travel throughout the West on foot. While hiking through the Sierra Nevadas, he found his real inspiration and life work. His many and persistent articles and letters persuaded Congress to pass the National Park Act in 1890. This was the beginning of a formal national park movement.

"Everybody needs beauty as well as bread; places to play in and places to pray in, where nature may heal and cheer, and give strength to body and soul alike."... John Muir.

[Source: Source: McBride, Sarah Davis. History Just Ahead (Madison:WHS, 1999).]

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