Bryce Muir

BRYCE MUIR is one of the prominent pioneers of Saline County, Kansas. He has lived in that locality more than fifty years, and if any man can be accounted an authority on the early history and development of that section of the state it is this genial and well known old timer. Prosperity has come to him in large measure during these long years, but he still prefers to keep his home on his fine farm near Salina, on rural route No. 2.

He was born September 9, 1840, in Scotland. He has many of the characteristics that have made the Scotch people famous in all quarters of the globe. His parents were Robert and Jane (Crawford) Muir, also natives of Scotland. In 1854 Robert Muir brought his family to America, and buying land in Southern Illinois engaged in farming. Later he came to Kansas, and he died at Salina May 12, 1892. He was born in 1807, and his wife was born in 1808 and died in Illinois in 1888. There were ten children in the family: James, Ellen, William, Robert, Jennie, all now deceased; Bryce; John; Maggie, who lives in Illinois; Jane, of Salina, Kansas; and Andrew, deceased.

Bryce Muir was fourteen years of age when his parents came to America. Practically all his education was acquired in the old country, and in this country he attended school only thirty days altogether. The Civil war broke out before his twenty-first birthday, and in 1861 he was one of those who enlisted at a call for troops and was mustered into Company F of the Tenth Missouri Infantry. He was fifer in his regiment and served altogether three years. He followed the flag of his country on many a well fought battlefield, but was never wounded. Among other engagements in which he participated were those at Corinth and Vicksburg.

In 1865, after the close of the war, Mr. Muir came to Kansas. He secured a tract of Government land in Saline County, adjoining the present City of Salina at the northwest. He still lives on that farm. Fifty years ago Saline County was a part of the great western plains. Buffaloes roamed in countless numbers, and both the Indians and wild game were plentiful on the very land which Mr. Muir in subsequent years has turned over with the plow and has used for the production of varied crops. He underwent all the experiences of pioneer life. His first house was a 12 by 14 foot frame house. He worked hard and intelligently, and it cannot be said that his prosperity is entirely due to the oncoming advance of civilization and the natural increase of values which followed in consequence. He has made his own prosperity, and is now the owner of 1,800 acres of valuable land. It has all the substantial improvements for which Kansas farms are noted, and for a number of years he was one of the leading raisers of blooded cattle on a large scale in Saline County. When in 1878 Mr. Muir excavated for his first substantial home he discovered three graves whose occupants could give no trace of the tragedy which had brought them burial upon the western prairie. Mr. Muir had always been a republican, though he has never sought office, and is a member of the Presbyterian Church.

On August 3, 1869, in a log house that stood on a farm near Salina, he married Miss Margaret Prather. Mrs. Muir was born November 27, 1844, in Morgan County, Kentucky, a daughter of Archibald and Christina (Hammond) Prather, both of whom were natives of Kentucky. To their marriage were born two sons and four daughters, Jane, born January 14, 1871; Helen, born May 29, 1872; Margaret, born August 23, 1875; the fourth, a son, who died in infancy; Robert A., born November 30, 1878; Christina, born May 20, 1880.


A Standard History of Kansas and Kansans, written & compiled by William E. Connelley, 1918, transcribed by students from USD 508, Baxter Springs Middle School, Baxter Springs, Kansas, May 10, 1999.

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Tom & Carolyn Ward
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