John Muir worked as a mechanic for two years at William Trout's sawmill near Meaford, Ontario (1864-1866). The factory burned
in February 1866, destroying Muir's field journals and putting him out of work. However, the naturalist remained friendly
with the Trout family and maintained sporadic contact with them for the remainder of his life. In his correspondence Muir
discusses his writing, commends Trout's mechanical abilities and debates with him about Darwin's theories.