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United States. Office of Indian Affairs / Annual report of the commissioner of Indian affairs, for the year 1884
([1884])

Report of agent in Texas,   pp. 153-155 PDF (1.4 MB)


Page 153

REPORT    OF AGENT IN      TEXAS.                  153 
AGENCY BUILDINGS. 
Perhaps out of charity for the former agents at this agency, I should refrain
from 
making any further mention of the public buildings here. In appearance there
is 
nothing to commend them. The dwelling-houses for the employds are old and
com- 
paratively worthless and badly in need of repairs, if it is the intention
to have them 
occupied for some years to come. [t is but justice to my immediate predecessor,
Cap- 
tain Smith, to say that he called attention to their conditiou several years
ago, but 
he had not since that time been furnished with the means to keep them in
repair and 
at the same time make new improvements, while some of those who preceded
him 
who had ample help and funds at their command to erect good substantial buildings
made no adequate showing for the means furnished them, only on paper as it
appears, 
by giving rose-colored reports to the Government of the extensive improvements
made at this agency, when in fact there is nothing to show that the funds
were 
judiciously expended and for the greatest good of the Indians. 
FARMING IMPLEMENTS. 
The implements used here in farming as a rule are very inferior, and in most
in- 
stances worn out. As to labor-saving machinery, there is but one mower on
the reser- 
vation, and that, is the private property of an Indian. They cut their grain
as a rule 
with the ordinary mowing scythe, or old-fashioned grain cradle, while some
have to 
use the old reaping hook. The plows, when new, are not such as would sell
among 
farmer's in this vicinity, not being considered a good plow for working our
soil. Some 
use harrows with wooden teeth, while others, more fortunate, use iron-tooth
harrows. 
There is no machinery of any kind that will clean grain fit for sowing, in
consequence 
of which the land has became very foul, so much so that a crop can scarcely
be raised 
except on the newest lands Hence the necessity for the Government, to remedy
the 
many defects in the present system of farming, furnishing the Indians with
better im- 
plements to work with. 
As farming is now carried on it is at best only a.drudgery, and it is only
the Indian's 
wants and desires that keeps him on the farm. Agriculture is one of the great
civil- 
izers of men, and it certainly will be the part of wisdom on the part of
the Govern- 
ment to make more liberal expenditures in the future than it has in the past;
for as 
soon as the Indian becomes self-reliant and self supporting it relieves the
Govern- 
ment from any further care, so far as he is concerned; and instead of being
an ex- 
pense he becomes a tax payer anI a citizen, a thing that the Government and
the 
agent should try to bring about at as early a date as possible. 
CAPT. JOHN SMITH. 
In making my annual report, it would hardly be complete did I not make some
more mention of the late agent, Capt. John Smith, who had charge of this
agency 
almost continuously for the last twenty years previous to my taking charge
of the 
same. He labored honestly and faithfully in discharging his duties. One of
his great- 
est desires in life seemed to be to elevate and civilize the Indians under
his care, and 
he never tired or faltered by the wayside in carrying out his purposes. He
taught 
not only by precept, but by the example of his every-day life, what was right
for them 
to follow and imitate, and warned them of the evils around them, and admonished
them to ever do right. Thus for the last twenty years of his eventful life
he had 
been doing his greatest work, faithfully discharging his many duties, and
at last, in a 
ripe old age, he gave up this life, with the consciousness of having done
all things 
well, the Indians feeling that they had lost one of their truest friends,
and the Gov- 
ernment may well feel that it has lost a faithful and honest officer. 
Respectfully submitted, 
ALONZO GESNER, 
Indian Agent. 
The COMMISSIONER OF INDIAN AFFAIRS. 
TO:NKAWA SPECIAL AGENCY, :FORT GR[FFIN, TEXAS, 
AuguLst 9, 1884. 
SIR: In compliance with instructions received from your office, I have the
honor to 
submit the following as my annual report of the affairs at this agency. 
The Indians under my charge consimt of 78 'lonkawas and 19 Lipans. These
two 
tribes are so intermixed that, for all purposes of this report, they may
be considered 
as belonging to one tribe. Between these Indians and the whites there exists
the most 


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