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United States. Office of Indian Affairs / Annual report of the commissioner of Indian affairs, for the year 1879
([1879])

Report of agent in Utah,   pp. 137-140 PDF (2.0 MB)


Page 137

REPORT OF AGENT IN         UTAH.                    137 
UINTAH VALLEY AGENCY, UTAH, 
Augu8t 20, 1879. 
SIR: I have the honor to submit the following as my ninth annual report of
the con- 
dition and progress of this agency and the Indians under my charge: 
It is gratifying to be able to report the continued kindly disposition, good
conduct, 
and industrial habits of our Indians. With few exceptions it is believed
they will 
compare favorably with any other in the service, especially when the amount
of encour- 
agement and support they receive from the government is considered. 
Anxious as we are to make a good showing as to numbers, we cannot report
as many 
as we did last year, viz, 430; the number this year being only 402. The difference
be- 
tween the births and deaths will not account for it. We know of several,
with their 
families, who come here occasionally, but spend most of their time elsewhere.
These we 
have not counted this year, which accounts to some extent for the difference.
Though 
the number of births and deaths do not show an increase, yet our theory is
that they aye 
now increasing in numbers, and that the decrease is accounted for by the
rejection from 
out count of those who spend most of their time elsewhere, and the greater
difficutly 
in getting the number of births than the number of deaths. Our figures to
the con- 
trary, we are confident that there is a small increase which future enumerations
will 
show. 
FARMING OPERATIONS AND PRODUCTS. 
By reference to my statistical report it will be seen that there is considerable
increase 
in products. At the commencement of the farming season this year I called
my Indians 
together and urged upon them the necessity for doing more than ever before,
and sug- 
gested that they could, by the extra seed furnished by the government, raise
all the 
wheat needed for flour and thus save the funds for other purposes. Many of
them 
seemed to think they could do so, while others expressed doubts. I finally
told them 
that I had concluded not to estimate for any flour, and that they must therefore
make 
extra exertions to provide for themselves. They did so, and many of them
changed 
their locations for better ones, opened new farms, and made strenuous exertions
to raise 
an extra crop. They used all the seed provided by the government and much
of their 
own, putting in a greater number of acres than usual, and in an improved
manner. 
This refers not only to wheat but to other cereals and vegetables. 
From the energy and diligence manifested at the commencement of the season,
we 
were sure of a largely increased production, but early in the season the
grasshoppers 
made their appearance in great numbers and for a time seemed to cast a gloom
over 
all our prospects. Indeed at one time I feared nothing would be left, but
after the 
first panic we encouraged the Indians to fight them, as much with a view
to see what 
could be done as with the hope of saving their crops. Most of them did so,
and those 
who went to work energetically saved most of theirs, but some became discouraged
and gave up, as did some white people elsewhere, and of course lost nearly
all. On 
the whole much more was saved than was anticipated, so that after all the
ravages of 
these pests, we think, after a careful estimate, that they will have at least
2,000 bush- 
els of wheat left. It is confidently believed they should have had over 2,500
bushels 
at least, which would have afforded them a pretty good supply of flour. We
think 
the showing in our statistical report, to which you are referred for the
amount 
produced, and which we feel assured, judging from former estimates, will
hold out, is 
a good showing, considering the discouragements with which they had to contend.
Of course those who gave up for want of pluck will have very little and will
have to 
depend on bartering with others for what they need. I think it may fairly
be claimed 
that our Indians are making slow, to be sure, but gradual progress in the
amount and 
efficiency of their farming operations, considering the small means at their
disposal 
and the difficulties with which they have to contend. 
From the extraordinary dryness of the season our hay crop is very light,
so that 
neither the Indians nor the employds, for the use of the place, have been
able to 
gather as much as usual. After the wheat harvest, which is now pressing us,
we may 
be able to increase the amount of bay, but not to any considerable extent.
Thecereals 
seem to be quite as good as estimated so far. 
INDIAN STOCK AND OTHER PROPERTY. 
There appears to be a greater increase of Indian stock than usual. This arises,
it is 
believed, from their greater care of their stock, and also from a more careful
and ac- 
curate count than we have been able heretofore to get. Their increase in
stock is 
evidence of their diligence in looking after it and appreciation of its value
as a means 
of future subsistence and aid in their farming operations. Notwithstanding
the in- 
crease it is noticed that they draw more fully from their cattle, than formerl
y, for their 
subsistence. By noticing the number of cattle owned by our Indians (1,1'24
head), it 
would seem that they ought to supply all the beef they need. This certainly
could be 


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