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United States. Office of Indian Affairs / Annual report of the commissioner of Indian affairs, for the year 1883
([1883])

Report of agent in Texas,   pp. 136-137 PDF (865.8 KB)


Page 136

136                  REPORT    OF AGENT IN     TEXAS. 
during the hunting season last fall a large number of deerskins were taken,
and the 
total sales were upwards of $1,000. Unlike many of the white hunters, the
Indians 
save all they can of the deer they kill. No doubt sometimes they kill deer
too poor 
to save; but as long as dried venison, &c., is a necessary article of
diet, they are not, 
as a usual thing, going to wantonly destroy game, simply for their hides
or skins. 
HOUSES OF INDIANS. 
There are 75 frame houses occupied by Indians and 22 log houses. Seven frame
houses were built during the year, all by the Indians themselves. None of
them are 
very costly, but are good, comfortable buildings. 
INDIAN FREIGHTERS. 
The Indians have hauled with their own teams upwards of 40,000 pounds of
freight, 
mostly Indian supplies, from The Dalles. For their work they have received
near 
$400 in cash. 
SUBSISTENCE OF INDIANS. 
Fully nine-sixteenths of this is obtained by the labor of the Indians, for
themselves 
or others, in civilized pursuits, and seven-sixteenths by fishing, hunting,
root gather- 
ing, &c. There is an increasing demand for Indians as sheep herders,
stock herders, 
assisting in gathering up and branding stock, especially cattle. Quite a
number of 
men devote nearly the entire working season to gathering up stock and helping
drive 
them to the various markets, especially Portland, Oreg. 
EMPLOYIIS. 
My present force of white employ6s consists of one physican, one clerk, two
teach- 
ers, and one assistant teacher. All the rest of the employ6s are Indians.
While we 
miss the society of those of our own race, it seems best for the future of
these Indi- 
ans to throw them upon their own resources as rapidly as possible. Knowing
that 
this is the wish of the Government, I have bent all my energies in this direction,
and 
expect that success will crown my efforts. The year has been one of progress.
The 
seed sown will yield an increase some time in the future years. I cannot
hope to see 
the full fruition. Others will reap the richer harvest from these years of
toil, but to 
me there is joy in knowing that my own hands have gathered in some of the
ripening 
grain. 
Very respectfully, your obedient servant, 
JOHN SMITH, 
United States Indian Agent. 
The COMMISSIONER OF INDIAN AFFAIRS. 
TONKAWA SPECIAL AGENCY, 
Fort Griffin, Texas, August 10, 1883. 
SIR: In compliance with instructions from your office, I have the honor to
submit 
the following as my annual report of the affairs at this agency for the fiscal
year end- 
ing June 30, 1883: 
Since making my last annual report there have been no important changes at
this 
agency. The tribe of Tonkawas is in camp a few miles above the town of Fort
Griffin, 
and they depend partly on the rations which are issued them by the Government
and 
partly on hunting and fishing for their subsistence. The game is very scarce
in this 
vicinity, and in consequence they often suffer for want of food. The amount
appro- 
priated by Congress for their support duringthe year 1883 was only $3,000,
and the same 
amount was appropriated for their support the present year. They are on no
reserva- 
tion and own Yio lands of their own, so they can do very little towards supporting
themselves. The soil and climate are not suitable for agricultural purposes,
and the 
only way in which they could be made self-supporting here would be to supply
them 
with cattle until they could get a start. The lands in this vicinity are
being fenced, 
and it will be only a short time before this tribe will be compelled to leave
here, if 
not removed by the Indian Department. 
These Indians claim this country as their original home, and manifest a dislike
to 
leave it; but if they could be furnished a good reservation in the Indian
Territory, 
remote from that of the Comanches, their mortal enemies, there would be no
trouble 
in securing their removal. I have several times called the attention of the
Depart- 
ment to the condition of these Indians, but no action has been taken toward
their re- 
moval. 


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