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United States. Office of Indian Affairs / Annual report of the commissioner of Indian affairs, for the year 1874
([1874])

[Indian Territory],   pp. 218-238 PDF (10.2 MB)


Page 223

]REPORT   OF   THE   COMMISSIONER       OF INDIAN     AFFAIRS,      23 
tion. Some of these small fields are inclosed with a good rail fence. The
remainder have 
patches in the timber, of from one-half to three acres, inclosed with a pole
and brush fence. 
The tribe planted a much larger crop of corn and vegetables than ever before,
and after 
cultivating it a larger number than usual went at my request to the plains
on their summer 
hunt early in Sixthmonth, as all their funds appropriated by Congress had
been used. They 
found the buffalo scarce and very poor, and before they had secured any considerable
amount 
of meat and tallow to bring home, the hostile movements of some of the plains
Indians made 
it necessary to call the Osages to their reservation, where most of them
arrived in the latter 
part of Seventhmonth. They found their crops dried up by the long-continued
drought; 
what did mature was nearly all eaten up by the myriads of grasshoppers which
came from 
the north, except an early Indian corn. At this date they have consumed about
all the food 
they provided during the year, and being deprived of the privilege of now
going to the plains 
for buffalo, on account of the continued hostilities there, they are entirely
dependent on the 
appropriation made by Congress for support, until able to raise another crop.
INDUSTRIES. 
In addition to those made by the mixed-bloods, the civilizing full-bloods
have split and laid 
up in good fence during the year 140,000 rails and last year over 80,000.
The indications 
now are that this rate of progress will be more than maintained during the
next year. 
The inducements to labor given last year are continued. They are paid $1
per hundred 
for rails when split, and $1.50 more per hundred when laid up in a good staked-and-ridered
fence, promising them a team and assistance to break up all good prairie
they can thus fence, 
and when they have ten acres or more inclosed and under cultivation, a wagon,
plow, and 
harness is to be given them. Twenty persons are now entitled to wagons under
this arrange- 
ment, which have just been purchased for them. Several others who are competing
for these 
prizes failed by an acre or two, but are surelbf winning next year. 
Twenty-eight hewed-log houses have been built for blanket Osagres, and well
finished, the 
Indians cutting and scoring the logs, and assisting in hauling and putting
them up; they 
were not paid directly for this labor, but a greater incentive was offered
in a set of furniture 
consisting of bedsteads, tables, chairs, cupboards, washtubs, dishes, knives
and forks, &c., 
which is now being given them and to those who built houses last year. 
No encouragement or assistance is given to any of the Indians to build houses
until they 
first have a well-fenced field of several acres, as experience has taught
me that they will not 
live in houses until they have first learned manual labor. Most of those
having such fields 
are cutting logs and erecting houses. 
During the past hot, dry summer the Indians have enjoyed the cool well-water
when vis- 
iting the agency. 8everal of them have dug wells on their farms, being paid
by the foot 
after a good supply of water was obtained and the well properly walled. 
A large number of well-selected fruit-trees have been purchased and distributed
to those 
having suitable ground well fenced; also a large supply of garden-seeds.
They were 
assisted by white employgs in setting out their orchards, of which they are
justly proud. 
Last fall I furnished the mixed-bloods with about 400 bushels of seed-wheat,
with the un- 
derstanding that they return a like amount this fall at the agency mill.
They have realized 
a good yield. Forty-acres was sown on the school-farm with like result, most
of which 
was well bound and shocked by blanket Osages. Most of this class who have
five acres or 
more in cultivation are now preparing their ground to sow it in-wheat, expressing
a great 
desire to raise their own bread. 
The Osages have about twelve thousand ponies, which they have generally wintered
on 
the plains. I have endeavored to provide for them and agency stock by having
about 2,000 
tons of hay put up at the agency and stations, and on Indian farms, at a
cost of from $1.621 
to $2.50 per ton. I apprehend a great many of these ponies will die this
winter if they are 
confined to the reservation for grazing. 
The smith-shops at the agency and three stations have required the services
of four smiths 
regularly and three temporarily. 
The shoe and harness shops have required the constant labor of two good workmen,
assisted 
occasionally by four of the school boys, who have become quite skillful.
From three to five men have been constantly engaged in the wagon and cabinet
shops in 
repairing agency and Indian wagons, manufacturing and repairing farm-implements,
making 
furniture for Indians, &c. 
The carpenters have been engaged in finishing and repairing Indian houses,
building 
shops, fences, and making furniture for the Indians. 
The saw-mill has not been operated since Thirdmonth last, but previous to
that time in 
this year has cut 250,000 feet of lumber, which has been used in the service.
The mill will 
now be run during the fall and winter, providing lumber for houses now in
course of erec- 
tion and other purposes. Several hundred thousand shingles have also been
cut and use- 
fully expended. 
The machinery for grinding corn has been in operation some months, and that
for making 
flour is now" being placed in the mill. 


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