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United States. Office of Indian Affairs / Annual report of the Commissioner of Indian Affairs, for the year 1875

Reports of agents in Indian territory,   pp. 267-289 PDF (11.2 MB)

Page 267

REPORTS     OF   AGENT3 IN     INDIAN    TERRITORY.              267 
Baxter Springs, Kansas, October 11, 1875. 
SIR: I have the honor to submit the following report of my operations in
connection with 
the proposed removal and settlement here of the captive Indians in the Indian
On April 2, in pursuance of instructions of date March 26, 1875, Office of
Indian Affairs, 
I proceeded to the Quapaw Indian reservation in the northeqtstern part of
the Indian Territory, 
for the purpose of making arrangements v ith the Quapaws for the relinquishment
of a part 
of their reservation to the use of the captive Indians who were to be taken
in hand for pur- 
poses of civilization. I found the Qaiapaws in a destitute condition. As
they depend for 
subsistence almost entirely on the products of the soil, a partial failure
of their crops the 
year before had left them with barely enough tro prevent starvation. They
have a reserva- 
tion of some sixty thousand acres, not one-hundredth part of which is occupied
or yield- 
hi g any income beyond a few dollars collected yearly from cattle-drivers.
I therefore had no 
difficulty in securing all the land necessary, it is believed, for the experiment
of civilization 
with the captives. 
The chiefs and headmen of the tribe signed an agreement to relinquish forty
acres of their reservation, the price to be fixed by the Government thereafter.
Agent H. 
W. Jones, of the Quapaw agency, was present and assisted in the negotiation.
now secured a location for the settlement of the captives, I went to Lawrence,
Kansas, for 
conference with Superintendent Hoag and Gen. J. P. C. Shanks, who had been
appointed a 
special commissioner to remove them, and then returned to the Quapaw country
to prepare 
for their reception and settlement. 
With the approval of the Department, a stone house 100 by 30 was at once
built, and two 
hundred and seventy acres of prairie-land broken and planted in sod corn,
and about four 
hundred acres fenced. While this work was in progress I received orders from
the Indian 
Office (June 30th) to proceed to Fort Sill and assist in removing the Indians.
I arrived there 
on the 4th of July. General Shanks, the special commissioner referred to,
had preceded me, 
and, after a somewhat extended investigation, had determined to take no steps
toward the 
removal of the Indians until the rendition of his report and action of the
Department thereon. 
He informed me that, in his opinion, a change had taken place in the status
of the Indians 
whose removal was contemplated, and for that and other reasons he doubted
the wisdom 
of the plan proposed. As General Shanks's report fully explains his reasons
for delaying the 
removal of the Indians, I need not recite them here. In view of his determination
to take 
no steps toward the removal until the receipt of further instructions from
the Department. I 
deemed it advisable to return to my duties here, and await the action of
the Department 
The tract of land secured from the Quapaws fir the experiment of civilization
with these 
hostile Indians is remarkably well suited to the purpose. It has for its
northern boundary 
the State of Kansas, and for its eastern the State of Missouri, with an industrious
people scattered all along the line in both States; while on the southern
border are the civ- 
ilized Peorias, Ottawas, and Miamies, whose influence must certainly be felt
for good. The 
example of the Modoc Indians, so recently at war, will prove a benefit. They
are living 
near the southern line of this tract, and, since their removal here, have
so conducted themselves 
as to win not only the admiration and praise, but the sympathy and friendship,
of the entire 
white population in their neighborhood. 
There is but little if' any lawlessness among the Indians in this part of
the Territory. 
During the last six months, or since my arrival here, there has not been
a case of arrest 
among the Indians, or a disturbance requiring the notice of the authorities.
It would be 
difficult to find a white community of equal size of which the same could
truthfully be said. 
It is true there is more or less drunkenness among the Indians; but as the
sale ot liquor is 
absolutely confined to one or two dealers, (old and well-known offenders
in Kansas,) it will 
not be hard to put a stop to the traffic when the proper time arrives. 
For farming and grazing purposes the land referred *to is unsurpatsd, to
Say the least, in 
this region. It is well watered, and affords an abundance of timber for building-purposes
and for fuel. Spring River and Tar Creek cross it from north to south. Both
of these streams 
supply fish to the neighboring markets. The climate is mild and healthful,
and not unlike 
that to which the Indians in question are accustomed. 
It will be largely to the advantage of the Government if the Indians whose
removal is 
contemplated be settled here, on account of the great reduction in the cost
of transportation 
that would follow. The track of the Missouri River, Fort Scott and Gulf Railroad
is laid 
to the very line of the reservation, while the Atlantic and Pacific has a
depot within eight- 
een miles of our store-house; so that supplies, if shipped by the former
road, would be 
landed within two miles of the commissary buildings; and if by the latter,
but eighteen 
miles of wagon-transportation would be necessitated. 
There are other advantages than the very important one mentioned that would
re+ult from 
the settlement here of the captive Indians. The Quapaws do not need the land.
They are 
exceedingly poor, and are without proper means to aid them in their attempts
at civilization. 
The sale of their lands at this time, and the proper disposition of the money
received, would 

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