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

Papers accompanying the report of the Commissioner of Indian Affairs, 1874,   pp. [85]-[180] PDF (27.0 MB)


Page 92

92 
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REPORT OF THE COMMISSIONER OF INDIAN AFFAIRS. 
trees are dwarfed and stinted, and are of barely sufficient size for fuel.
The 
1 the BoxElder was found to be good and abundant, for the valley is narrow,
short distance from its mouth it ends in gorges cut out from the bad-land
for- 
that lie in front of Harney's Peak. While here we saw the trail of Indian
moving toward Cheyenne agency, and also the trail of a large war party mov-
ard the hills. We saw no Indians. We deemed the country unsuitable for any
of agriculture, and unfit for long occupancy of any kind, and so determined
ce our steps, and return to the valley of the White River. There being no
issable route, we were obliged to return through the defile or pass traveled
by 
ming to the Cheyenne. 
aching White River, we were desirous of continuing our march down that 
but found just below our point of departure the bad lands close in on either
the river, so as to make any road impossible. 
SOUTH OF WHITE RIVER. 
lcrefore crossed over to the south side of the stream to find a trail through
the 
, just below the belt of bad land lying along the river. We were guided by
irin, a half-breed Indian of the Brule Sioux, and by Thigh, a warrior of
the 
.be. The services of both these men were invaluable to us. They led us with-
ident or loss of time through a most difficult country, and by new routes,
:nly to Indian trappers and hunters. The first night out we staid on Porcupine
iear a butte of the same name and an elevated mass of bad land, terininating
ape very like a large colseum or pavilion. Here we found but little water
y scattering timber. The following day we reached Corn Creek and Bear in
ge, both streams having running water, (the latter in abundance,) and the
val- 
)rding grass for hay, but not wood enough for fuel for a settlement. The
next 
interest was Eagle's Nest and its branches, the intervening streams being
either 
ontaining little water. Eagle's Nest Creek forks about twenty miles south
of 
?iver, and betweeen the forks rises Eagle's Nest, a beautiful butte of rocky
for- 
some two feet in elevation above the surrounding prairie. The top of this
very singular, being a level table of land of three or four hundred acres,
cov- 
bh grass and fringed at its upper end with large trees of pine. The country
ut is very beautiful. Grass is abundant, and there is a considerable growth
of 
cotton-wood along the streams, and at their headwaters there is some pine.
er, however, is very shallow, and seemed, from the underlying grass and weeds,
rgely from some heavy rain-fall near the source of the stream. The country
mo good in soil, and the scenery so attractive that we were sorry not to
find in 
thing that was needed for our location. 
TEE SOUTH FORK AND THE MISSOURI RIVER. 
en this place and the South Fork, or Little White River, we crossed only
two 
the Black Pipe and the Grass Lodge. The divides between them are high 
ken prairies, and their valleys narrow and almost destitute of timber, and
we 
ound water for our stock. Our guides took us to South Fork, about eighteen
ove its confluence with the main stream. We found the water abundant and
id also considerable bodies of timber, (oak and cottonwood,) but none of
it large 
for making lumber or house-logs. The soil is sand, and the entire valley
is sub- 
nundation. Starting from this point, Commissioner Lines and Lieutenant Craw-
de an inspection of the country on Oak Creek, the only other stream tributary
e River between the Forks and the Missouri. They also examined the bottoms
he mouth of the South Fork, and the valley of the Little White River as far
ir camp. The prairies were found to be rough and hilly, and the bottom-lands
nd subject to inundation. The trees were mostly cottonwood, and though in
aces there are large groves of this, yet as the Indians destroy it so quickly
for 
their horses in winter time, it could not be depended upon for the supply
of 
for an agency. 
ing from this camp, also, Major Howard and myself made a trip through the
ountry between Little White River and the Missouri, at Fort Randall, a dis-
one hundred and thirty miles. We found good grass in abundance along the
of the Keyapaha and Ponka Creek, but on neither sufficient timber for fire-
Ccming back we examined the headwaters of South Fork, and while there is
ore timber than below, the valley is very narrow, and affords no land fit
for cul- 
iissioner Lines, on his return march westward, examined also the headwaters
4's Nest Creek and of the Big White Clay. At the former place he found some
.t not in sufficient quantity nor of good quality to suit our purposes. At
the 
ream he found water in abundance and good grass, in the hills abundance of
ne, and in the valley considerable elm and other hard-wood timber. He and
I 


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