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

Reports of agents in Idaho,   pp. 52-57 PDF (2.8 MB)


Page 54

54                  REPORTS OF AGENTS IN IDAHO. 
LEMHi INDIAN AGuNcY, IDAHo, 
Angus* 20, 1879. 
SIR: In obedience to instructions eotained in circuiar letter dated June
 18, 1879, 1 
have the honor to submit the annual report of this agency for the fiscal
year ending 
June 30, last. 
The year began with serious anxiety on the part of the settlers in consequence
of the 
threatened outbreak of that portion of the tribe known as Bannacks. So great
was 
their fear that they erected a stockade at either end of the valley, the
o*e 30 miles 
north, the other 19 miles south of the agency. In addition to this danger
therewas 
the probability that some of the hostiles who were then in Western Idaho
would travel 
via Lost River and Birch Creek on their route to the British possessions,
and in doingj 
so would approach within a few miles of the agency. The former difficulty
was over- 
come by a large number of the Lemhi Indians leaving the reservation for the
Yellow- 
stone and Museleshell, on the 23d July, for the purpose of hunting buffalo.
On the 15th of August I was notified by a courier from Salmon City that the
hotiles 
were already on Lost River and had begun their work of death and destruction;
that 
Jesse McCaleb, one of the leading men of the Territory, had been killed,
and that the 
warriors were approaching still nearer. Having no military protection and
no possi- 
ble means of obtaining it, I deemed it advisable to remove the remaining
Indians to 
Salmon City until the danger was past, and abandoned the agency, taking to
that 
point such property, including the files and records, as was possible. Having
learned 
that the hostiles had passed toward the National Park, I returned to the
agency on the 
17th of September and found numerous indications of the presence of the Indians
daring my absence. 
On'the night of November 2, two of the hostiles, who had evidently strayed
from the 
main band, came into my camp, and, being captured by the policemen on the
following 
morning, were brought to the agency, disarmed and removed to the jail at
Salmon City, 
at which place they were killed by the citizens, after being imprisoned one
month. 
The order consolidating this with the Fort Hall agency, and for the transfer
of the 
Indians hence to Fofrt Ha1, was dated January 7, 1879, and the necessary
preparations 
for the removal of the government property were completed by the 15th of
February, 
but in consequence of the inelemen1cy of the weather it was deemed impraetidabie
to 
attemhpt the removal; until the spring. Ten Doy, chief, returned from the
buffalo 
country early in May, and bitterly pr6otsted against the change, while Peggd,
the sub- 
chief, and evil genius of the tribe, openly stated that he would go to war
rather than 
remiove to Fort a1. i amconfident theIndians have made a great mistake by
such 
acti6n. 
On May 2'!, your telegram instruictng me to proceed with farming operations
was 
received, too late to sow any grain whatever, and I was compelled to confine
the crops 
to potatoe, pease, ruta agas, and other similar articles, but am glad to
inform you there 
is a flattering prospect of a large yield. 
A residence for the employ~is, a barn, and houses for the Indians should
be built; the 
agency buildings are in need of rep air, and, in order to secure lumber for
these and 
kindred purposes, a saw-mill should be erected with as little delay as possible.
In 
view of the prozimity of good timberin.-the mountains and an excellent site
for the 
mill near the agency1 an abundance of good lumber could be manufactured with
but 
little erponse other than Indian labor" and the sericesof a sawyer.
The-machinery 
for this uiill was purehused at Mount- Vernon, Ohio, on the leterf October
last, but 
for some unaMcountable rern the contractor for transportatio has-until ,the:
present 
tire failed to deliver it. 
The Skoshouos. and ffheepeaterr are well disposed and peaceably inelined,
and no trou-. 
ble need be apprehended from them spart from the asociation and influeece
of the 
Bannacks; and with proper encouragement they could in a few years be made
self-sup- 
porting. The Bannack8 are warlike, disagreeable, exacting, and selfish, both
to those 
of their own race and the whites, and will doubtless be the cause of occasional
trouble 
as long as they are located so far distant (175 miles) from the nearest military
post. 
To the Shoshiones and Sheepeaters I am indebted for all the labor that has
been per- 
formed during the pasvt year as farmers, laborers or policemen, but the Bannacks,
though comparatively few in number, are responsible for the disturbance of
the peace 
of the valley, for the immense loss of crops to the settlers in 18 78 in
consequence of be- 
ing obliged to abandon their homes to insure their personal safety, and for
retarding 
the worln of other Indians by throwing down fences, turning their horses
into fields 
uinder cuiltivation, and other similar conduct. 
Ten Doy, the chief of the tribe, deservedly enjoys the confidence of the
settlers, and 
since his return in May talks a great deal in regard to the welfare of the
Indians, and 
is apparently anxious that they shall be taught industrious habits and become
self- 
sustaining farmers. He thoroughly comprehends the situation in which they
are 
placed, the scarcity of buffalo and other game upon which they have been
subsisting 
for many years, and the necessity of turning their attention to other and
more reliable 
pursuits; and in order to accomplish the greatest good in the way of civilization,
I have 


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