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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 56

56                  REPORTS OF AGENTS IN IDAHO. 
CROPS. 
The season, so far as crops are concerned, has been beyond all precedent
in the 
country. With plenty of rain in the fore part, keeping the ground well moist,
and in- 
tensely hot weather later, it ripened the grain quickly. With an acreage
in 1878 of 
3,022 acres, they produced 20,000 bushels of wheat. In 1879, with an acreage
of 3,172, 
they had a yield of 34,380 bushels of A No. 1 wheat, an increase of 14,380
bushels. It 
is no uncommon event to raise 60 bushels to the acre on virgin soil. In vegetables
they 
have 6,5O0 bushels this year against 2,100 raised last. Owing to the wet
weather, corn 
fell back a little on last season. It can never be raised successfully here,
as the cli- 
mate is not adapted to it. It has been my aim, as far as possible, to impress
on them 
the idea of cultivating all the land that they could properly attend to,
and in many 
instances they have done beyond the most sanguine expectations. Were the
govern- 
ment to furnish a breaking-plow, harrow, and the like, suitable to breaking
and turn- 
ing in soil that is beyond the power of their 6Cayuse" ponies and common
plows, 
much land could be improved that now yields nothing but the rankest of rye
grass 
that is much taller than the beads of horse and rider. Of their energy in
agriculture 
I can say with pride that Indians who support themselves entirely without
subsist- 
ence by the government, whoprocure oftheirown accord and their own expense
wagons, 
harness and other farming implements beyond the amount furnisbed them by
the gov- 
ernment under treaty, who do so without the least complaint that the government
is 
neglecting them, but procure them because they are absolutely necessary in
their 
work, is self-evident proof that the present policy of the Indian Office
has been and is 
correct at least so far as the Nez Perces are concerned. 
EDUCATIONAL. 
Owing to the burning of the boarding and school building at Lapwai, the educa-
tional effort has been seriously deterred. Transferred to temporary quarters
and under 
the energy and adaptability under trying circumstances displayed by Mr. and
Mrs. 
P. B. Whitman, the teacher and matron, school has been maintained, the number
of 
scholars being necessarily reduced to 12. The scholars have made excellent
prog- 
ress during the nine and an half months in which school was held. At the
Kamiah 
school, under the direction of Mr. and Mrs. W. 0. Campbell, the scholars
have made 
wonderful progress, children not ten years of age, their first year of school,
reciting 
or writing the multiplication table without a single error and as quickly
as any white 
child could do the same. They all write good plain hands, and in all respects
would 
compare with any white school; and when one realizes this is taught and recited
in 
English, the progress seems greater. 
Last year as many again as were taught were turned away for lack of room,
and it 
is my earnest hope that the department will see the necessity of building
the school 
according to the plans they had the enterprise to furnish. It is my intention
to bring 
from Kamiah (at the completion of the building here) all the largest scholars,
thereby 
accommodating between the two from 90 to 100. They also have five gardens
at both 
schools, and will raise enough vegetables to materially assist them during
the winter. 
A singing school is held during the long evenings, once a week, conducted
by Mr. P. B. 
Whitman. Nearly all have fine voices and make good progress. A day-school
is held 
at Lapwai, under the direction of Miss S. L. McBeth, an appointee of the
Presbyterian 
Board of Foreign Missions. It is attended by eight young men who are studying
for 
the ministry. 
CHURCHES. 
The membership of the two chirches here-one located at Lapwai, having 100;
one 
at Kamiab, 203-is a total of 303. The missionary work is under the direction
of Rev. 
Mr. Deffenbaugh, an appointee of the Presbyterian Board of Foreign Missions,
assisted 
by Rev. Robert Williams, a full-blcod Nez Perc6, who is an ordained minister
by and 
belonging to the Presbytery of Idaho. Services at each of the churches are
held three 
times (11, 1, and 5) each Sabbath, and prayer meetings regularly every Thursday
and 
Saturday evenings at the houses of the different members, conducted by the
elders and 
members. There can be a no more interesting sight than to see from 300 to
400 dusky 
forms, realizing them to once have been the most savage, assembled at church,
rain or 
snow making no difference in their numbers, listening to the interpretation
of that 
word whose gentle spirit has penetrated and tamed their savage way "as
nothing else 
could do"     LI; and the spirit with which they sing such old familiar
pieces as "Bethany." 
"Dennis" or the like would wake to enthusiasm the most fastidious
of an Eastern au- 
dience. They have raised for various purposes during the year $125. Their
member- 
ship is constantly increasing, and the standard of morality is greatly improved
there- 


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