United States. Office of Indian Affairs / Annual report of the Commissioner of Indian Affairs, for the year 1879
Reports of agents in Indian territory, pp. 57-80 PDF (12.8 MB)
64 REPORTS OF AGENTS IN INDIAN TERRITORY. In compliance with instructions I advertised for bids for the building of two school- houses and a warehouse upon the Washita River, according to the plans and specifica- tions presented; but as all these bids were above the sums appropriated for each, none were accepted. It having been determined several mouths sin 3e to construct these buildings with skilled labor hired for the purpose, and under the superintendence of Mr. Bowden, the agency carpenter, who is a very competent man, work was at once commenced upon the school-house for the children of the Wichitas and affiliated bands, which ina few weeks will be completed. This house is being erected very near to one that was built for employis, containing eight rooms, in order that it may be used for school purposes. The two buildings will accommodate about 150 scholars. The saw-mill is running constantly, sawing timber for a war~house and a school- house for the Kiowa and Comanche children, and it is intended that work shall com- mence upon them so soon as the Wichita school-house is completed. Logs have been cut some miles up the Washita River, and it was intended to float them down to the mill during a rise in the water, but unfortunately there has been none, and this will necessitate the drawing them some miles with oxen, which is a tedious undertaking. As in any event it will be some mouths before the warehouse and necessary build- ings can be completed, temporary arrangements will be made for the storing of com- missaries, that all Indians of the consolidated agency may receive their rations at this place. When the consolidation was first announced the Wichitas and affiliated bands made some complaints, but when in a council held with them I disabused their minds of an erroneous impression they had received, and stated correctly the effect of the change, all opposition ceased. The Kiowas and Comanches have not made any special objec- tions-indeed.many have been heard to express themselves as favoring it, and if they are not influenced by designing whites, who wish to make trouble, I believe nearly all will acquiesce- in the change. It is natural that a few who have houses and farms opened should prefer to remain where they are, but I think those who have not will willingly remove up and settle near the Washita. BUFFALO-HUNTS. The Indians did not start on their winter hunt as early as usual. Much opposition was made to the organization of the police force, and some, especially the Comanches, were not willing to put their chillren into the school. I refused to issue to them their annuities or give them passes to go on the hunt until a sufficient number of young men were furnished for the police and the school-house was filled to its capacity. It was not long after my determination was announced to them that both requests, had been complied with, and they were on the road to the hunting grounds. Finding but few buffalo, and the weather being extremely cold, they were soon in a suffering con- dition. When I learned of this, I sent out Mr. Clark, the interpreter, with some sup- plies for their relief, and with instructions to bring them in as soon as it was possible for them to move. The ground being covered with snow, so that their ponies, already poor, could not graze, some time elapsed before they reached the agency. They, of course, brought in very few robes or very little meat. While out on this hunt a very unfortunate occurrence took place. Captain Nolan commanding the company of troops who were escoriting the Indians, while on the hunt, had, in view of the scarcity of buffalo, allowed parties, each accompauied by a squad of soldiers, to go off from the main camp to points where it was said straggling droves of buffalo could be found. While a Kiowa man was one day a short distance from the camp of one of these parties, and alone, he was run on to by a company of Texas State troops, shot down, killed, and scalped. A few moments after this grand military feat was performed, the little Indian camp was discovered and they were just in the act of covering themselves with additional glory by charging it and butchering the squaws and pappooses when the squad of colored troops presented themselves mounted on the bare backs of their horses, having had no time to saddle them, and the warlike band disappeared. Upon the return of the Indians to the agency, a request was made that the Texans who murdered the Kiowa should be arrested and punished by the authorities, express- ing at the time no intention of avenging his death themselves. It seems that after waiting some time, and concluding that nothing could or would be done by the auth ori- ties, a party of young Kiowas, headed by the brothier of the murdered Kiowa, quietly left their different camps, dashed huriedly across the line into Texas, killed and scalpe d a white man they met in the road, and returned as secretly to their camps, apparetly feeling that they had avenged the death of their brother and friend by this taking of one scalp. Information of this raid having been brought to the agency by a young Kiowa, formerly a pupil in the school, a company of troops was started in pursuit, but so expeditiously and secretly had been the movement that no trace was found of the party. Indeed, we have not had since any evidence of the absence of any member of the bands at that time, or that the man was killed by the Indians of this reservation.
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