United States. Office of Indian Affairs / Annual report of the commissioner of Indian affairs, for the year 1879
Reports of agents in Oregon, pp. 124-136 PDF (6.9 MB)
136 REPORTS OF AGENTS IN OREGON. ploy6s during the last twelve years, and being affable in manners and kind to the In- dians have won their highest regard. Hence they have been the Tight men to induce the Indians to adopt civilized habits and learn to exercise mechanical skill. Their influence has been decidedly for moral advancement and Christian civilization as well. INDIAN INDUSTRIES. The statistics show a considerable increase over last year of acres cultivated, land fenced and broken, and amount of grain and other crops raised. All the crops have not as yet been gathered, but I am inclined to think they will exceed instead of falling short of my estimates, Notwithstanding the excessively hot and dry weather during the past six weeks, which materially lessened the grain yield, the increased acreage and comparative freedom of the grain from smut will make a much larger yield than for a number of years past, if it has ever been excelled. In the article of wheat alone I estimate 10,000 bushels as against 7,000 last year. Of oats there is a much larger crop than last year. A frost early in July and hot weather since will lessen the yield of potatoes. The department crops havte been a partial failure; the wheat a total one, owing to too late sowing for such a season as this has been. WEATHER RECORD. No regular record has been kept of the weather here. The coldest and hottest'day have been noted down. January 2 was the coldest, the mercury making 50 above zero as against 80 above on the same date the previous January. The highest record was 1070, on the 9th instant, as against 1000 on the 31st of July, 1878, the hottest day of last year. For a number of days previous to and after the former date it ranged from 990 to 1040, making this one of the hottest seasons ever experienced at this agency. At no time during last winter did the snowfall exceed 4 inches in depth, and in February, when the snow was upwards of thirty inches in depth at the Dalles, 75 miles north of this agency, at this place there was scarcely enough to cover the ground. In fact this reservation is known all over the country as being one of the best places for stock to winter in that there is on the North Pacific coast. SUPPLIES OF FOOD. The present prospect is very encouraging. Many of the Indians have raised enough of grain, &c., to meet their wants for the year to come. Some will have a surplus which will find ready sale to agency employ4s or neighboring white settlers. Game of all kinds is unusually abundant and within easy hunting distance. The supply of salmon is fully up to average. None need to suffer for want of food if they will put forth reasonable effort. THE AGENCY BUILDINGS. Most of these are quite old, though in fair repair. The grist-mill will do for some years to come by occasional repairs, but the saw-mill is almost beyond repair. A new one can be built with but little expense on a good-sized stream about 12 miles north- west of the agency. As to this you have already been advised in a previous communi- cation. In a little more than ten months the treaty stipulations will expire as they apply to this reservation, and new buildings will hardly be needed here; but others, or at least a saw-mill, should be erected where it will be the most convenient for the whole reservation. The mill here has cut over 50,000 feet of lumber during the year, and much more was needed. CONCLUSION. At no time since my sojourn here has the outlook given more encouragement as to future prosperity and development. I can see a wonderful change from that of thirteen years ago. White persons coming here and witnessing these Indians, and especially during the Sabbath services, are perfectly astonished. They can scarcely realize that "war paint and feathers" have given place to the habiliments of civil- ized life. May no adverse circumstances ever cause the good work to go backward. Very respectfully, your obedient servant, JOHN SMITH, United States Indian Agent. The COMMISSIONER OF INDIAN AFFAIRS.
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