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United States. Office of Indian Affairs / Annual report of the Commissioner of Indian Affairs, for the year 1855

[Northern superintendency],   pp. 40-47 PDF (3.1 MB)

Page 43

No. 9. 
MENoMoNEE AGENCY, Keshena, September 15, 1855. 
Sin: In submitting this my first annual report, permit me to say 
that, having discharged the duties of this agency for few months only, 
I am not able to furnish as full a statement of the present condition 
and wants of the Indians as might have been expected from longer ex- 
perience. My entire time, since I entered upon the duties of this 
agency, has been devoted to the discharge of my official duties among 
the Menomonees, who are at present making good progress in agricul- 
ture, considering their past habits and the circumstances surrounding 
them until the present season. I believe no well directed effort has 
been made to instruct them in farming, and this year we were seriously 
embarrassed by the want of proper feed for the teams, while preparing 
land for spring crops; the hay stacked by the Indians was deficient 
both in quality and quantity; added to this, the corn and oats bought 
for the use of the teams could not be brought up the river (owing to 
obstructions by logs and rafts) until too late to be of much service for
spring ploughing, so that at least half of the efficiency of our teams 
was lost. Notwithstanding this, about 300 acres were put in cultiva- 
tion with corn, potatoes and oats, of which 200 acres were planted in 
corn. The potatoes are fair in quantity and of superior quality; the 
corn promised fair until the 11th of August, when nearly all of it was 
more or less injured by frost, some entirely destroyed. I think the 
crop injured in value at least one-fourth, so that it will be necessary,
in order to protect them from suffering, to purchase some provisions 
for distribution, or to deal out for labor, or, perhaps, in part for each
purpose. Much has been done this season in the way of clearing and 
grubbing, towards preparing land for crops next year, and it is confi- 
dently hoped that another year will show a very gratifying improve- 
ment in the agricultural condition of the Indians. Their land is not 
the best, yet improves by cultivation, and is no doubt capable of sus- 
taining a population much larger than the present Menomonee nation. 
The disposition of the Indians to labor, as well as capability as farm 
hands, has improved very much this season. There is no doubt but 
the number of men among them capable of doing satisfactory service 
in the field is at present twice as large as it was last May. Oshkosh, 
the head chief, (a pagan, and one of the most reluctant to adopt the 
habits of civilization and industry,) said to me, since the annual pay- 
ment, that he perceived those young men who labored through the 
summer had made their living, and now had their annuity money for 
their winter support, while those who had not done so had run in 
debt to the amount of their annuity, and were now destitute; and that 
he intended to call a council of his band, and advise his young men to 
come into the policy of the government and be industrious. 
There has not been as much improvement in their buildings as there 
otherwise would have been owing to the difficulty of getting lumber, 
but that being now obviated by having the mill in our possession, 
which is doing good business and turning out lumber enough for all 
tbheir pressing wants, they are turning their attention to building 

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