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United States. Office of Indian Affairs / Annual report of the commissioner of Indian affairs, for the year 1874
([1874])

[Dakota],   pp. 238-259 PDF (10.7 MB)


Page 251

REPORT     OF THE    COMMISSIONER       OF INDIAN     AFFAIRS.     251 
RED CLOUD AGENCY, DAKOTA, August 31, 1874. 
SIR: In submitting this my first annual report, I labor under some embarrassment-to
avoid prolixity, the operations and changes at this agency having been so
many and rapid. 
On the 8th of August, 1873, I arrived at Cheyenne and assumed the duties
of agent, re- 
lieving J. W. Daniels, United States Indian inspector. On my arrival at the
agency I found 
Mr. Daniels with seven or eight thousand Indians just arrived on the banks
of White River, 
having removed the agency from the Platte. The commissary-stores and building-material
of the agency were piled upon the ground, covered with paulins, while the
agent's quarters 
were in a tent. As soon as the transfer of property was completed, Mr Daniels
and his clerk 
left. Inexperienced in this business myself, and having no one familiar with
the forms of 
the business, and without papers, books, or instructions for guides, I was
left in a sufficiently 
embarrassing position to undertake so complicated a business. 
The Indians were much dissatisfied with the removal of the agency on account
of an al- 
leged promise of guns and horses made them on condition that they would remove
the agency 
to its present location. They were disposed to be insolent and unreasonable,
placing limits 
to the range of travel of the agent and employes. My situation was compli-ated
by a diffi- 
culty between the trader and the Indians, they having destroyed a keg of
whisky for the 
trader in front of the agent's office. This violation of Department regulations
could not be 
overlooked, and with the approval of the Department I revoked his license.
The necessity for shelter for the winter was urgent. A contract to supply
logs for sawing 
was let, and for a time building progressed favorably; but before the buildings
were com- 
pleted the contractor failed, and I was compelled to occupy buildings barely
sufficient for 
protection during the winter. 
Toward the last of September, when the annuity goods were to be distributed,
a large 
number of Indians from the northern tribes of Minneconjoux, Sans Arcs, Oncpapas,
and 
Onkapa band of Ogallallas, who have never acceded to the treaty of 1868,
and therefore 
termed hostile, came into the agency, increasing the number to be fed to
more than double 
that for whom supplies had been-provided. 
Many of these people had never been to an agency before, and were exceedingly
vicious 
and insolent. They made unreasonable demands for food, and supplemented their
demands 
with threats. They resisted every effort to count them,and as their statements
of their num- 
bers were frequently exaggerated, it became necessary to arbitrarily reduce
their rations, 
forming my estimates of their numbers from the best information I could obtain.
This 
caused a constant contention with them ; and being unprotected I was compelled
to talk 
with them from morning till night. On one occasion, when attempting to count
their lodges, 
I was arrested by some three hundred of these wild fellows and returned to
the agency for 
trial ; but ot the older residents of the agency about seven hundred, armed
and mounted, 
came to my relief and protected me. 
While thus standing day after day with my life at stake, contending with
these Indians 
for a just distribution of the food given them by the Government, serious
charges were 
brought against me by parties who should have been my friends and supporters
instead of 
persecutors. This greatly increased the difficulties under which I labored.
But thanks to 
the consideration of the Department, an, investigation committee was ordered,
which fully 
vindicated me. 
The dissatisfaction of the hostile Indians became greater as winter advanced.
Unable to 
induce them to comply with the orders of the Government for a census to be
taken, I appealed 
to those who had lived long enough at the agency to understand the necessity
of a compli- 
ance with these orders, and about the 1st of February they declared in favor
of yielding to 
my direction in all matters pertaining to the business of the agency. This
exasperated the 
hostiles, and immediately they broke up into small war parties, going off
in all directions, and 
attacking all parties who were not strong enough to oppose them. On the 8th
of February 
I went to Whetstone agency, for the purpose of consulting Agent Howard in
regard to the 
propriety of calling for troops. That night, about 2 o'clock, the watchman
baving fallen 
asleep, a Minneconjoux Indian belonging to the band of "Lone Horn of
the North," scaled 
the stockade, and calling my clerk, Frank D. Appleton, to the door, shot
and killed him. 
The Indian escaped. Agent Howard called for troops, and, as my employes were
much 
alarmed, I joined in the request. On arrival of the troops there was much
excitement. All 
of the hostile and many of the resident Indians left the agency for the north.
The excite- 
ment, however, soon subsided, and I commenced a registration of the people,
which they had 
previously consented to. Since this has been accomplished there has been
little or no diffi- 
culty, as they readily comply with almost any request I make. During the
summer those 
previously living at the agency have returned. 
The agency-buildings erected are a stockake 10 feet higrh, inclosing a space
200 by 400 
feet; a warehouse 100 by 30 feet, with an "L" 60 by 30; a barn
100 by 30 feet; three 
offices 16 feet square; 4 rooms 16 feet square for employds' quarters; a
mess-house 16 by 30 
feet ; an agent's residence 25 by 30, two stories high. 
The saw-mill was first placed in the timber about teA miles from the agency,
but in con- 
sequence of the hostile attitude of the Indians, for greater security, I
had it moved nearer the 
agency, on White River. It has been set for running with a temporary structure
over it. I 


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