1886 – Indian Agent for Nisqually and S’Kokomish

 Nisqually and S’Kokomish Agency, Washington Territory,

August 16, 1886. 

Sir: I have the honor to submit herewith my sixteenth annual report, giving an account of the progress made, and a description of the present condition of the Indians under my charge. Under the blessing of Heaven, prosperity and a good degree of thrift and advancement have attended the efforts made, and peace and quietness tendency of the agent. Their courts of Indian offenses dispose of all of their own civil and criminal business except the difficult cases, which are reserved for the assistance of the agent in his occasional visits to them. They are quiet, orderly, and generally sober; live on, cultivate, and are gradually improving their farms, and are, considering the state of their health, reasonably industrious. They send their children of school age to the other schools belonging to the agency.


On each of the other three reservations, viz, the Chehalis, Puyallup, and S’kokomish, is located a boarding school, which differ only in size, but are all conducted under the same general rules and regulations. The usual attendance is about 80 at the Puyallup and 40 each at the Chehalis and S’kokomish schools.  It has been the custom to have ten days vacation at the close of each quarter, and an annual vacation of one month during September, making altogether two months of vacations and ten months of school during the year. These schools are each of them in charge of a head teacher, who has also an industrial teacher, a matron and such other female assistants as are necessary. It is usual for the rising bell to be rung shortly after 5 a.m., breakfast at 6:30, school hours from 8 to 12, dinner at 12:15, work hours from 1 to 5, supper at 6, study hours from 7 to 8, then prayers, and retire shortly after. Singing is daily practiced in all the schools, and a good Sabbath-school is conducted, in which all the school employees take part and assist.

In each school five of the older scholars of either sex have been selected, who have received $5 per month as apprentices. These have been detailed to take the charge of a certain number of scholars or a certain kind of work. This encourages the older ones to do their best and stimulates the younger ones to become competent to fill their places. It also enables us to retain willingly in the schools the older scholars, whose assistance is of great benefit to the school.

There is a good farm, well stocked, connected with each school, upon which is raised all the hay, grain and vegetables needed by the schools. At S’kokomish is a large fruit-bearing orchard, which annually produces hundreds of bushels of apples, &c. Young orchards have been set out on the other two reservations, which are coming on in good shape, and will bear in a few years. Neatness, order, system, and regularity are practiced and taught by all the employees, and a good moral as well as religious tone is given to all the instructions. Many of the boys have become quite efficient in general farm work, also in carpentering, and painting, and many of the girls excel in house and dairy work, also do remarkably well with the needle and the sewing machine.

At Jamestown, near Dungeness is a day school, which has generally numbered about 20 scholars in attendance. These scholars compare favorably with their white neighbors in scholarship and general deportment. The breaking down of the police regulations in that vicinity (it being off from any reservation) has been severely felt, and has materially diminished it’s own attendance and usefulness. A Sabbath-school has been kept up regularly in connection with this school during the year.

Thus from 175 to 200 children belonging to this agency have been provided with good school facilities, besides from 30 to 50 who have gone from here to the Indian training school at Salem, Oreg. At least four-fifths of the rising generation of this agency will, with their present opportunities, have a fair common school education, and will, when grown, be better fitted for the full rights and duties of citizenship than the more intelligent half of the foreigners who come to our shores.

During the year a teachers’ institute has been organized, composed of the teachers and employees of the several schools, which meets in rotation at the different reservations semi-annually, at which the most effective methods and means are discussed for the elevation of the young and the success of the school. It is proving very beneficial as well as enjoyable to those attending it.


During the year patents have been issued to the Puyallup Indians for all the land on their reservation. This is very valuable and is yearly becoming more so. Most of the Indians fully appreciate its value, and are grateful for the boon. Strong opposition was made by the railroad and land companies interested to the granting of these patents, and great credit is due to the administration for it’s fearless and efficient (incomplete)

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