Cushman Agency Annual Report 1917

Cushman Agency Annual Report 1917


Annual Report 1917,

The Cushman Agency, formerly the Puyallup Consolidated Agency, comprises five small reservations, some of which are one hundred miles apart. There are also a large number of Indian homesteads on the public domain scattered over the entire Southwestern part of the State which are under this jurisdiction.

Only two of these reservations have agency farmers. On the Muckleshoot Reservation the farmer lives in his own house which adjoins the reservation. There are no agency buildings on this reservation and as the farmer’s residence is located near the most thickly settled part of the reservation, it does not seem necessary to incur any expense in putting up Government buildings. The other farmer is on the Skokomish Reservation, is well equipped with buildings and implements require for his work. There is an Indian police who has been recently appointed and who is doing fairly good service, but the Nisqually Reservation has no Government representative of any kind. There are no agency physicians or field matrons under this jurisdiction.

There has been only one serious crime committed within this jurisdiction. That was on the Muckleshoot Reservation where a young Indian assaulted the agency farmer who was assisting in the arrest of the Indian charged with adultery. This case will be referred to the United States Grand Jury at its next meeting.

The Indians under this jurisdiction do not engage in the old fashion dance. There is a religious sect known as “Shakers” who engage in dancing as a part of their religious ceremony. This is not carried to such an extent as to be seriously objectionable and as they consider it a part of their worship, I do not deem it necessary to interfere in the matter.

The Indians, as a rule, comply with the state laws in regard to marriage and divorce, but there have been a few cases where Indians would live together without any form of marriage. These cases have been referred to the State District Attorneys, but in no case have I succeeded in getting them to take any action in the matter. They seem to regard the Indians as wards of the Government and are not willing to incur any expense in the prosecution of these Indians for violations of the State Laws. These Indians being citizens no court of Indian offenses has been established and I find some difficulty in requiring Indians to observe the marital laws.

The religious welfare of the Indians is looked after by the Protestant and Catholic missionaries on all of the reservations except the Squaxin, where they have no house of worship. The Indians have a small building which they use as a “Shaker Church.” This religious sect is growing on all of the reservations. Such meetings can hardly be called religious worship and are, in fact, rather heathenish in their practice, but they seem to have a restraining influence against drinking and gambling, and it is hoped that some good will come out of this form of worship.

The liquor traffic among the Indians has been very much reduced since this State went dry on January 1, 1916, but some of the Indians visit the towns near the reservations where they can always find bootleggers to furnish them liquor, and in several places but little attention is given by the State Authorities to the selling of liquor to Indians, while they are rather active in similar cases among the white people. The Indians also purchase extracts from some of the stores and use them as a beverage. This was carried on to considerable extent on the Chehalis Reservation where it was peddled by a man who made a business of selling this over the country. This man was arrested but the case has been put off several times and has not yet come to trial. The State passed a bone dry law which was to go into effect on the 6th day of June, but a sufficient number.

On the Squaxin Island and Chehalis reservations the only Government representatives are the two Indian police who live at home. These reservations do not require agency buildings.

The Nisqually reservation lies about 27 miles from the agency headquarters. The Indians are accustomed to visiting the Trades School periodically and as the reservation is accessible from headquarters, it is not advisable to construct agency buildings. The number of employees is adequate for the needs of the agency. Very little difficulty has been experienced in maintaining proper order on the reservations this year.

The people of the Skokomish Reservation object strenuously to the plan of turning over the Day School to county officials as soon as the project was placed before them in a proper light the discussion practically ceased.

No information has been received during the past year that the old Indian dances have been indulged in by the Indians under this jurisdiction. In fact the children of the younger generation have no conception of what the old Indian dance is. There is, however, on all of the reservations an increase in the membership of the so-called Shaker church. This religious sect indulges in an emotional, religious fervor, which seizes on its devotees who are shaken by religious ecstasies and give utterance to loud, fervid and pious exclamations. This sect was originated by old man Jack Slocum, a Squaxin Island Indian, who died, to all appearances, 25 years ago, and came to life again, before burial so the story runs, to warn his fellow men to shake off theirs sins.

The religion has exercised a powerful influence over its devptees, who are obliged to give up the use of tobacco, liquor and dancing. In this jurisdiction the shaking appears to however, for the older people to spend too much time in religious meetings, which are frequent, to the detriment of the crops and other work.

The younger children are not required by their Shaker parents to join the Shaker church but as is natural a number of them have become members and have distinguished themselves by the fervor of their shaking. These children have showed very strong disinclination to attend either the Day school or the public school. In order to obtain their attendance the State Compulsory Attendance law has been applied, very much to the distaste of the parents.

The marriage and divorce customs of the Indians under my supervision are those prescribed by the laws of the state. For the most part these laws are faithfully observed. As far as I have lived together without marriage have been few. Outraged public opinion among the Indians appealed to me in each case to put a stop to the scandal. In one case as Indian women left the reservation to keep house for a citizen Indian in Puyallup and refused to return to the home of her grown-up son. The monthly allowance was stopped by the office so long as she remained with this man. The children, however, do not wish the mother to be prosecuted under the state law. Upon Squaxin Island reservation, a young couple were living together, unmarried, because of the refusal of the mother to her minor son’s marriage. Representations have been made to the mother and the boy’s relatives thru the Indian police, which it is expected will result in the marriage of the two. The state laws are adequate to meet such conditions on the reservations. There is, however, a feeling that such matters should be settled out of court by the Indians on any of the reservations as these Indians are restricted citizen Indians entitled to all the rights, privileges and immunities pertaining to citizenship with a restriction only as to the alienation of their lands.

The promotion of the religious welfare of the Indians under this jurisdiction is in the hands of the Catholic and Protestant missionaries who visit the reservations at frequent intervals for the purpose of holding religious services. The Catholic possess churches on the Nisqually and Muckleshoot reservations the Protestant on the Nisqually and Chehalis reservations. On the other reservations, services are held in the homes of devout Indians. The Shakers possess a large church on the Chehalis reservation. This religious sect has increased rapidly in membership and is exerting a powerful influence over our less progressive Indians.

Since the state prohibition law went into effect January 1, 1916, the Indians have been able to obtain liquor only from neighboring towns or from traveling bootleggers. Evidence to convict bootleggers and blind-pig proprietors has been diligently sought but so far without results except in one case. A number of boys who had been given permission to walk in the country returned more or less under the influence of liquor. The superintendent, in company with members of the dry squad took one of the boys to the place where he had bought the liquor. A Japanese Sake still.

Authorities of the city of Tacoma are most harmonious, and the consternation of the plans now in contemplation will bring the two school systems into very close touch. This affiliation with the public schools, together with the establishment of the Trades Department in this school, will make it admirably adapted to the needs of the Indians in this section of the country.

The Indians of the Northwest will hardly become agriculturalists to any great extent, but they are constantly seeking places in the manufacturing establishments and in the lumber industries. The training which we expect to give along these lines will materially assist them in operation machinery.

There seems to be no discrimination against the Indians in this section of the country on the mere grounds that they are of a different race. The only trouble that arises is when the Indian parents cannot or will not send their children to the public schools in a sufficient state of cleanliness as not to be obnoxious. Much more could have been accomplished among the Indians during the fiscal year 1911, had it been possible to extend a little more money in the matter of Farmers and equipment to extend the work of instruction in Agriculture among the Indians on the reservations. The Indians within this jurisdiction are now at a point where a little judicious…

The Reading List From the Cushman Indian School

The Reading List From the Cushman Indian School

Introduction: The Cushman Indian school used the books from the following list in 1915. It is an interesting list, one may recognize some books that have held up over time. In contrast to what a list might look like today, this list seems to have been short on books dealing with Native Americans. Two books would have done this. One of them was Boots and Saddles, written by George Armstrong Custer’s widow, Libby Custer, the other was The Oregon Trail by Francis Parkman. When your find the Francis Parkman listing click on it for some of the passages describing Native Americans found in the book.


Cushman Indian School,
Tacoma, Wash., May 20, 1915.

The Commissioner of Indian Affairs,
Washington. D. C.

Referring further to office letter of February 4, 1915, relative to the report of Supervisor R. E. Penirs on academic training at the Cushman School, wherein I am directed to give the attention of obtaining a suitable supply of books, magazines, etc., for the school library, I have the honor to request the following list of books, selected from the “Books for Indian School Libraries” be furnish this school:

Books For Children By Grades.
5 copies, Bird A. B. C. (Tuck).
5 copies, Giant Land (Belson).
5 copies, Jack and Jill and Other Nursery Rhymes (Linen) (Dutton)
5 copies, Floyd. Little Soldier Boy’s (McLaughlin).
Grade 1
5 copies, Bennett – Little Peoples Natural History Box (Dutton)
5 copies, Cox – Brownies at Home (Century)
5 copies, Cinderella’s Picture Book (Lane)
5 copies, Red Riding Hood’s Picture Book (Lane)
5 copies, Greenway – Marigold garden (Warne)
5 copies, Praeger – Story of the Gray Goose (Nelson)
Grade 2
5 copies, Cox – Another Brownie Book (Century)
5 copies, Crane – Blue Beard’s Picture Book (Lane)
5 copies, Potter – The Tale of Benjamin bunny (Warne)
5 copies, The Tale of Mrs. Tiggy Winkle (Warne)
5 copies, Five Mice in a Mousetrap (?????)
5 copies, Shaw – Big People and Little People of Other Lands (Am. Bk. Co.)
5 copies, Trimmer – History of Robins (Heath)
5 copies, Valentine – Aunt Louisa’s Book of Common Things (Warne)
Grade 3
3 copies, Banta – The Pied Piper and Other Stories.(Flanagan)
3 copies, Hopkins – Sand Man; His Ship Stories (Page)
3 copies, Sand Man; More Farm Stories (Page)
5 copies, Reiter – Puss in Boots and Cinderella (Flanagan)
5 copies, Thumbelina and Dream Stories (Flanagan)
5 copies, Sleeping Beauty and Other Stories (Flanagan)
3 copies, Smith – Seventeen Little Bears (Flanagan)
5 copies, The Little Brown Baby and Other Babies (Flanagan)
Grade 4
2 copies, Alcott – My Girls (Little)
2 copies, My Boys
3 copies, Anderson – Christmas Tree and Other Stories (?????)
2 copies, Carter – About Animals (Century)
2 copies, Stories of Brave Dogs (Century)
2 copies, Collodi – Adventures of Pinocchio (Cinn)
2 copies, Cutter – Conundrums, Riddles, Puzzles, and Games (Faul, Buffalo)
5 copies, Reiter – Story of Lincoln
2 copies, Ruskin, King of the Golden River (Page)
Grade 5
3 copies, Alcott – Aunt Jo’s Scrap Bag (Little)
3 copies, Baldwin – American Book of Golden Deeds (Am. Bk. Co.)
3 copies, Hero Tales Told in School (Scribner)
5 copies, Bass – Quotations and Select Stories (Flanagan)
3 copies, Baylor – A Little Prospector (Lothrop)
2 copies, Beard – American Boys’ Handy Book (Scribner)
3 copies, Cilman – Making of the American Nation (Lothrop)
3 copies, ????? – Story of the thirteen colonies (Am. Bk. Co.)
3 copies, Brown – The Story of Silk
3 copies, What We Drink
3 copies, McCabe – The Story of Steam
5 copies, Explorations of the Northwest
3 copies, Reuter – The Story of Sugar
5 copies, Kingsley – Madams How and Lady Why (Macmillan)
5 copies, Water babies (Macmillan)
3 copies, Lane – Industries of To-day (Cinn)
Grade 6
3 copies, Butterworth – Over the Andes (Wilde)
5 copies, Clark – Story of Lafayette
5 copies, Herndon – Story of Lewis and Clark
5 copies, ?????? – Heroes of the Revolution
5 copies, Lives of Webster and Clay
Grade 7
5 copies, Frazer – Perseverance Island (Lothrop)
5 copies, Hellock – The Story of King Arthur
5 copies, Hawthorne – The Great Stone Face
5 copies, Parkman – The Oregon Trail
5 copies, Peck. – Seven Wonders of the World (New Methodist Bk.)
Grade 8
5 copies, The Wooing of Tokala (revel)
5 copies, How to Get Strong and Stay So (Herper)
5 copies, Johnston – The Little Colonel (Page)
5 copies, The Little Colonel’s House Party (Page)
5 copies, The Little Colonel’s Holidays (Page)
5 copies, The Little Colonel’s Hero (Page)
5 copies, Porter – Girl of the Limber Lost (Doubleday)
5 copies, At the Foot of the Rainbow (Ginn)
5 copies, Custer – Boots and Saddles (Harper)
5 copies, Barbour – the Crimson Sweater (Little)
5 copies, The Hoosier School Boy (Grosset)
5 copies, Lyman – Pamphlets on Debating (3) (Wilson)

Very respectfully,

Letters: Concerns About the Condemnation of the Nisqually Reservation

Letters: Concerns About the Condemnation of the Nisqually Reservation

Introduction: The condemnation of the Pierce County section of the Nisqually Reservation for the establishment of Camp Lewis initiated decades of controversy. Here are some of the early issues described in letters from the local agent to his superiors in Washington.

Cushman Indian School,
Tacoma, Washington.
Dec. 17, 1917.

Commissioner of Indian Affairs,
Washington D. C.


General Burr, in command of the 166th Division, Field Artillery, took up with me that question of leasing upland of Nisqually Reservation for target range and practice.

An investigation of the grounds in company with General Burr, showed that the safety of the Indians during the hours of target practice would require the removal of the Indians from both the upland and the river bottom, to avoid ricocheting shells; that is, the entire reservation would have to be abandoned during those hours.

The General was advised as to the question of leasing the lands through the regular channel, which he has probably done.

The military requirements will undoubtedly force the War Department to make a demand for the permanent acquisition of the entire reservation. This as you are aware, will cause violent apposition on the part of the Indians, and, in view of the treaty relations it will be impossible for them to entertain the idea unless adequate homes are provided for the Indians elsewhere, which should be down, if the lands are condemned, for military purposes.

A fair appraisement of the upland on the reservation would be $15.00 per acre, plus the improvements. The bottom land is worth at least $50.00 per acre. All this land is allotted to thirty (30) individual Indians. The number of Indians on the reservation is eighty-three (83).
Very respectfully,
K – F

Tacoma, Wash. Feb. 4, 1918
To: Indian Office,

From: Hammond

County Condemnation Board requests copy of Nisqually heirs with view to instituting condemnation proceedings of Nisqually allotments in county court immediately. See my letter January eleventh with enclosure. Wire instructions as per Department Circular August first, nineteen fifteen.


Cushman Indian School
Tacoma, Washington
February 12, 1918

The Commanding officer,
Camp Lewis, Washington.


I beg to invite your attention to the attached letter which was in answer to a protest from the Indians.

The Nisqually reservation is not public domain and until the question of transfer of this reservation to the War Department has been decided definitely by the Secretaries of War and the Interior, the presence of soldiers on the reservation constitutes a trespass.

The Indians advise me that warnings have been posted against their remaining on the reservation; That soldiers are maneuvering on the prairie land, burning rail fencing, and pasturing their mules on private pasture lots. All rails belonging to Paul Leshi have been burned as fuel. During one of the maneuvers a 200-dollar horse belonging to James Nimrod, was stampeded into a barbed wire fence and badly cut.

The soldiers do not confine themselves to the prairie land but large companies march across pastures and down to the farming lands in the bottom. Company C. machine gun brigade turned their mules loose in Fred Sam’s pastures and destroyed his pasture on which he was depending for his own stock.

Until this question of transfer has been decided by the two Departments, it is requested that trespassing on the Indian Reservation be stopped in order to avoid claims for damages.

Very truly yours,
(signed) E. H. Hammond

To: Indian Office,

From: Hammond

Referring Secretary’s telegram March twenty-fifth concerning condemnation Nisqually land. Will appear before Court Monday morning with District Attorney to determine County’s jurisdiction and request withdrawal condemnation proceedings. District Attorney requests immediately citation of authority under which the War Department agrees purchases Nisqually land, also under what appropriation act are funds available. He advises County’s jurisdiction unassailable. No hope voluntary withdrawal of suits. Wire information requested.


To: Indian Office,

From: Hammond

District Attorney recommends strongly compromise between Army and Bureau appraised valuation on Nisqually Indian lands on seventy-five thousand eight hundred forty dollars. County refuses any other compromise and insists on approval before nine Thursday forenoon. Court refuses continuance later than Thursday at ten. If case goes to trial preceding condemnation suits show Indians stand to lose at least five thousand possibly eighteen thousand dollars less than offered in compromise. Wire immediately authority approve this compromise.


To: Indian Office,

From: Hammond

Court today ordered proceeds Nisqually Indian lands paid to Cushman Indian Agent to be held and disbursed by said agent for benefit Nisqually Indians or heirs according to laws and regulations upon furnishing proper bond in sum eighty thousand dollars payable United States as trustee of Nisqually Indian allottees and to said allottees. Bond to be approved by Court. Advise if other procedure is desired.


Cushman Indian School
Tacoma, Washington
May 14, 1918.

Commissioner of Indian Affairs
Washington, D. C.


I have the honor to report that the judge of the Superior Court for the County of Pierce, in a judgment rendered the 6th day of May, decreed that the sum of $75,840.00 be paid the Secretary if the United States Treasury, without bond, to be held and disbursed by the said Secretary of the Treasury, or through his proper agents of the United States, for the

benefit of the Nisqually Indians, or their heirs thereto entitled, according to the laws and regulations there under, or any other law applicable thereto. This step was recommended by the District Attorney to avoid litigation that might arise if the monies were retained in the county court, awaiting the issue of the requisite bond for the Superintendent of the Cushman Agency.

Acting on the request of the Judge Advocate, the Nisqually Indians were removed from that part of the reservation which was condemned, within the two week limit set by the Judge Advocate.

The majority of the Indians preferred to move to the left bank of the Nisqually river, but five of the twelve families preferred homes elsewhere.

Farms have been tentatively selected for the following Indians: Johny Longfred and George Bobb at Oakville, near the Chehalis reservation and Mrs. Moxley on the reservation at Chehalis.

A farm for James Nimrod has been selected on the Skokomish reservation and one for Mrs. Iyall has been selected on the Muckleshoot reservation; but no definite agreement has been made with any of the owners, except that the purchase of the respective farms would be recommended by me.

In the cases of Mrs. Johnny Lonfred, Mr. George Bobb, Mr. James Nimrod and Mrs. Iyall, in separate communications, I shall recommend that they be declared competent in the sums necessary to purchase their future homes, as I believe they are fully capable of managing their own affairs.

I have personally inspected and appraised the farms which have been elected for Mrs. Moxley and Mrs. Longfred near the Chehalis reservation; and the Skokomish Farmer has appraised the farm selected on the Skokomish reservation for Mr. And Mrs. James Nimrod. I believe that the appraisement of these three farms are just and I have recommended that they be purchased for the Indians. Two other farms are to be inspected and appraised in the near future for Mrs. Iyall and Mr. George Bobb.

As the Commissioner is undoubtedly aware, the majority of these Indians have not accumulated much ready money and it is imperative that their homes be purchased for them without delay in order to permit them to put in the crops what are possible at this late date and thereby avoid re real want during the coming year and the unnecessary expenditure of their money for subsistence.

Changes in the Law, Changes in Practice (Rules for fishing)

Changes in the Law, Changes in Practice

Introduction: The following are examples of laws and practices that helped limit Native Americans access to their “usual and accustomed grounds and stations.”

  1. The controversy began when a settler named Frank Taylor fenced in his land along the Columbia River in order to protect his crops.
  2. Several years ago white men began to encroach on our ground. We were willing to have them share with us the right to fish but not satisfied with equal rights they have yearly made additional obstructions to prevent our catching fish, by setting traps, and placing piling around the grounds. They have driven us from our old camping ground on the beach and have so treated us that we feel we must now appeal to you for assistance.
  3. Restrictions were set on when to fish.
  4. Restrictions were set on where to fish.
  5. Licenses were required for those engaged in fishing.
  6. As early as 1889 the state government passed laws that closed rivers to fishing, allowing Indians to catch only what was needed for their subsistence.
  7. In 1907 all rivers in the Puget Sound were closed to net fishing.
  8. The state tax Indians’ fishing gear like it did non-Indian citizens of the state.
  9. Problems arose for Yakima fishermen who found access to their “usual and accustomed” fishing grounds blocked, this time by a “fish wheel” owned by a man named Winans.
  10. On the Green River the Muckleshoots were forbidden from using their accustomed net methods during spawning season off reservation.
  11. A Muckleshoot was arrested for using a spear in violation of state law.
  12. The state passed a law which limited Indians to fishing within five miles of their reservation.
  13. This fear was a result of state officials removing their nets from the river on a site they claimed to be reservation land. James Nimrod, a Nisqually, told a federal investigator that the sate would not even let him fish on creeks running through the reservation.
  14. As a result of their well organized efforts, the Washington legislature passed a law in 1925 that declared steelhead a “game fish” once it entered fresh water streams and rivers. Up to this time both Indians and non-Indians had considered steelhead a “salmon”. With this new legal designation for steelhead the new state Game Department began to pass new regulations to protect the steelhead for the recreational fisherman. Thus, steelhead could not be taken by net except by Indians on the reservation.
  15. The state law made the sale of steelhead (during a closed season) anywhere in the state a crime.
  16. Two years later… the state extended this net fishing ban to reservation waters as well.
  17. Beginning in 1891 the state built hatcheries to fight the decrease in fish runs. In the case of the steelhead much of the funding for these hatcheries came from the revenues obtained from sport fishing licenses. (This latter development increased the state’s desire to force Indians to obtain licenses). If hatcheries were located upstream from a reservation, the state of Washington believed it had a right to regulate fishing on the reservation as a conservation measure.
  18. At the Cascades of the Columbia the houses used for shelter and fish drying by Indians… were torn down by whites.

More on the Condemnation of Nisqually Land

More on the Condemnation of Nisqually Land (from a federal document)

And have since used it as a common pasture, fencing off separately the fields and smaller pastures near the homes. Besides the springs and river the Nisqually Lake, good duck and fishing ground, provided the livestock with ample water. For more than 50 years these Indians have cultivated lands, mostly in the bottom, where they had summer cabins and orchards, and smokehouses for drying the fine salmon which they caught in abundance from the river, sloughs, and spring creeks.

The war spirit, combined with Tacoma’s ambition to possess a great Army post at its doors, and the newspaper and other boosting propaganda to accomplish this, made it very unpopular to oppose the county’s suits and valuations of lands condemned. The trial of cases in groups before a jury and the hurry incident to trial of some 1,500 of such cases in order to acquire the lands needed prevented proper consideration of individual cases. Particular reference is made to statements of a. R. Titlow and Walter Christian, both able lawyers, who were attorneys for a number of owners of important buildings. (A, 8-10, 12-15)

The attorneys’ fees and other costs of condemnation were nearly $300,000 or over $4 per acre. The elaborate preparation of the county is shown by Exhibits C and a 95-96. It will be noted that the basic values for land was very low-from $4 to $25 an acre on the Indian reservation, along the bottom of which some of the best soil in the State is found. (A, 14, 15, 17, 46, 48, 49, 56. C, 2, 36.) The county appraisal allows only $75 an acre for clearing 50 acres of this Indian bottom land, although the appraisers’ own statement (C, 3) asures us that it costs “from $125 to $200 or more per acre” to clear such land of stumps and get it under cultivation. Over 40 years ago the Indians had cleared and were cultivating this fine bottom land. (A, 49.) In his annual report for 1911 (pp. 4, 5, 6, 7) the Tulalip superintendent states that the ost of clearing ranged from $30 per acre for valley land, with brush and only a few stumps (using a donkey engine) to as high as $229.24 per acre for clearing heavily stumped land, using explosives and a donkey engine-in the last case the cost of explosives alone was $86.28 per acre. He mentions the subject has been studied by the Washington Logged-Off Land Association and the United States Department of Agriculture, Washington, D. C. One of the best authorities is the Weyerhauser Timber Co., whose manager informed me that is cost from $100 to $200 per acre to prepare logged-off land for cultivation, and he related the company’s recent experience in that line which cost over $200 per acre. Several other excellent authorities agree with these quoted, and several remarked that most of the upland was not woth te price of removing the stumps, the bottom lands being the exception. Note that the State immigration bureau values Nisqually River bottom land from $200 to $500 an acre. (a, 90) And its fertility has been attested for nearly 60 years. (A, 43-49m 50-56)

Upon inquiry among the farmers in the Nisqually bottom adjacent and below the reservation, I find that they value their cultivated lands at $200 an acre and up, and they state it costs them nearly that much to clear the land. Mr. Aldridge owns an 80-acre farm in the bottom next to the reservation for which he paid $7,000 ub 1902m abd gas subce cleared most if it and made good improvements. Mr. William Gardener paid $16,000 for 280 acres in 1907, nearly all bottom, only 12 acres cleared. Prior to his purchase the Northern Pacific Railway had secured a right of way through the place, which reduced it from 357 acres, and since then the railroad has built a double-track line, and the paved highway has been constructed from Tacoma to Olympia across a corner of this land, and 50 acres has been cleared and substantial improvements made. His land is not for sale, and from inquiry of him and others in the neighborhood I find that most of the land is owned by old settlers and very little has been old in recent years. One sale recently made near Gardner’s was that by Otto Coleman of 80 acres for $6,000, only 15 acres being bottom and 8 acres being cleared, the balance of being logged-off hillside. Sheep sheds were the only improvements on this tract. These lands are on the Thurston County side of the Nisqually and between the reservation and the paved highway mentioned. A short distance below Willie Frank, one of the dispossessed Nisquallies, paid $1,000 for 6 acres of bottom land partly cleared and improvements worth $150. Frank Mounts, whose father was once agent of the Nisquallies, informed me that he has land for sale in the Nisqually bottom 3 miles below the reservation. He wants $250 an acre for cultivated land, which, he says is low because of the fact that since so many homes were condemned for Camp Lewis people were afraid to buy. And ha named instances where people had been awarded but a small part what their homes had cost them, and in a few cases hardly enough to pay the encumbrances. (A, 94.)

I visited the farms on the western side of the Nisqually Reservation, where soil is similar to that on the eastern side, which the county valued from $40 to $20 per are (mostly $10), and allowed $10 to $15 per acres for cultivation, although it allowed nothing on 185 acres of “old” or “spl” cultivation. (A, 95.) One place has 20 acres, mostly cleared, 8 acres in cultivation, fenced, good frame house, small outbuildings, well. Improvements worth about $800. Two thousand dollars was wanted for the place.

Another farm near by of 190 acres has 120 acres in cultivation, 30 acres in pasture, 30 acres in second growth-timber, 4-romm house, big barn with shake roof, cistern, 4 outbuildings, well, fenced. It sold in 1918 for $14,000. Improvements are in fair condition, but only small part of value of the farm. The Weyerhauser Timber Co. several years ago sold logged-off lands in this vicinity for as low as $4 an acre, but retained the mineral rights. A recent sale of logged-off land by this same company near Yelm and about 4 miles from the reservation brought $30 an acre, with same reservation of mineral rights.

The Yelm irrigation district begins less than 2 miles from the reservation and extends up the Nisqually River about 6 miles and contain 7,000 acres, recently put under irrigation from the Nisqually River waters. Lands within this project sell from $60 to $200 per acre, in addition to construction costs and maintenance charges. (37-38) Attached is a printed description of this district by Prof. Henry Landes, dean of the College Of Sciences of the University of Washington, a recognized authority on soils, wherein he discusses the advantages of the gravelly prairie soils (which are just like the reservations soils), the fertility of silt-laden waters of the Nisqually, products producced thereby, etc. He shows the district’s advantages over the Sequim Prairie, an irrigated district in the northern part of the State on strait near Port Townsend, in Yelm has better railway and highway facilities, is near to the best markets, and emphasizes that it is only 15 miles to a paved highway. Bulletin 8, published by the Washington Geological Survey, under Prof. Landes’ direction states as follows:

(Page 73) The correlative of Yelm Prairie is found in Nisqually Prairie on the east of the Nisqually River. The river valley between these two prairies is younger than the deposition of the gravels and is consequent on the northward slope of a once-continuous outwash plain. The erosion of this valley has divided the original plain into two longitudinal portions, constituting Nisqually and Yelm Prairies, respectively.

The condemned Indian lands, which are a part of the same gravelly prairie, can be watered by same river and are neared to the same good markets and only 3 miles to the nearest paved highway and railroads on one side, and 4 miles the other side to two railroads and another paved highway soon to be constructed into Tacoma. At Yelm is the first important application of Nisqually silt laden waters to irrigation. I passed through the Yelm district several times and could see the good crops resulting from irrigation, and I noted that the gravelly soil was the same as on the reservation. I talked to several merchants and farmers-old residents-and they were convinced that, with irrigating water to supply needed moisture during the summer drought, they can grow highly profitable crops of vegetables and berries so much in demand in the Puget Sound markets. Mr. J. P. Martin, a merchant and farmer, I found digging his potatoes from the land he valued at $200 per acre, but it was not for sale. He pointed to 40 acres of poorer land, unimproved, which he recently sold for $100 an acre, and to logged-off land just outside of the irrigation district which was recently sold for $40 an acre by the Weyerhauser Timber Co. Mr. Martin added that in 1910 the gravelly prairie land was worth from $15 to $20 an acre. I am informed that the Indian lands were not considered susceptible of irrigation in the future to a degree that would make a value at this time, and therefore that feature was not given value in the condemnation of the Indian lands. However, it is my opinion, based on what is being done successfully at Yelm, only 2 miles south of the nearest condemned Indian lands, that the Indian lands could be irrigated with equal success and rom the same source, but would be much more valuable by reason of their being much closer to paved highway and the markets of Tacoma and Seattle.

On September 12, 1911, Mr. J. W. Martin, superintendent of irrigation, reported to Chief Engineer W. H. Code on the matter of irrigating some of the Nisqually Indian lands from the water of Muck Creek. Should the water of Muck Creek be not available, he submitted estimates for construction of a pumping plant to utilize the water from the perpetual water level which he found from 40 to 50 feet under the surface of the reservation. Withhis report he submitted photographs of thriving crops then growing on ranched near American Lake and irrigated by water pumped from wells, the soil being the same gravelly soil of the reservation. Accompanying the report is a lengthy account in the Daily Ledger. Tacoma, Wash., published September 3, 1911, which describes in enthusiastic terms the crops being grown by irrigation on “at least 20 thriving farms” around Steilacoom and American Lake. The newspaper article is headed “250,000 acres in back yard-Tacomans awake to possibilities of gravel prairies south of the city-Water alone needed-Rotary and Commercial Club men find gravel soil easy to reclaim by simple, inexpensive method.” The article states:

An inducement to irrigation is the fact that the prairies seem to cover an immense underground lake. Water is abundant in every part of the prairie, being reached anywhere depths of 15 to 20 feet, the average well being from 28 to 40 feet.

It mentions the luxuriant crops growing on the irrigated ranches of E. F. Gregory, C. E. Detweller, and others near American Lake and at the farm of the Fort Steilacoom Asylum. Mr. Martin accompanies his report with photographs of the Nisqually Prairie and data to show the feasibility of irrigating. Shortly after this the Tacoma Commercial Club and Chamber of Commerce widely advertised the possibilities of irrigation on the gravelly prairies from wells. (See Exhibit A, p. 42.) Some of the people who answered this appeal and bought homes and small tracts, especially near American Lake, had their lands condemned for a small part of what they cost them. Mr. Gregory gives several cases. (Exhibit E, 36-37) O. S. Brooks (A, 20) bought a tract in same vicinity. One convincing argument given out is that it is cheaper to irrigate and fertilize the gravelly prairie than to pay the enormous prices for removing stumps; and even the best lands must be irrigated during the dry summer months to secure best results in growing berries and garden truck.

It was repeatedly asserted to me that the county ignored values based on favorable location, proximity to paved highways, railroads, bodies of water, scenic views and other value-making features. That the lands were appraised mainly on that they produced. This, notwithstanding that the vicinity of Camp Lewis has rapidly grown in favor since advent of paved roads as a county-club district and summer-residence section, and was also rapidly being cut into home and garden tracts when the cantonment stepped. The publicity given the gravelly prairies helped sell many home tracts, some of which Pierce County later took at great loss to the owners. Tacoma is gradually building toward American Lake and Camp Lewis, about the only direction it has to expand. (A, 42, 94.)

Some of the most prominent real estate dealers in Tacoma who are familiar with Camp Lewis lands state that the county paid much less than the lands were worth, and one of them asserted that the lands in Camp Lewis would sell among the realtors were George M. Elliott, A. H. Barnhisel, and Jesse O. Thomas, Jr. Mr. Thomas accompanied Mr. Stephen Appleby to Washington, D. C., in December, 1916, and secured agreement from the Secretary of War to maintain a division post if 70,000 acres were donated by Pierce County. (A, &, legend on Exhibit I.) I consulted many realtors, bankers, attorneys, and others intimately acquainted with Camp Lewis lands, some of whom had had their own lands condemned or had been employed as attorneys. While all expressed themselves freely and condemned the methods used in securing these lands only a few would give me written statements, the apparent reason being that they could not afford to appear to be antagonizing the establishment of Camp Lewis, Tacoma’s cherished ambition, which all favored, although they deplored the great bitterness engendered in securing it. One prominent realtor, who had done a great deal toward securing Camp Lewis, denounced the inadequate awards and incident expense, and stated that no real estate man or other person who valued his reputation would testify in these suits, as he might know land was actually worth $100 an acre and so testify, but the jury would being in what the county’s appraisers would say-maybe $10 or $20-and the witness would be made the laughing stock. (A, 8, 21, 90, D. E.)

Mr. A. R. Titlow states (A, 8) that-

Fourth. It was unfortunate that the court permitted, which it did, the attorneys for Pierce County to each time select the lands that should be tried first or in the order desired by the county of Pierce. In the first suit the first group of cases tried covered the poorest and worst land, and probably less improved than any of the whole 70,000 acres condemned.

The jury, by its verdict, which was based practically upon the testimony of the county all the way through this first group, which was a very low verdict, indeed, thereby more or less establishing a precedent, or an example, for the same jury in trying the balance of groups of cases in this first suit.

This method of committing the jury to the low values was called to my attention by other parties. Some rich men with large holdings in Tacoma and others through patriotic motives were willing to take whatever was handed them by the county appraisers, and overlooked by the county’s attorneys. Read Mr. Titlow’s comments on this. (A, 9, 10.) Several told me that the county’s attorneys openly told the jury that they held the purse strings on the county, and, judging from their actions, this must have been believed by them. (A, 9, E, 11.) Mr. Walter Christian, of the firm of Sullivan & Christian, leading attorneys, states (A, 14):

In the trial of these suits the county had a splendid organization, and its experts as to values seemed to treat the entire tract practically as useful only for grazing and agricultural purposes, and gave it no value for anything else, and the various juries hearing the evidence seemed to adopt the county’s views. The fact of the matter is that at the time these cases were being tried there was a great popular local wave of patriotism, and because this land was wanted for military purposes, and was necessary to get a big tract for that use and the amount which was to be paid for it had been fixed by a bond issue of $2,000,000, the county officials undertook to show and did convince the jury that it ought of get all the land it wanted for the sum which had been voted for that purposes.

Two suits, each involving 35,000 (approximately) acres, were instituted August, 1917, and September, 1918, in addition to the Indian suit in April, 1918. In the neighborhood of 1,500 respondents, all told. (A, 8, E, 5.) Many of those dispossessed of their homes by the last suit have joined in a petition to the Secretary of War, and several called on me and gave me copies of their printed data and brief filed with Secretary of War. (D, E.) I went carefully into the records of several of these cases and also saw some of their places. It will be noted that many of the them got very much less than their places were worth or had cost them, being homes where they had lived for yeats and had made a living there from. One of them who lost part of his land (not the improvements) is C. H. Thompson, formerly auditor of one of Tacoma’s big banks. After a painstaking and intelligent study of soils, products, transportation, and other advantages he purchased in June, 1915, at what amounted tot a forced sale, 240 acres of land, paying therefore $14,300 in cash. The county appraised the whole at $6,843 and took the poorer prairie land (143 acres for $1,778.77, after increasing its appraisal $418.84 or 30 per cent; to include a half mile of road and fence, which fence was valued at very liberally. The county took nearly all his pasture, leaving 96 acres of land, of which 59 acres is fine creek bottom soil, sub-irrigated. This place is less than 2 miles from Spanaway Lake, 1 ½ miles from the paved highway from Tacoma to Mount Tacoma which a recent bond issue will complete in Tacoma and the park entrance. (Map, Exhibit F), and to Roy the same distance to the south of his place. I verified the sale of this place to Thompson from records and the attorney who handled the matter for the owner in a suit to cancel a contract of purchase for $12,500 which has been defaulted. The defaulting defendant, through a realtor, finally secured Mr. Thompson as a buyer and the suit was dismissed. On the 96 acres which Thompson was permitted to retain the assessed valuation is $2,160, being 50 per cent of full valuation. The tax rate is 53 mills this year on this property. It is part of a narrow wedge jutting for 2 miles into the cantonment south of Spanaway Lake, and was evidently not taken because it was high priced. Southwest toward Roy are several large tracts (in green solid with red border) which the county did not condemn for the same reason.

Contrast this with the million-dollar judgment against the port of Tacoma ( Pierce County) which the same attorneys and expert witness secured for 240 acres of unimproved submerged tide flats, assessed at $198,000. (A, 90)

1919 – Update on Dispossed Nisqually

Present Status of Dispossessed Nisquallies.

 Cushman School. Tacoma, Wash, October 20 1919.

George Bobb (Account B-7) 

George Bobb, an intelligent, capable farmer, has built a new eight-room house across the Nisqually River from his old home on 277 acres of allotted lands which he inherited from Gerge Stahi, deceased Nisqually allottee No. 26.  Bobb is well situated in his new home except as to pasture, most of his new land being in small timber, while open prairie predominated at his old place.  He also lacks the berries and other fruit and the excellent bottom land, which is very limited on his new farm and covered with timber.  He has cleared 4 acres of upland timber and had 7 acres of prairie planed to oats and potatoes.  In all Bobb has 20 acres free of timber.  However, there is a small cleared bottom on the adjoining allotment of Chickamin (allottee No. 27), deceased father of Mrs. Bobb, which Bobb can probably cultivate with the consent of the heirs.

            To $415 of his earnings Bobb had recently added $770 from his award funds and bought a new Overland automobile.  He has $1,662.49 remaining, which should be used to clear more of his land for pasturage and cultivation, and to provide berries, an orchard, and needed improvements and equipment.

            Bobb and him wife both speak English will.  Their children attend the local district school a mile away from home.  They greatly miss their old home, with its open prairies, fine view of Mount Tacoma, its garden and fruit, but did not wish to go back there if the money they received had to be returned.  They told Col. E. A. Hickman and me that a lawyer named Sergent had recently held a meeting the dispossessed Nisquallies for purpose of getting their old reservation returned to them, now that the war was over, and he said it wasn’t needed any more by the War Department.  This lawyer is Fred A. Sergent of Grand Mound, Wash., associated with W. H. Abel, of Montesano, Wash., who of attorney for protesting owners of property condemned for Camp Lewis Army Post who have appealed to the Secretary of War and the Military Committees of Congress.  (Exs. D. and E.)  (See Ex. C-10, and Roblin report, pp. 12, 13, 30, 31, 32)

JOHN STAWHA (Account S-15).

            We found John Stawha comfortably housed in the old Stahi housed of two rooms, which George Bobb had sold him with 32 acres of the Stahi land bordering on the Nisqually River.  John is 83 years old, infirm, and needs the care of the Bobbs, as he has no near relatives.  He has a barn and chicken house in connection with his new home.  His former home was in a little cabin at Bobb’s place across the Nisqually River.  Stawha said he was not satisfied, but liked his old land best; that he couldn’t raise anything at his new home.  As a matter of fact, he is too old and infirm to do any faring and is dependent on his friends, the Bobbs, for personal assistance, and upon the balance of his funds in the superintendent’s hands for livings expenses.  (C, 10.  Roblin, 16, 17, 30.)

Section V. Present Status of Dispossessed Nisquallies.


Cushman School.

Tacoma, Wash, October 20 1919.


            Alice James is an old windowed woman, who paid George Bobb for the privilege of squatting with her house and outbuildings on the George Wheatsut allotment No. 5, in which he was part heir.  She is a Puyallup citizen Indian and came to the Nisqually Reservation in 1904 and lived on another allotment until the allottee (Tenas Pealo, No. 19) died, when she moved to the Wheatsut land, where her improvements were appraised by the county at $265.  She paid Bobb liberally for her occupancy of the Wheatsut land, but the heirs would not pay her any of the amount awarded for her improvements.  George Bobb, who heired half of the Wheatsut estate has promised to deed Sallie James 5 acres for life at his new home and build thereon a comfortable house for her use.

            Bobb has made no move to provide this house for Alice James, and it is recommended that unless he does this at once the $265 of his funds with the superintendent be used in repairing the sawmill cabin which she now occupies on the Henry Martin allotment 2 miles up the river, after securing consent of the heirs, Peter Kalama, Sallie Jackson, and Charles Martin.  Alice is reported to have gotten $16,000 a few years ago for her Puyallup land, but she is now without funds.  Her lawyer at Olympia has a small amount, but he states it will be needed to pay Alice’s note for which he is guarantor.  Alice’s living comes from earnings from picking berries and potatoes and fish and help from Indian friends.  She formerly had chickens and a garden, and her new home should be provided with garden patch and chickens, both fenced.  (C, 10.  Roblin, 13, 31, 1, 2.)

LIZZIE JOHN (Account J-13)

Lizzie John and family live part of the time in one of the cabins erected about two years ago for sawmill employees on the allotment of Henry Martin, deceased.  Lizzie used the funds derived from the condemnation of her Nisqually home to discharge debts against the Puyallup lands of her husband, Joe John, the 11 acres being conveyed to Lizzie with restrictions against the alienation.  I visited this tract and find it excellently situated near the Tacoma-Seattle paved road and a short distance from the town of Puyallup.  The land is worth three or four times what Lizzie paid.  The Japanese renters have part of it in berries and balance in high state of cultivation for growing produce.  On the land is an old unpainted, frame house of five rooms.  The roof is shingled.  This house is comfortable and much better than the one on the Nisqually of which were dispossessed.  There is also an old barn, wagon shed, and root house, and a new bunk house built of lumber for the Japanese laborers.  I learn that the Johns are trying to lease the land for next season.  They will probably do so and live at the saw mill where Joe John has recently secured employment.  The family will no doubt return at intervals to the meager quarters in the abandoned Martin sawmill where there are Nisqually neighbors rather than move to their home in the Puyallup Valley.  If they do the superintendent should require them to use some of their rentals from the Puyallup home to make one of the Martin buildings comfortable and ample for the needs of the family, after making and arrangement in writing with the Martin heirs for use of a building and a few acres for garden, chicken house, and outbuildings.  (C, 31.  Roblin, 22, 42.)

PETER KALAMA (Wife’s Account K-9)

            The home of which Peter Kalama and family were dispossessed was old and appraised at $283.  A barn, granary, tool house, and chicken house increased this to $559.50.  However as his wife’s interest in the allotment was only seven one hundred and forty-fourths and Peter had had exclusive use of the land for years, the other heirs refused to allow his wife anything in addition to her share, viz, $162.05, which she quickly spent for living expenses.  Mrs. Kalama is only 32 years old.  Peter is much older (57 years), but vigorous, capable, and self-supporting from his earnings.  They have five children, from 5 to 15 years old.  Peter is the graduate of Chemawa School and was employed in 1886 and 1887 as Indian teacher at the Yakima Agency.  His father was a Hawaiian and his mother a Nisqually.

            Peter is allotted on the Warm Springs Reservation in Oregon, where he has an improved farm and 60 acres in cultivation, the place being occupied by his son, Oliver, and his mother, a Wasco, the former wife of Peter by whom he has several children.  When we met Peter he was working with his team of heavy horses near his present residence at a little sawmill on the Nisqually River across from a railroad station of the same name and about 3 miles down the river from the reservation. 

            Pending in the Indian Office is a report, dated January 14, 1919, of hearing to determine the heirs of Henry Martin, No. 23, and Qual-a-muth or Robert Martin, No. 24, deceased Nisquallu allottees, whose allotments are on the reduced Nisqually Reservation on the west side of the river.  It is recommended that early action be taken on this report, as Peter states he can do nothing toward establishing his new home thereon until he knows he is sage in his title.  If this report is approved as submitted, Peter will be sole owner of the while Qual-a-muth allotment of 140 acres and equal owner in the Henry Martin allotment with Sallie Jackson and Charles Martin, 72 and 89 years old, respectively.  The Henry Martin allotment has 132 acres.  Charles Martin is blind, and both he and Sallie are dependent on Peter, who will be their heir when they die.  Peter’s present residence is a little box house 16 by 20 feet into which he moved when he left his old home.  He is now working for a logging contractor.  At intervals he works with his team for Pierce County on the roads, receiving $7.50 a day.  When the sawmill is running Peter earns $6 a day as a sawyer.

            While Peter won’t have the free use of the large Nisqually Prairie as he did at his old home, he will, when the Martin cases are decided, have practically 190 acres of lands and be better and more securely situates in its occupancy than he was before, where his wife only had a small undivided interest in the land he was using.  The Robert Martin or Qual-a-Muth allotment has some 12 acres cleared in the bottom around a little tow-room house.

            Before making repairs to the mill buildings on the Henry Martin allotment a formal transfer to the allottee of all improvements thereon should be secured from Harsted Bros., the timber contractors, who have abandoned their operations and removed the machinery.  It is thought that they will readily consent to this, in consideration of the cancellation of their contract, which is considered an equitable arrangement.  (See Indian Office letter Forestry 75098-83654, 1917, W. v. B.)


Sallie Jackson is a widow 72 years old and has no near relatives, except Peter Kalama, a nephew, and Charles Martin, a half brother.  All three have equal shares in the allotment of Henry Martin, deceased Nisqually No. 23, having 140 acres.  Sallie lives in the old Martin home, near the Harsted sawmill.  The house is old and needs a new roof and minor repairs to make it dry and warm.  A hydraulic ram brings water from a spring to edge of the escarpment near this house, where it is convenient now only for Sallie but for Alice James and Lizzie John and family when they live there.  A small garden should be cleared and fenced and chicken house, with yard, provided for Sallie.  One of the mill buildings can be converted into a woodshed and smokehouse for her.  As Sallie received only $416.70 from inherited interests and $250 from James Nimrod for her house on his allotment, her means are slender and should be closely conserved after these small improvements are made.

In justice to Salle, James Nimrod should be required to pay to her the $411 which he received from the Pierce County for her home on his allotment, where she was a squatter.  (See Roblin’s report, p. 41 ½.)

As Peter Kalama will likely outlive Sallie and heir her share in the Henry Martin allotment, it is thought that he will look after her and see that she doesn’t suffer.  The Nisqually River being near, fish can be secured, but not as conveniently as in the sloughs on the other side of the river.  (C. 29.)

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)

1887 Indian Agent Report


Reports of Agents in Washington Territory.  Nisqually and S’kokomish Agency, Washington, August 20, 1887. 

Sir: In complements with general instructions, I have the honor to submit here with my seventeenth annual report of the affairs of this agency and the conditions of the Indians under my charge. Heaven has continued to smile upon us, and to shower down upon a prosperous, contented, and happy people its unmerited blessings.

As stated in my former reports, the Indians living on the Nisqually, Puyallup, and Squakson reservations had received patents for their allotments last year, leaving only the Chehalis and S’kokomish Indians unprotected in the titles to their homes. This has now been done for them also, as far as it can be, so that all the Indians belonging to this agency, with a few individual exceptions, are now living on homes of their own, the titles to which are guarantied the them by the United States Government.

The S’kokomish Indians have received patents for all that portion of the reservation, which was originally given by them by treaty, leaving only 2 small portions, which was afterwards added on by Executive order, unpatented. A descriptive list of the forwarded to the Department, and I presume that soon these Indians will also have their patents issued to them under the Dawes allotment bill. Contributions were made by these Indians to pay for the expense of running out the boundary lines of their allotments and also for recording their patents in the county auditor’s office. This work has all been done for them at their own expense, and they are now secure in the possession of their homes.

The Chehalis reservation not being a treaty reservation, there was no law under which patents could be given to them the same as to the others, but they were allowed to enter their allotments in the land office under the general homestead laws. More than half of them, having already completed their required five years’ residence and cultivation on their places, proved up, and have received their certificates of final proof, which entitles them to receive the patents, which will probably be sent them in a short time. The others made their entries, and will also get their titles when they have performed the conditions required. This now completes the work of securing to all the reservation Indians belonging to this agency the titles to their homes; a work in which I have labored in various ways, and often amid many discouragements and against strong opposition for the last ten or twelve years. This realization of my fondest hopes and strong desires has been the source of sincere gratitude and intense pleasure to me.

Unexpectedly, as soon as this had been done a law was passed making all Indians who has titles to the land on which they live citizens of the United States, with all the rights, privileges, and immunities of such citizens, so that now all the reservation Indians belonging to this agency are no longer wards of the Government, but freeborn sovereigns of their native land. With them the Indian problem has been solved, and they have passed through the different stags of development to full-grown manhood. How they will beat these high honors and privileges and perform their new duties, time will tell. They will still need a fatherly care, and some one who will wisely advise, counsel, and encourage them; but if they can have that, I believe they will not be unworthy if the rights and privileges that have been given them.

The next most important matter connected with their welfare is the education of their children. This work has been continued during the year with gratifying success. The three boarding schools belonging in this agency have been as full as the buildings could accommodate. The progress of the children in their studies and the interest taken by their parents in the schools have been very satisfactory. This work should certainly be continued, as it is their surest safeguard. There are needed more permanent buildings and enlarged quartets for the accommodation of the schools of this agency, and they should be put on a sure and independent basis. New buildings are needed in the Puyallup reservation, as this location has many and superior advantages for a high school. There should be accommodations for 150 scholars, with training shops in which the older boys could learn trades, while the other schools belonging to this agency should be still kept up as feeders to this school, and also on account of the beneficial influence, which they would have on the Indians living on those reservations. Good schools, with homes and proper religious instruction, seem to me to be the most important requisites for making good citizens and successful men. There are good farms connected with all of the boarding schools, which are well supplied with stock, tools, school herds, and all the conveniences needed to carry

(Walter Kassil’s work)

indians have contributed funds to make a good ferryboat, and to purchase wire rope and all the needed conveniences for a ferry, which was badly needed.

At Puyallup the Indians have promised, to raise 81,000, most of which has been paid in, to aid in the construction of a good bridge across the Puyallup River. The arrangement is for the Indians to pay $1,000. The whites in the vicinity have prom­ised to give $500, and the county$ 1,500,to put up a bridge that will be nearly 600 feet long. They have crossed the river for the past twenty years or more on a ferryboat kept by one of their number, but the demands of travel, the larger part of which is their own, in taking their produce to market, has outgrown this way of crossing, and we hope soon to see a good and substantial bridge across the Puyallup flyer.

As this is probably my last annual report, I may perhaps be indulged in making a few suggestions relative to the service and for the good of the Indians. If good, true work is to be done, the most important person connected with the work of benefit­ing the Indians is the agent. He should, therefore, be selected on account of his fit­ness for the place, and not on account of political favoritism. Sufficient salaries should be paid to secure and keep competent and faithful men in these positions. The duties are necessarily arduous and the responsibility great; his privations are many, and the longer he remains the more they are felt. Proper inducement should therefore be offered, so that such men can be obtained and kept; and when a man is found who is adapted to the business, he should be kept as long as possible. It gen­erally takes at least a year for any one to become so well acquainted with his own duties, and for the Indians to become well enough acquainted with him to have that confidence in him which is indispensable to enable him to work efficiently and successfully for their good. The Government having found such a man, and he having learned his business, he should then have as much liberty as possible.

He should be entirely independent of his employees, with the power of appointment and removal, subject to the approval of the Commissioner of Indian Affairs. As he is pecuniary responsible for all the property, be should have the right to select those upon whom he must rely for its management and care. No businessman would ac­cept such a position in private life unless he could protect himself in this way. He is also the one who has the best opportunity to judge, and therefore can the most easily and correctly decide as to the fitness of the employees for their several positions. Give a competent man the power to do what he wants, and the time to do it in, and he can accomplish much; but to appoint a man because be happens to have an in­fluential friend at Washington, who has not the least idea of the duties required of him, and send him out to a reservation, where he finds a heterogeneous collection of employees, all with influential friends to back them and who very likely think they know just as much as he does, and perhaps do, and his hands are tied, even if he wants to do his duty. He finds himself under heavy bonds, and with employees that he has got to manage so as to keep on the right side of them to prevent their being his enemies. Situated in this way he is their slave instead of their master, and, wor­ried and hampered, be soon gets disgusted, and if he is not entirely swamped be soon finds a way to get; relieved In more senses than one by some one else, who goes through the same experience. Under each circumstance it is a wonder that as much is ac­complished as there is.

School employees should also be encouraged to feel that their tenure of office is in proportion to their faithfulness and success. For a teacher to work hard and build up a fine school, and then at the end of the fiscal year to be unceremoniously dropped out to give place to some one else who has more political influence than he has is not the way to get good work done in the schools. Schools are now the moss effective means of benefiting the Indians. There should be system, and the schools should be entirely eliminated from Politics. The generosity of the American people in giving funds for the education of the Indians should be supplemented by corresponding good management in the use of those funds for the benefit of the Indian children. It is mistaken economy, however, to pay meager salaries to teachers in Indian schools. It can only result in getting poor talent, and that is the most expensive. A thorough wide-awake, and energetic teacher wilt do more in two months than a common, dull kind of a person would accomplish in a year. It is, however, very wearing work. Numbers of my teachers have lad to leave the service entirely worn out. Daring the past year two of the most faithful teachers I have had were compelled to resign on account of ill-health, after doing good work for six or seven years.

Faithfulness and earnestness will always be a bright spot in my memory and awaken feelings of gratitude. I also take pleasure in acknowledging the obligations I am under to the officers of the Department for the courtesy and consideration with which I have generally been treated by the Indian Office. I sincerely hope that some good man will be appointed to take up the work where I lay it down, and that the Indians for whom the Government has done so much will continue to improve and prosper and be worthy of the benefits that they have received.

               Very respectfully submitted.

Edwin Eells

U.S.  Indian Agent.


1874 – Nisqually & Puyallup Indian Agent Report

Office United States Indian Agency of The  Nisqually, Puyallup, and other Indian Tribes, Olympia, Washington Territory, September 28, 1874.

Sir: In Compliances with the request of the Indian Bureau, I have the honor to submit the following as my first annual report:

I have recently appointed to this agency, and only arrived at this place from my home in Iowa on the 2nd instant, and of course it could not be expected that during the brief period since my arrival I have become informed and fully able to advise as to the situation, requirements, and best interests of the Indians of the six reservations belonging to this agency. This will be a sufficient apology for the brevity of this report.

In company with General Milroy, whom I found in charge of the reservations and Government property of this agency, I visited and inspect these reservations and the public property belonging to them, which was transferred to me on the 10th instant. I found General Milroy very fully informed upon Indian matters in this territory, and is much indebted to him for valuable information in relation of the Indian and the six reservation of my agency. I found these Indians and reservation of two classes, viz, treaty and non-treaty. The 1st named are embraced in what is known as the Medicine Creek treaty, negotiated December 26, 1854, and ratified on the 10th of April, 1855, following. The reservations under this treaty are the Nisqually, Puyallup, Squaxins, and Mukleshoots. The annuities provided by this treaty extended twenty years from the date of its ratification, and of course will expired on the 10th of April next, and to this matter I desire to call especial attention of the Government. The expiration of these annuities will require the attention of Congress as to the farmers in charge of the Puyallup and Chehalis reservations had been instructed as certain and report the number of each claim selected, with the names of the Indians selecting it, that titles may be given them. As fast as the names of claimants and numbers of claims taken on the treaty reservations are reported to me I will send them to you, that allotment titles may be forwarded. As there is no treaty or act of Congress authorizing titles to Indians who have selected homes on non- treaty reservations; and as I regard the taking and improving separate permanent homes by Indians at the first prominent step toward true civilization, and as a matter of paramount importance, which should be encouraged in every way possible, I shall prepare and give to each Indian who selects a claim on a non-treaty reservation a simple tenancy title to himself and heirs, as long as he continues to occupy and cultivate the same, which will satisfy them.

The Puyallup reservation is much the largest, and contains more good agricultural land than all those of the other reservations of Medicine Creek treaty combined. The treaty provides for but one set of employees, and they are all on this reservation, to wit, schoolteacher and assistant, farmer and assistant, physician, blacksmith, carpenter, and interpreter. Superintendent Milroy had assigned this reservation to the care of the Presbyterian church, and the employees were all at that faith. I found a commodious two-story boarding-school building and good teachers, the Rev. Mr. Sloan, a Presbyterian clergyman, and wife. They have preaching to a good congregation, and a prosperous Sunday-school each Sabbath, but the weekday school, on account of the inadequacy of the funds for boarding and clothing the children only, have 28 children, 16 of whom are clothed and boarded by their poor Indian parents, so anxious are they to have their children educated. I am incredibly informed that, if adequate means for boarding, clothing, and etc., were provided, at least 50 Indian children could be had from the different reservations of the Territory to attend the school. As there are no Government employees at either the Muckleshoots, Nisqually, or Squaxin reservations, of course there is no school or any other civilized appliances at either one of these reservations, and all of their children are growing up in these nations barbarism of their parents. As the small school funds provided by the Medicine Creek treaty expires next April, and if  the school for the reservations of this treaty is to be continued, it must be by a direct appropriation for that purpose. I recommend, in the name of humanity and civilization, that this appropriation shall be least $5,000; $2,000 of which shall be for the pay of three teachers, superintendent, matron, and teacher; and $3,000 for boarding and clothing the children and other expenses of the school.

I found on the Chehalis reservation only a farmer and a physician. The school, as I was informed, was discontinued last spring for want of funds. The Indians complain of this very much, and were very anxious for the school to be again opened. I found that Superintendent Milroy had assigned the care of this reservation to the Methodist Episcopal church, which had an organized church there of Indian members and two local Indian appropriation act there was $3,000 allowed from the general incidental fund for the support of schools-one at Colville and one at Chehalis-and believing that I would be allowed a sufficient portion out of this sum to pay teachers for the Chehalis school, and I could get sufficient from the amount of the general incidental fund allowed this agency for general expenses to board and clothe the children of a reasonable-sized school at Chehalis, I took the responsibility to employ a teacher and matron at the rate heretofore paid them, viz. $1,000 for the former and $500 for the latter per annum, and re-opened the school there on the 28th instant with 24 Indian children, greatly to the delight of the children and their parents. Two or three times this number of children could be had if I knew that adequate means would be furnished for their support.

I presume that the main object of the Government in her Indian policy is the civilization and Christianization of the Indians. The ignorant, superstitions, barbarous habits and customs of the adult Indians being fixed and very difficult to change, of course the only hope of permanent civilization is in the rising generations. If all Indian children could be educated and trained up in the habits, morals, and industries of civilized lives, they would become good citizens, melted into the body-politics, and our Indian system ended. Indian schoolchildren, unlike the children of civilized parents, have not to learn reading, writing, arithematics, and etc. from their schoolteachers, but must also learn from them the habits, morals, and industries of civilized life, which they cannot acquire from their ignorant, barbarous parents, as the children of civilized parents do, at their homes. Is therefore seems to me to be a matter of the very highest importance that ample provision be made for the maintenance of efficient industrial boarding-schools, in which all Indian children between the ages of five and eighteen should be required to attend. I therefore ask an appropriation of $5,000 on September 22, 1866, is on the shore of the Pacific, seventy-five miles southwest of this place. It is mostly a poor sand beach, and on account of its distance from this agency and the other reservations belonging to it, and of the small numbers of Indians belonging to it, I recommended that it be vacated, and the Indians belonging to it remove to the Chehalis reservations; and if appropriations cannot be made for support of teachers at the Muckleshoots, Nisqually, and Squaxins reservations, I recommended that they also be vacated, and the Indian belonging to them removed to the Puyallup reservations, as recommend by late Superintendent Milroy in his annual report for this year, to which I respectfully refer for further information in reference to the reservations under my charge.

Enclosed I send a statistical report to their reservation of this agency, so far has I have been able to as certain which any certainty, embracing,  the various items mentioned in your circular on the subject.

I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant, H.D. GIBSON Untied States Indian Agent.