Siletz Indian Agency,
Toledo, Benton County, Oregon,
August 18, 1879.
Sir: In compliance with instructions received from your office, under date of June, 18, 1879, I have the honor to transmit herewith my first annual report.
On the 15th day of July last I assumed charge of this agency, relieving William Bagley. In consequence of the brief time since my arrival, my annual report will necessarily be somewhat short, owing to a want of personal knowledge in matters pertaining to the business of this reservation.
Upon examination I find that the Siletz Reserve is located within the counties of Benton and Tillamook, and is described as follows: Beginning at a point two miles south of the Siletz Agency, thence west to the Pacific Ocean; thence north along said ocean to the mouth of the Salmon River; thence due east to the western boundary of the eighth ranges of townships west of the Willamette meridian; thence south with said boundary to the point due east of the place of beginning; thence west to the place of beginning; being 24 miles in length by about 15 miles in width, and containing 223,000 acres, of which 23,000 acres only are suitable for agricultural purposes. The tillable lands are found in small bodies lying along the Siletz River. The Indians occupying this extent of country number about 1,000 and are composed of a part of 17 different tribes.
The agency buildings consist of one flouring-mill, a saw-mill, wagon-shop, blacksmith-shop, harness-shop, and shoe-shop, several dwelling-houses for the use of the agent and employes, school-house, and a large and commodious boarding-school house now in course of construction under the supervision of the assistant carpenter, Mr. Peterson, the work of which has and is being done exclusively by Indians, speaking volumes for their ability in workmanship; there are also several barns and outhouses; there are some over 200 houses owned and occupied by Indian families, together with granaries, barns, outhouses, &c.
There are about 1,100 acres of land cultivated by Indians, 95 of which have been broken during the year; a portion of the growing crops looks remarkably well, while other parts will yield below the average. In some localities I fear the wheat will suffer from rust. The amount of grain and vegetables raised, and now unharvested, during the season, by estimate is as follows: 1,500 bushels of wheat; 3,000 of oats; 2,500 of potatoes; 3,000 of turnips; 10 of onions, and 30 of beans. The crop of hay has been harvested, yields well, and is of good quality, and estimated at 88 tons.
The day-school has been continued through the year with a principal and an assistant; and the number of Indian children in attendance has been from 18 to 60. This disparity of numbers has been owing to the distance a portion of them live from the agnecy; many of the children are advanced in their studies and appear to take a lively interest in education.
There has been preaching once each Sabbath during the year, and religious service each Sabbath evening, led by one of the Indians; a class-meeting on each Tuesday evening, and a prayer-meeting on Thursday night of each week, at the agency. There have also been social meetings on other parts of the reserve, from house to house, conducted by the Indians, usually accompanied by one or more whites. I have attended many of the above meetings since my arrival, and found a goodly number of the Indians active and zealous in the cause of Christianity.
A Sabbath-school is successfully carried on, sustained jointly by the whites and Indians; attendance good, and manifestly a noble work is being done, giving great encouragement to the superintendent and teachers.
Whole number of Indians treated during the past year is 196; whole number of births that have come to the knowledge of the physician, 25; and of deaths, 30. There are doubtless many more births in various parts of the reservation, that would more than equal the deaths, but it is a well-known fact that Indian mothers, so far as may be, conceal the birth of their infants from the public, and hence escape the notice of the physician. The tribes are evidently suffering from veneral diseases, both primary and hereditary, which requires great attention; the physician is unceasing in his efforts, not only in the curing of the suffering, but in the giving of such advice as will tend to entirely stop the spread of this class of disease.
In conclusion, permit me to call your attention to the want of means for a larger agricultural improvement. Many of the Indians are anxious to cultivate the lands, as shown by their gardens, but lack teams and implements; therefore, I would suggest that they be supplied, and such assistance, if rendered soon, would enable them to enlarge their acreage the coming fall.
I am informed by my predecessor that the appropriation made is inadequate to the completion and furnishing of the new boarding-school house, and early attention to the same is desirable, so that the building so much needed may ere long be brought into use.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
EDMUND A. SWAN,
United States Indian Agent.
The Commissioner of Indian Affairs.