Items from the Siletz Indian Agency
On the 1st of May B. Simpson, U. S. Indian Agent, turned over the Indian Department property at Siletz to Gen. Palmer, his successor in office, consisting in part of the following sundries to wit: 42 work oxen, 19 milch cows, 34 assorted cattle, young and old, 11 horses, 5 mules, 23 plows, 9 barrows, 7 wagons, 5 carts, 2,000 bushels potatoes, 40 bushels oats, 35 bushels wheat, one patent burr flouring mill (horse power), a limited stock of drugs and medicine, supply of stationary, vouchers, office and kitchen furniture, one saw mill and fixtures (water power), 6,000 feet lumber, large amount of hardware and farming tools (new), besides large lot of tools in use by employees and Indians, 1,500 pounds iron and steel, besides 200 bushels of coal to supply two blacksmith shops, etc.
It is also estimated that up to May 1st Agent Simpson had sown and planted about 400 acres of ground for the benefit of his successor and the Indians, whose gardens and patches are included in the above estimate. Very little wheat is grown on the Reservation; the crop consisting mostly of potatoes, oats and garden vegetables. The present prospect for a fair crop of the later planting is anything but promising. The drought since planting has greatly retarded all sown crops.
This Agency is placed under the control of the M. E. Church Conference of Oregon, yet of the eighteen adult whites employed and resident on the Reserve, only six belong to M. E. Church, while the other twelve belong to no religious society as yet. At present there is not a school or Sabbath- school in existence there among the Indians, though it is proposed to start both sometime in the future. Congress very courteously turned over the Indian Reservation to the Churches as Missionary fields, expecting the Churches, through their agents, to carry out the experiment with full force, that they may know the legitimate result of the policy under a fair trial. Of the seven hundred Indians (estimated) on and connected with the Siletz Agency (over half of them are now absent leading a roving life among the whites), three or four can read in the primer and write their names; none have been discovered who have Christian principles or belief. The settlement is mostly composed of three farms the central, one six miles above and one six miles below the central. The Indians at first built small, comfortable houses and a few good sized barns, which were built during Agent Simpson's term of office which extended over a period of eight years. During his term nearly all the improvements now on the Reserve were made, besides increasing the working force of horses, mules and oxen from a very small beginning to the present large number. Schools were also kept up during his term, and exhortation and preaching at sundry times. The Reserve is soon to be surveyed and parceled out to the Indians, many of whom in a few years at most will sleep in some one of the numerous Indian burying grounds, and the whites will occupy the long-desired but not very fertile plains where now rolls the clear and icy waters of the Siletz.