NADP Homepage
Palmer to Meacham, 6 Nov 1871, in United States, Office of Indian Affairs, Records of the Oregon Superintendency of Indian Affairs, National Archives Microcopy 2, NADP Document D132.
[Page 1]

Office Siletz Ind. Agency
Oregon Nov 6. 1871.

      My Annual Report submitted in the month of September, has been regarded a sufficient justification for writing a special Report for that Month.
      The unusual lateness in putting in spring crops, owing to coutinued rains, together with the damp atomsphere in this locality, kept back the ripening of much of our grain until past the middle of October. About fifteen acres of wheat owned by Indians had ripened and was ready to harvest at the [commencement] of ten days rain, a portion of this, was cut dried by fires, but the greatest portion provided whilst standing in the fields.
      As indicated in former reports a large portion of the Potatoe crop has been killed by the early frosts. About thirty five acres will not yield more than a quarter crop. The estimate of number of bushels in my usual report is nearly one half too high.
      Very much of the late sown Oat crop could not be [cured] on account of and is therefore to that extent a loss. My estimate of number of bushels of oats in my annual report, is also too high. Anticipating a limited suppply I have prohibited the sale of oats by the Indians outside the Reservation, a number have a surplus, and as they desire to purchase various articles, claim that I must either purchase at once, or allow them to sell elsewhere, but as we have a supply for winter use, on hand,

[Page 2]

I have thus far omitted to purchase any quantity. Considerable feeling is manifested among the Indians on account of the delay in allotment of lands, as quite a number desire to build, but I have discouraged them from doing so until we can desiginate the particular tract which each can lay [claim]. Another subject in which they feel much interest, is the opening of a wagon road from the Agency to Kings Valley, a distance of about twenty five miles. Kings Valley, you are aware, is in the direction of the Superintendency and the point from which we are now compelled to pack or haul our supplies of flour and if hauled, by the nearest wagon road now accessable not less than fifty miles. The route over which it is proposed to open a road is a practicable and not more difficult than other mountainous districts, in fact there is but one mountain to cross and that by no means very difficult.
      If the Government will furnish tools subsistence and supervision the Indians will do the work. If this road was opened it would very naturally lessen the expense of transporting material goods, supplies &c for this Agency, to make it thoroughly effective we ought to have a bridge across the Siletz River at the Upper Farm, not exclusively on account of this road, but the success of the Reservation demands a bridge at this point for the Upper farm is on the South and the Agency or Lower Farm is on the North side and the pack trail to Kings Valley crosses at this point, and for several months in the year, this stream is unpassable on account of high water, besides

[Page 3]

the current in this mountain stream during the winter renders it dangerous crossing even in small canoes and a wagon ferry boat, would be exceedingly hazardous. At the period of commencing improvements upon this Reservation, sixteen years since, a road was opened along this same route so as to admit the passage of ox teams loaded with tools and supplies, but it has been permitted grow up with muck and fill with fallen lumber &c until but little trace of the road is now visible. I hardly feel warranted in incurring the expense of feeding these people whilst opening the road unless directed so to do, but I regard it of so much importance to the welfare of these Indians and advantage to the Government, that I do not hesitate recommending its construction at the earliest day practicable.
      In accordance with your instructions I refuse starting on Thursday next to collect and bring to the Reservation the runaway Indians from this Agency, many of where it is said has been about several years.
      The petitions and correspondence from citizens along the coast and on our Southern boundary forwarded by you seem to demand prompt action and no time will be lost in making this expedition. I have no means of arriving at an accurate estimate of the number of Indians in that district but it has been estimated at about two hundred, and among them not a few desperate characters, quite a number who have been brought here several times in vain and who are reported as being determined to resist to the last, all efforts to move them to the

[Page 4]

Reservation. I hope however for better results. The season is unfavorable for such removal, and I anticipate great hardship and suffering among these people coming up the Coast at this season of the year. We have not the animals on hand to transport them and their effects nor have we the means to procure transportation and of course the trip of two hundred miles along the rough Coast trail on foot is not likely to be an easy task.
      We are now engaged in putting in our fall or winter wheat. It has been somewhat difficult obtaining the different varities of seed desired, but I have finally secured the quantity desired essential, though at considerable expense. The wheat cost one dollar and twenty five cents per bushel [...], transportation to Elk City one dollar coin per hundred pounds, thence by steamboat to Toldeo, thence by railroad to the Depot and from thence by Agency teams. We hope by cultivating winter varities to secure a crop that will ripen earlier than spring wheat, then by securing a flouring mill upon the Agency, we will be able to [...] these people with more regularity and at much less expense than heretofore.
      In selecting seed it has been an object to obtain different varities so as to list that best suited to climate & soil.
      Since returning from the Indian Council at Salem we have collect our people and each of the dellegates attending that Council explained to them the object and gave to them a detailed statement of events and

[Page 5]

impressions, with which all appeared highly pleased and there is every reason to believe it will eventuate in great good to the Indians giving them new hopes and more comprehensive views of the advantages of civilization over barbarism.
      The idea of Schools is being fully discussed among them. At our council it was resolved to build four school houses, and if lumber could not be obtained to erect frame houses, they would build of logs, and were it not for this Coast trip, I should proceed at once to carry out that resolve. The Council also took action in regard to this Kings Valley road resolving that if the Govt would feed them, they would do the work. They elected three jurymen to hear & determine differences among themselves, The Agent presiding & acting in the capacity of Judge, the Court at present to meat on each Saturday. Upon the whole, I feel encouraged in the hope of being able to effect a reform among these people, if we can obtain means to give visible evidence of our intentions &

I Am sir
Very Respectfully Yours
Joel Palmer
U. S. Ind. Agt

Hon A B Meacham
Supt Ind. Affs