Siletz Indian Agency, Oregon,
Sir: I have the honor to submit my annual report for the year 1884.
This has been a peculiar season. The first part of the season was dry and cold; was bad for gardens, also for crops. The grain turned yellow. Later came rains that put the crops ahead so that the yield will be better than last year. What I said last year in regard to the land is true now with the feeling intensified. The Department has kindly given us some work in the line of surveying.
There is a marked improvement in some directions in regard to settling on the farm and making homes for themselves. I am very much encouraged in this matter.
The crop of hay is secured, but not in as fine condition as last season. Rains fell and fogs came so that part of the hay was damaged somewhat. I am still of the opinion that good wheat can be raised here, and that we could save to these Indians the price of the flour that we buy abroad, if we could get them started; and the money to purchase the right kind of seed is wanted.
Number of acres under fence, 3,000; under cultivation, 1,350; new land broken, 100 acres; new fence and old repaired, 2,000 rods. Some lands classed under cultivation is in pasturage, making the actual land plowed and sown, also in hay, about 1,000 acres. Average yield of oats, 35 bushels; hay, 2 1/2 tons; wheat, 20 bushels; potatoes, 250: giving of us oats 22,130 bushels; wheat, 875; potatoes, 26,350 bushels. Of course these figures are approximated, as at this writing there is no possible way to get an accurate account of these things.
There is a prospect of better transportation facilities. A railroad line is building form the heart of the valley to the ocean, and will come to Toledo, 8 miles from us. As soon as that is built there will be a line of steamers plying between our port and
San Francisco, and also Portland and Yaquina. We have to have our supplies sent to us earlier. They did not reach us till midwinter this last year and we were greatly inconvenienced by it. One matter connected with the railroad is a constant annoyance, and in mentioning it brings me to the police affairs.
I have trouble with the low tramps about whisky, and they tamper with my police as well as others. I am happy to say that my captain, appointed a year ago, is faithful to me, and makes an efficient officer. I have to weed out the force occasionally. Some few are faithful and true. We are just now making some changes.
I am satisfied that the health of the Indians, taking them altogether, is far better than it was a year ago. Number of births, 28; deaths, 31 recorded; but I am satisfied that these figures are not correct, so far as births are concerned. I think there are more births. Number receiving medical treatment during the year, 550 but very many of these cases were of no moment.
Buildings are not in as bad a condition as one year ago. Thanks to a generous administration, we have a good, commodious boarding-house and school-house, furnished from top to bottom. The long-talked of Alsea houses are now built. By dint of pushing, we got them built in time to secure the money allowed us for the purpose. Our mill needs repairing, and some new buildings put up for agent and employes. We also need a new barn, but these we hope to secure in the near future. I have said from the first that lumber was the great desideratum.
With one or two exceptions they have done good service, many of them doing as good service as could be asked for; in fact, no person in any position could have better service than I had from most of my employes. Most of the exceptions are in the police force. The teachers I have changed.
Educational work is the great object now. After getting our school-buildings and getting them furnished we feel that this work is paramount to all other work, and we have planned to make this year tell on this line. We have taken new land for the school gardens. We have a new school barn; we have a herd of cows for the school; we have a fine lot of brood sows, some chickens, &c., for the school; we are getting into shape to drive ahead. Some changes in the employes, and the help given us by the Department, will place us on better footing for the future than in the past, and we shall try to merit your approbation. The work of this year, comparatively speaking, has been preparatory.
Up to this time there have been no children gone from this agency to the Forest Grove training school, but I have been in correspondence with the superintendent, and I expect him here in a few days to take several of them to that institution, where they can have better advantages in industrial training. We have not the means and appurtenances to instruct in trades that the Forest Grove school has, and in this connection I am highly gratified to find a strong desire on the part of leading men amoung this people to send their children both to Forest Grove and to our school.
The church work, under the supervision of the Rev, J. S. McCain, an accredited minister of the Methodist Episcopal Church, is being looked after energetically, and we hope to see our church matters overhauled, worked over, and where thistles and brambles now grow we hope and expect to see roses blooming.
This year, past and gone forever, with all of its trials, joys, and sorrows, has been one of hard, unrelenting toil. I have gone at every call, night and day, visited the sick and dying, given of my own means, and when I say this of myself, I can truly say the same of my employes. We have built a new boarding and schooling-house, nine houses for the Alsea's, refenced the Government farm, looked after the whole reservation in such a manner as that I can without egotism say that I am firmly of the opinion that the agency is in better condition than one year ago. I have made three several trips to the Salmon River country. I have made several allotments of lands to the Indians there. I find that these Indians have been sadly neglected. Some Tilamook and Nestucca Indians who were induced to come upon the reserve by Hon. Benj. Simpson under instructions from the Government, have not had the fulfillment of those promises. I intend soon to bring this matter fully before you.
I have looked out a road along the coast connecting that part of the reserve with Newport at Yaquina Bay. I find that if we had the matter of $1,000 we could build a road that would give us a market for all that country and would assist us very much in inducing our young men to settle that part of the reserve. We need the road.
I have not yet instituted the court of Indian offenses, but shall do so in the near future, as I am now satisfied that there is but little hope of getting any unity of action in governing themselves, nor is there patience enough to wait for the results.
Many thanks are due the Commissioner and his assistants for the uniform courtesy and kindness received from them. In fact, nothing that I have asked for has been denied me during the year, and I, as an agent, and all connected with me in this work, feel deeply grateful.
F. M. WADSWORTH,
The Commissioner of Indian Affairs.