Office Supt Indian Affairs
Portland Oregon June 7th 1862
I have just returned from a visit to Siletz Reservation, under charge of Agent B. R. Biddle My object, as expressed in my letter to you of 17th [inst], was to inspect the condition of this Agency and investigate the official conduct of Agent Biddle. I regret very much to inform you that the management of said Agency is far from being satisfactory to this office. I found a large portion of the Indians subsisting on potatoes, which had remained in the ground during the entire winter, and were frozen, rotten and loathesome. There was not less than Six Thousand Bushels of potatoes suffered to go to waste in this manner, whereas if they had been properly harvested and taken care of the Indians would now have abundance of good and wholesome food. This neglect of duty, and loss of property occurred on the Agency farm under the immediate supervision of Agent Biddle. The lower farm (eight miles from the Agency farm) under charge of Mr. Megginson, produced a fine crop of potatoes & oats, all of which was harvested and secured in due time. The result of this was that Mr. Megginson
has furnished Mr. Biddle for Seed on the Agency farm, some Three Thousand bushels of Potatoes. During the month of October 1861 I dispatched the Sloop "Fanny" to Siletz Agency with Thirty five Tons of assorted Merchandise, among which was fifteen Thousand choice fruit trees, designed for the use and benefit of the Indians on that Reservation.
The entire cargo was delivered in good order and condition to Agent Biddle on the 19th of Nov 1861 as per receipted bill of lading accompanying Vouch 12 Abstract K of my account 4th Qr 1861. Early in January Agent Biddle personally informed me in this office, that the entire cargo had been transported to the Agency, and his abstract of Liabilities for the 4th Qr shows the sums of $1023.27 due B. F. Cooper for transportation: Seven hundered Dollars of this amount due for transporting the entire cargo (35 Tons) at $20 per Ton. I was suprised to find that nearly all the cargo had been packed from the Depot to the Agency (a distance of Six Miles) by the Indian women: and that Agent Biddle in consideration of their Services paid them one pint of flour per day and reporting the amount as issued to Indians.
The fruit trees referred to above were suffered to remain at Aquina Bay, exposed to the severities of the Winter in the original packages in which they were Shipped without any care or attention whatever, until late in the Month of March and then transported by the Indian women, at the same rate of compensation per diem as the other articles.
My own discovery that the cargo including the fruit trees, were transported in this manner, together with the Sworn Statement of B. F. Cooper, herewith accompanying, will show how much reliance can be placed in Mr. Biddles representations. I found the fruit trees intrenched horizontally in packages of twenty five each, about two thirds dead, and the remainder, so stunted and crippled in their growth, that they will scarcely be worth cultivating. Shortly after Mr. Biddle assumed the duties of his office, he requested permission from this office to purchase two mules, for the purpose of thrashing using them on the machine: Stating that there was nothing on the Agency except oxen and they were not adapted. I gave him permission to make the purchase.
Instead of Making the purchase, for the purpose Stated, he purchased of Jeremiah Lilly Two Mules and C. P. Blair one, paying Mr. Lilly at the time the purchase was made and giving Mr. Blair his [illegible] note for the amount due him. These Mules were not used on the Thrashing Machine, in fact never thrashed a grain, but were used by Mr. Biddle in packing his own private property he charging the cost thereof to Government at the rate of $80 to 100 per ton, and after the packing was done turning two of the Mules over to government at 30 percent above original cost, reserving the third animal as his own private property, acquired in the operation.
Nearly if not quite all of the goods packed from Corvallis were his own private property, which was sold to employees, and to persons mining on the beach for Gold. His Abstract of disbursements 4th Qr 1861 for current expenses shows $125 paid Dick Johnson for interpreting. My investigations show no such Indian on the Reservation, or ever having been there: and further that no actual payment for interpreting has been Made to any one. In view of these facts, I have deemed it advisable to submit for your consideration the accompanying Affidavits and papers relating to Mr. Biddles official acts and would recomend his removal from office. Should you concur with me in the opinion, that he is not the proper person for the position, I hope you will make the facts known to the President, and have his successor appointed and commissioned at once. Until I can be advised of your action in the Matter, I will make all necessary purchases for that agency myself, instead of turning the funds over to him. In conclusion I would respectfully solicit prompt action, so that his successor may take charge at an early day. I would recomend Maxwell Ramsby of Clackamas Co Oregon as a Suitable man for the place.
I am Sir
Your obt Servt
Wm H Rector
Supt Ind Affairs
Hon W.P. Dole