The following is taken from Document Number 2, U. S. President’s Message to the two Houses of Congress, 1841 to 1845. John Tyler president.
These records give an insight as to the interest on the part of the United States and the Choctaw Government relative to the education of the young Choctaws. We have endeavored to get pictures of these old academy buildings, but have only succeeded in a few instances. With these extracts from the documents referred to above, we are inserting some of the pictures of the old Federal buildings located in Skullyville, which was the head-quarters of the Indian Agents for a number of years.
As will be seen, the Methodists commenced their school activities with the Choctaw people near this locality, the school for boys being located at Fort Coffee, after the removal of the soldiers; the New Hope Female Seminary, under the same control, located about five miles from the old Fort, and about one mile from the Agency (Skullyville.)
These reports from the Agents, Missionaries and trustees of the schools, are very interesting, bringing before us the hardships and successes that attended the first efforts at school work among the Choctaw Indians west of the Mississippi River.
J. Y. B.
Choctaw Agency West
November 3, 1843.
Sir: I beg leave to submit the following report upon schools, confining myself mainly to those among the Choctaws, as the reports from the different agents and subagents within this superintendency have already been forwarded to the department.
It affords me great pleasure to communicate the deep and increasing interest manifested by the Choctaws upon the important subject of education.
The reports submitted herewith, from the teachers employed under treaty stipulation, and also from the mission-
aries in the nation, clearly and satisfactorily exhibit that the Choctaws are appreciating the great advantages and vital importance of a system for the useful education of their children.
These reports are, however, not the only evidence to which we can refer. In addition to the funds at present provided by treaty stipulation for educational purposes, the Choctaw General Council have, with a commendable unanimity and zeal, appropriated from their own funds the sum of $18,000 per annum, to be expended for the support of institutions of learning in the nation. The system prescribed by the Council is now commencing with a fair prospect of the most happy results. It is, perhaps, without precedent, that an Indian tribe, generally opposed to all innovations save those connected with vice, who eight or ten years ago were without any law except custom and the arbitrary fiat if a chief, should, in that short space of time, become so far advanced in civilization, as to make a radical change in their customs and form of government, and to adopt a written constitution and laws, which are easily enforced, and readily submitted to by the people.
This sum provided for the support of schools has formerly been paid per capita, as annuity to the Choctaws; and the change of application of so large an amount, by the Choctaw General Council, and sanctioned by the people, to be expended in the nation upon a plan previously laid down, cannot but be hailed with much joy by those who desire the improvement and happiness of mankind.
These evidences clearly show that the Choctaws are improving, and with the ample means now in a course of expenditure, will be able to educate the great mass of the nation. Fort Coffee Academy, situated on the Arkansas River, is now under the charge of Rev. Wm. H. Goode, a Methodist clergyman, well qualified not only as a preacher, but as possessing business habits and tact to conduct such an institution. The old buildings of the fort are repaired, so far as they could be used; and others are being erected for the accommodation of fifty or sixty boys, or as many as the funds can support and educate. The Choctaws have appropriated to this academy, in connection with a female school to be put in operation near the agency, $6,000 per
annum, and the Methodist society have obligated themselves to furnish $1,000 per annum. Everything is now in a state of forwardness, and the school will be opened probably in December. At this school, in addition to letters, the boys are expected to labor upon the farm, and to receive instruction in the mechanical arts, thereby giving them a practical business education, and at the same time preparing mechanics for the nation.
I anticipate great benefit to the Choctaws from the location of Fort Coffee Academy; it will exercise a happy and salutary influence on that part among whom it is located, heretofore greatly behind the other portions of the nation in point of intelligence and morality.
The report of Rev. Alfred Wright, of the Presbyterian Church, gives a very flattering account of the female seminary at Wheelock. This is one of the schools now supported from funds appropriated by the General Council. I beg leave to refer you to Rev. Mr. Wright’s report for details. I cannot forbear mentioning the high qualifications of Mrs. Wright as a competent teacher, and as a lady eminently suited to improve the female pupils of this school. The system of instruction is intended to prepare the girls for usefulness in life, giving to them, in addition to a knowledge of letters, instructions in housekeeping, and all necessary household affairs; and also needle-work, knitting, cutting out and making clothes, the management of the dairy, and, in fine, everything that pertains to prudent management and thrifty housekeeping. The whole discipline of the school is good, and every opportunity is offered to the student to obtain a useful education for the practical every-day observations of life. That these high privileges and advantages are duly estimated, is evidenced from the numerous applications for admission to the school.
The female school at Wheelock is put into operation in advance of the other schools, under the appropriation of the the Choctaw General Council. This is owing to suitable buildings, teachers, etc., being ready prepared there. The other female schools designated in the act of the General Council are expected soon to go into operation.
The report of Mr. Olmstead (one of the treaty teachers) is made to embrace not only his own immediate school,
but also the American Board of Missions schools in the nation. The labors of the missionaries have not been in vain among the Choctaws; the general improvement not only in education, but also in morals and temperance, may be traced to their untiring energy and industry in the great cause in which they are engaged.
The report of Rev. Cyrus Kingsbury, of the school at Pine Ridge, (the place of his residence), is very interesting. This school is taught mainly by Miss Arms, a young lady of high attainments. Mr. Kingsbury is one of the pioneers among the Indians; his genuine piety and labors have won for him the universal esteem of all who know him. You will find, also, the letter from Rev. Cyrus Byington—a missionary for many years among the Choctaws, both before and since their removal from Mississippi. He is thoroughly acquainted with the Choctaw language, and has translated some portions of the Scripture, with various other useful books, which have been printed and used through the nation.
You will also receive the report of the Rev. Mr. Gregory, a missionary of the Methodist Church. His labors have been itinerant; and a large highly respectable number of Choctaws are members of the Methodist Church.
There are also reports from Messrs. Wilson, Potts, and Rind—three teachers under the 20th article of the treaty of 1830. The other teachers, under the treaty of 1825, have expired by limitation, and are only supported by funds remaining on hand. These schools are expected to close with this year. Their reports are submitted herewith.
I will now bring to your notice Spencer Academy, which I consider to be the leading school in the nation; it is so only from its location and endowments, supported as it is by a fund of $6,000 permanent annuity for educational purposes, which is now for the first time expended in the nation. This, together with some additions from other funds, will make, annually, between eight and nine thousand dollars to this institution. The buildings are now erected, capable of boarding sixty or seventy boys, with a schoolhouse. A crop was made during this past season, and a garden cultivated, with a view to commence the school on the 1st of January, 1844, and probably a few scholars may be received prior to that time. This academy is to be con-
ducted on the manual labor system. The farm attached to the school will be large, and will produce a great portion of what will be consumed at the institution. As the school progresses, workshops are to be erected, the labors and profits of which will be added to the funds of the school, and will thus enable the number of scholars to be increased.
The superintendent has not yet reached the school. He is a Presbyterian clergyman, and said to be well qualified for the station. Much will depend upon the efficiency in conducting so responsible a charge. The principal teacher, (Mr. William Wilson,) who has for several years taught one of the treaty schools in the nation, and is now transferred to the Spencer Academy, is a gentleman highly qualified for that appointment by a thorough classical education, and possessing great moral worth, will, no doubt, perform his duties satisfactorily. He is favorably known to the Choctaws, and richly merits the esteem in which he is held by all who know him.
Other teachers, as they may be required, will be engaged, and can be readily found among the Choctaws themselves. A board of trustees, four in number, (of which I have the honor to be one,) are appointed by the General Council for Spencer Academy. A report will be annually submitted, by the trustees, to the War Department, and General Council.
The books, clothing, bedding, agricultural implements, and such furniture as could not be made at the school, were purchased in the eastern cities. The greatest economy has been observed; while everything proper or necessary for such an establishment will be procured.
It is a seminary of learning of which the nation is proud. The plan is their own; the expenditures are in their own country; and the whole under the control and observation of men of intelligence. When fairly in operation, this institution will be capable from its funds, to educate one hundred boys, and will be increased by all the means it can command. The site where the buildings are erected is upon a beautiful eminence, with a fine spring of water, ten miles north of Fort Towson. The location is free from low or swampy lands, and promises to be healthy. With all its resources and advantages, great and good results are justly anticipated by the friends of education among the Indians.
The forty youths heretofore educated at the Choctaw Academy in Kentucky, under the treaty of 1830, are now divided, so as to educate ten each at four of the principal colleges in the United States. These forty will be selected with a view to prepare them for teachers in their own institutions, by giving to them a thorough classical education, and to enable them to occupy stations of eminence and usefulness among their people.
Such, briefly, are the plans adopted by the Choctaws for the education of their people; and there is, at present, no reason to be seen why their meritorious efforts should not be successful. They will, no doubt, receive all proper and suitable aid and encouragement from the department in carrying out the great object contemplated.
Acting Supt. W. T.
T. Hartley Crawford, Esq.,
Commissioner of Indian Affairs, Washington, D. C.
Bethlehem, September 5, 1843.
Sir: I herewith transmit to you the report of my school for the past year. You will see that 13 have attended—12 males and 1 female. The children have not learned as fast as I could wish. The parents do not take that interest which they should, and they frequently stay away for days at a time, and the parents do not send them to school as regularly as they ought. It had been very dry during the summer, and, in consequence, the crops are not as good as they were last year. There is a good improvement in they people in my neighborhood in agriculture and religion; many of them are, I believe, good Christians. I have devoted most of my time, when not in school, in visiting and preaching to the people. Many of the Indians are members of the temperance society, and drunkenness is not as frequent as it used to be.
I am, &c.,
Captain Wm. Armstrong.
(Mr. Worcester is a Choctaw.)
Puckshenubbe District, C. N., August 2, 1843.
Sir: Another year has rolled its ample round, and it becomes my duty to inform you of what I have been doing.
This is my eighth year in the Choctaw Nation. I have labored with them as a teacher and as a missionary. During the period above stated, I have had many opportunities of visiting different parts of the district in which I live. It is, indeed, a beautiful country, abounding in creeks and springs, having a fertile soil. Its vast prairies, with many elevations almost to mountain heights, skirted with fine timber, present to the eye an appearance of great beauty. In those prairies large groups of cattle and horses may be seen feeding on a spontaneous but luxuriant growth of grass. Passing from the prairies to the timber, you may there see farms of different sizes, generally having good fences and well-cultivated crops. The Choctaws have learned to build comfortable cabins, which is conducive to health; it also shows the march of improvement amongst them. Some of the full-blooded people are raising wheat, as well as corn and vegetables. They are also learning mechanism. Some stock ploughs, fill wheels, and make water-pails and other articles very neatly. It is a cheering fact that the people generally are improving. For the last year my school has been much more interesting than at any former period. The children have, for the most part, attended regularly, and have improved as much as could be expected from the disadvantages under which we labor part of the year. I had to teach all the small children out of one book; there was none to be had in the country. Although the merchants bring a great many books, such has been the demand for them that they had not a supply. By referring to my last year’s report, you will find that I have an increase of scholars. Some of the children live at the distance of fifteen miles, but they bring provisions, and have fixed a house near the school-house, and have remained during one-half the session without being absent from school, except from sickness.
The crops, will not be so abundant this year as last, on account of the rainy spring and the early drought.
We have abundant reason to be grateful to Divine Providence for the many favors and mercies with which we have been blessed since we left our friends and acquaintances, and
repaired to the western wilds to take up our abode among the aborigines of our happy land, that we might be instrumental in doing them good, temporally and spiritually. Many of our neighbors have left the shores of time, and entered the vast ocean of eternity; some of them have met death cheerfully, giving evidence in their expiring moments that the labors of the missionary have not been in vain.
H. G. RIND.
To Major Wm. Armstrong.
Goodwater, August 10, 1843.
Dear Sir: The time has arrived when it becomes my duty to forward the report of the school at this place; and I am happy to do so, from the fact that it has never been in so prosperous a condition in any previous year. The scholars have made good improvement in their studies, and in their deportment gained our esteem and respect. Our number has increased, and their attendance has been more regular; though, in this respect, the scholars have suffered great loss. I have stated the number of days lost to each scholar. This method shows at once their irregularity. Some did not enter the school until late in the spring The school has been kept nearly ten months the past year. It was vacated for a short time in the winter, on account of removing the school house to a point more convenient; and it was vacated in April one week, on account of the meeting of the Indian Presbytery at this place. Temperance is gaining ground in this district, and the blessed fruits are ripening for the harvest. Let temperance abound, and this people will rise from their ignoranc and degradation. Industry increases just in proportion as intemperance decreases. A fine gristmill, turned by horse power, has been put up here, in this vicinity, this summer. But, above every other blessing, the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ is triumphing over darkness and error, and revealing sources of happiness unknown before.
With much respect, &c.,
To Major William Armstrong,
Acting Superintendent, &c.
Report of School on Red River.
Number of scholars attending the school, thirty, viz: thirteen boys and seventeen girls.
The Sabbath school has been continued through the year, and well attended. Between thirty and forty usually attend as readers—most of them young men and young women. About fifteen of them read both Choctaw and English.
We have public worship every Sabbath, and meetings are well attended.
To Major William Armstrong,
Acting Superintendent, &c.
Pine Ridge, October 18, 1843.
Dear Sir: Presuming that you will be pleased to have a report from those schools which are supported by the missionary board, as well as from those sustained by the public funds, I enclose a report of the school at this place, together with a brief notice of my own labors.
The particulars relative to the school you will find in the accompanying papers, (Nos. 44 and 45.)
My own labors as missionary have been much the same as last year. Mr. Hotchkin and myself have alternately visited the settlements between this and the Washita, once a month. The whole circuit embraces a tour of about two hundred miles, within which are ten places for preaching. The congregations have generally been much as they were last year. In the cause of temperance there has been a very considerable advance. It is, however, to be regretted that the efforts of the Choctaws to promote temperance have not been sustained by the example and influence of some of the white population residing in the country. Especially had we hoped that all bearing a commission from the United States would have lent their aid to so good a cause.
There are three churches, under the care of Mr. Hotchkin and myself, within the bounds where we preach:
Of the above, 84 were added the present year.
With gratitude, we acknowledge the goodness of the Lord in preserving us from wasting and fatal sickness, whilst others have been cut down in the midst of their labors. We are also grateful for the encouragement granted to our efforts for the improvement of the Choctaws.
I am, &c.,
To Captain William Armstrong,
Superintendent Indian Affairs.
Providence, C. N., August 31, 1843.
Sir: The accompanying documents are the reports of the school under my charge for the year ending August 31, 1843. In no former year have the students made greater proficiency than the past. So far as my own knowledge extends, there appears to be a greater desire on the part of parents for the education of their children than heretofore. The studies pursued (as you will see by report) have been grammar, geography, arithmetic, &c. Their aptitude to learn has been satisfactorily tested the past year, and would compare well with any schools in a civilized land, when we take into consideration the advantages and disadvantages under which they live. I will give a few examples, that you may know what an Indian youth can do when he and she will apply themselves.
Colbert Carter’s acquirements when he commenced school were only reading, writing, and a very limited knowledge of the first four rules of arithmetic. He began with the multiplication table, and has done every sum in Smiley’s Arithmetic, with the exception of a few in the promiscuous questions. In addition to this, he has obtained a good knowledge of grammar and geography, and in the last month he attended to bookkeeping, and obtained a good knowledge of simple entry, and has made considerable progress in sacred history.
Mat Coyl has obtained during the past year a very correct knowledge of grammar, geography, and arithmetic, and would do honor to any school even in a civilized land.
Rosanna Coyl and Patsy Going commenced the study of grammar and geography last fall, and have acquired
a very correct knowledge of them, in addition to attending to other studies.
You will perceive by the report that thirty-nine students have attended the school during the past year, nineteen of whom left previous to the vacation, some of whom it is expected will return during the fall.
You will also see that twenty-three lived in my family during the year, nine of whom I boarded gratuitously, and clothed partly. For the board of the residue I am to receive $4 per month, to be paid in any kind of produce they may have to spare.
In addition to the school, I have endeavored to teach the Indians the principles of religion; and I am happy to say that it has not been in vain, as many of them have become, I trust, devout Christians.
The cause of temperance has taken deep hold upon the feelings of the people, and many of the most influential men in the nation have enlisted under the banner of temperance.
Habits of industry are more prevalent than formerly, and, though the season has been very unfavorable, I think a sufficiency will be raised for their consumption.
RAMSAY D. POTTS.
Captain Vim. Armstrong.
Pine Ridge, July 30, 1843.
Sir: By the foregoing report, you will find that the whole number of children who have been under my instruction is 36. Of this number, 19 were mixed blood, only 6 of whom spoke English; the remainder were full Choctaws. The average daily attendance was 19. There was a very great want of suitable books. A good supply will be provided for the next session.
The improvement of the scholars has been in proportion to the regularity of their attendance. A very com-
mendable desire is manifested by most of the parents for the improvement of their children.
Very respectfully, & c.,
J. P. KINGSBURY.
Captain William Armstrong,
Acting Superintendent Indian Affairs.
Stockbridge, (Near Eagletown,)
September 22, 1843.
Dear Sir: This letter has been due for some time; and I commenced a letter to you some weeks since, but I was called away to be with the sick, and since then have had distressing sickness in my own family. Mrs. Byington is now slowly recovering from an attack of fever, which brought her down very low. But we have great reason to be thankful that we are all spared.
We have prosecuted our usual missionary labors during the year past. I have preached in four different places in the nation, besides preaching regularly once in two months at Ultima Thule, in Arkansas. Last year I prepared, with the aid of others, an almanac in Choctaw and English for the current year. Three hundred copies were printed. I have also, so far as I have been able, attended to the translation of the Scriptures from the Old Testament. By an arrangement made with Rev. A. Wright, in our efforts at translating, he will give his attention more particularly to the New Testament, while I devote my time to the Old. Much study is required in making myself well acquainted with the original language of the Old Testament, as well as with the Choctaw.
We hope our labors among this people are not in vain. Of the school taught at this place, I presume Mr. C. C. Copeland, the teacher, has forwarded you a report. Five of the scholars were boarded in my family—in a majority of the instances, gratuitously.
From necessity, I am called to be much employed for the relief of the sick, there being no physician nearer than Fort Towson.
I think I may safely report to you that the cause of temperance is honorably and successfully sustained on Mountain
Fork and Little River. There are, it is true, a few warriors yet among the Choctaws, who will run over the line to find the means of intoxication. But many of these are becoming ashamed of their conduct. It is proper for me to commend to you the captains in this neighborhood as strong temperance men; our educated warriors, and the white men among us, are all temperance men. It cannot be said of the educated Choctaws and white men near me, that they attempt to thwart the efforts of the temperance advocates.
The people here have attended to their farms with their usual diligence and quietness. There has been less of ball-playing on a large scale this year than usual. Some of my neighbors are making additional improvements, such as the erection of stone chimneys and the purchase of sheep. There are two cotton-gins among us, and a water-mill is now being erected. During the year there have been several removals from the vicinity—among them, two captains—and yet there is around me a large Choctaw population remaining.
I have a full share of labor for my strength and health. To provide for a family, and to act the part of a good neighbor, preacher and physician, in this sickly land, is as much as I am able to do.
I have been requested to have some care over the Iyanubbe female school, but have declined it on account of my many present and pressing cares, as well as the feeble state of health granted us—hoping, too, that some young, active, and faithful persons could be found who would do much better.
But may the Lord guide us. All good things come from Him. He has blessed this tribe much since you first knew us. I hope the next fifty years will be better still.
May your life be spared, and your efforts be blessed. And although this letter is called for as an official one, I do not forget you as a friend, and cherish this hope that you may again be with us under (our) roof. May the Lord be your shield and reward.
From yours, with much respect,
Capt. William Armstrong,
Acting Superintendent Western Territory, Choctaw Agency.
Wheelock, July 3, 1843.
Dear Sir: I herewith send you the report of the state of the Wheelock female school for the year ending July 1, 1843. You are aware that the National Council, in November last, among other appropriations, made one for the support of a female seminary at this place. The intention of the Council has been carried into effect. The pupils have been selected, and were placed on the appropriation on the 1st day of May, 1843.
In order to give satisfaction, and to avoid the appearance of partiality, the selection was made from the several clans into which the people are divided. Seven were taken from each of the following clans, viz: the Ahepotukla, the Olilefeleia, the Oklahaneli; and three from the Urihesahe clan—making twenty-four in all, who were placed on the appropriation. The selection was made from a list of about fifty applications for the privileges of the school. Only one was taken from a family. Seven only of those who had previously belonged to the school were placed on the appropriation—the seventeen others, with very few exceptions, being entirely new scholars. The selection, I believe, has given satisfaction, and the school has commenced under favorable auspices.
Mr. H. K. Copeland and wife reside at Wheelock, and assist in boarding and taking care of the children. Mr. C’s house is about.40 rods from my own dwelling. The children are in our respective families, and are kept separate when out of school. This arrangement we deemed preferable to having all the children board at one place.
As a part of the buildings necessary for the school were already erected with funds of the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions, and as a part of the necessary stock was on hand, belonging also to the American Board, I have engaged to put up the remaining buildings, and furnish what more stock may be needed, with funds of the same society, without encroaching upon the appropriation made by the nation. By this arrangement, the buildings and stock will be the sole property of the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions, and the whole of the appropriation, from the first, be expended on the school. It was, also, further stipulated between the committee acting on be-
half of the nation, and myself, acting on the part of the American Board, that that body, in addition to the buildings and stock, aid in sustaining the school, and contribute yearly in the proportion the Methodist Episcopal Missionary Society are required to aid.
The Gospel, like the leaven hidden in the measure of meal, is exerting a silent but restraining and transforming influence. The day-spring from on high hath visited this people, giving light to them that sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, and guilding the feet of many into the ways of peace. The church at Wheelock consists of 116 members, 26 of whom were added during the last year. There is an increasing attention to the preaching of the word. There are five preaching places connected with this station. At two of these places, (Wheelock and Red River,) public worship is held every Sabbath. In the absence of the pastor, the services are conducted by the candidates for the ministry, or elders of the church. There are three natives under the care of the presbytery, studying for the ministry; and two of these are members of the Wheelock church, and one of them an elder. Two of them received a very respectable education in New England, and the other was several years at school in Marietta, Ohio. They are all pious, devoted men, and at no distant period will be licensed to preach the glad tidings of salvation.
I also forward you the report of the school taught by Miss A. Burnham, on Red River. This, with the two papers relating to the school at Wheelock, will, I trust, furnish you with the facts necessary to be embodied in your report to the War Department.
To Captain William Armstrong,
United States Agent.
Extract from the annual report of A. M. M. Upshaw, esq..
U. S. Agent for the Chickasaws.
“In the Chickasaw district there is no school; but some few of the half-breeds send some of their children to the missionaries, none of whom are in the Chickasaw district. I think there are not more than seven or eight children going
to school in the nation. The Chickasaws have some boys at Col. R. M. Johnson’s school in Kentucky, and from letters I have seen from the boys, show evident marks of improvement. But I am, and so are the Chickasaws, very much in favor of a school in their own district, on the manual-labor plan, which plan they hope the Secretary of War may make as soon as convenient. The boys went to Kentucky, because there was no school here, and the boys had arrived at an age when they had no time to spare. Those boys that have been there a few years, and returned to their nation, are very much improved—much more improved than could have been reasonably expected.”
September 18, 1843.
Dear Sir: Having obtained permission and received encouragement from you to proceed with our missionary operations, I take the liberty to repeat to you the state of the Indian school under my care in the Quapaw nation.
The school was opened on the 27th day of March last, with nine scholars, which soon increased to sixteen, and subsequently to twenty-three. The average number of scholars in constant attendance, from the commencement of the school until the present time, is about sixteen. The children all began with the alphabet, having (as some of the oldest boys informed me) never before seen a book. They could neither speak nor understand a word in the English language. They can now spell in one, two, and three syllables, and understand many things in common conversation, and are learning to speak the English language much faster than was anticipated. The school is conducted on the manual-labor plan. The children board at the mission, and are supported by the missionary society of the Methodist Episcopal Church and individual donations.
We hope to have means in a few months, that will enable us to make additional improvements, and to board, clothe, and instruct at least twenty or thirty children.
Very respectfully, &c.
S. G. PATTERSON.
Col. B. B. R. Barker, Sub-Agent.
Creek Agency, September 5, 1843.
Sir: In compliance with the regulations of the department, I have visited and inspected the school under the charge of Doctor Wm. N. Anderson, several times during the past year; and the school at the Cussita Square, under the charge of Mr. John R. Baylor, once since its establishment in July last. The reports from the principals of those schools will show the number of scholars (about 50, who are pretty regular in attendance) and the studies they have pursued. They both present in a strong light the difficulty of securing regular attendance in their pupils, owing to the impossibility, under the present mode of tuition, of furnishing meals for the scholars at mid-day, as the irregular mode of living of the Indians generally does not enable the children to take their meals with them.
From my own observation, I am decidedly of the opinion that two large schools in this nation—one at this agency, and the other at Tuckabatchee town on the Canadian—provided with a principal teacher of liberal education, who shall be at the same time a minister of the Gospel, with a competent number of sub-teachers under his supervision, and having means prepared for boarding the scholars, will do ten times the good that could be effected by a number of small establishments dispersed over the country. If the whole Creek fund were applied here, with the unexpended accumulation of it now in the treasury, it would be sufficient to erect buildings suitable for the accommodation of teachers and fifty boarders, and for defraying the whole expense of the establishment. A system of school discipline could then be enforced, especially as regards regular attendance, the greatest barrier to their advancement; and the scholars would insensibly fall into the habits and manners of the whites, from living constantly at the school; while, by the day-school system, they are exposed to the influence of the Indian habits, by spending so much of their time at home with their parents and playmates. To make proficiency in learning or civilization, it is necessary that they should be entirely taken away from their parents, which can only be done by the boarding-school system. In addition to the boarders, all the children of the neighborhood, that could not be accommodated as boarders, could go as day
scholars, who would doubtless profit by the examples of regularity and diligence which could be enforced on the boarders. I could enlarge very much on the subject, but only desire at the present time to set forth the advantage of a system by which large masses of scholars might be taught at boarding-schools, and to show the disadvantages of the day-school plan. In every point of view, a large establishment, especially among Indians, is better than a small one; there will always be found in it more emulation, system, spirit, and efficiency; and I shall be much pleased to find that the Commissioner takes the same view of the subject that I do, and (that he) will, in the event of the whole Creek fund being sent here, authorize such disposition of it as I have proposed.
I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
J. L. DAWSON, Creek Agent.
Capt. W. Armstrong,
Acting Supt., W. T., Choctaw Agency.
Creek Agency, September 5, 1843.
Sir: In compliance with your requisition, the following statement, respecting the school under the charge of myself and wife, has been prepared.
Little change in the number of scholars has occurred since our last annual report.
We have had thirty-eight scholars in all; of these, only about twenty have been regular in their attendance. Those who have been regular, have made good progress in all the branches to which they have attended; the others have learned comparatively little.
The following branches have been taught, viz: English grammar, arithmetic, reading, writing, and spelling. Of the above pupils, twenty-seven are males, and eleven females. I am every year more convinced of the inadequacy of the present system of education to the wants of this people, and the necessity of adopting some plan by which the scholars could be boarded at the school, and caused to attend regularly. If the intelligent part of the nation were compactly settled, good schools would be supported; but, unfortunately, this is not the case.
There is a large portion of the nation that has not en-
joyed the advantages of education, and have made little advancement in the arts of civilized life, and consequently do not prize the advantages of education properly; as such, when they are convenient enough to school, leave it entirely to their children’s choice to attend school or not.
I am pleased to be able to inform you that the cause of education is gaining rapidly; and if I had the means to board, our school would be full and well attended. I feel well assured that, if the children of the indigent could be furnished with dinner each day, (which could be provided at a small expense,) it would be a sufficient inducement for them to attend regularly. I think this plan worthy of trial, and, if it should prove ineffectual, it could be abandoned.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
W. N. ANDERSON.
Captain James L. Dawson,
School-house, Cussita Square,
September 5, 1843.
Sir: In obedience to your instructions, I came here on the first of July, to ascertain if the number of scholars which could be procured would justify the establishment of the school, in conformity to the wishes of the Creeks who applied for it. I found, on inquiry, that a school could be formed of about twenty scholars—since increased to thirty-five. Some of them half-breeds partially taught, but chiefly full-bloods. Since my arrival here, I have given close attention to their instructions; and their progress, though slow, has been such as to give hope and encouragement for the future. With those entirely ignorant of English, progress will necessarily be very slow; but a beginning has been made, and the first great object advanced—that of subjecting them to habits of attention and discipline. These secured, the final object must be accomplished in due season. It is exceedingly difficult to get regular attendance, especially as the scholars must eat in the middle of the day, and there is by the present system no provision made for them. The Indian habits are so irregular, that but few are enabled to bring provision with them. An arrangement by which one of the neighboring Indian fam-
ilies could give the children their noonday meal would be judicious. In the first outset, it is difficult to control Indian Children, at best. If they are punished, they will not come back to school; and their parents consent with an ill grace, if at all, to punishment. So that everything at the outset is to be done by conciliation and policy, through the agency of the chiefs of the town operating on the parents. I feel confident, however, of mastering these slight difficulties, and making the school efficient and useful.
Respectfully, your obedient servant,
J. R. BAYLOR, Teacher C. N.
Captain J. L. Dawson,
Tah-le-quah, Cherokee Nation, June 16, 1843.
Respected Sir: By request, I write and address this communication to you, informing you of the state of the Methodist society in the Cherokee nation.
This nation lies within the bounds of the Arkansas annual conference; and it is divided into two circuits—the upper and lower. The last conference, which was held in November last, appointed twelve of its members (eight whites and four Cherokees) to labor in this nation for the benefit of the Cherokee people. Three of the white preachers were appointed with the view of being employed in the public schools in the nation, by the earnest solicitation of the members of the Methodist society; but, in consequence of the partiality and bias of the superintendent of public schools in the nation, their designs have been entirely frustrated, and the wishes of the people not realized. There are also fifteen local preachers in the nation—making, in the whole, twenty-seven. There are about one thousand four hundred members belonging to the Methodist Episcopal Church in the Cherokee nation at the present time, and the societies generally are in a prosperous condition. There are Sunday-schools in many of our societies, all in a flourishing condition. In some of these, the instruction is given in the Cherokee language, and in some the English. This is, probably, as correct information as I am able to give.
Yours, very respectfully,
J. F. COLLINS.
P. M. Butler, Esq., Agent.
Fairfield, June 19, 1843.
Dear Sir. In reply to your inquiries of the 17th instant, I would say, that at this mission station there reside, as missionaries, myself, Mrs. Butler, and Miss Esther Smith. Miss Smith is the teacher of the school. For the last two years, there have been forty different members; and the average number has been twenty-five. There are now almost daily eleven girls and fourteen boys in attendance.
In my family, there are four children of my own; one Cherokee young woman, who received her education at Dwight; one orphan Cherokee girl, who has learned to read and write, but for several years has been afflicted with weak eyes, which, at times, renders her nearly blind; also, three Cherokee girls who attend the school.
I have a small farm of about thirty acres. The labor on this farm is done by Cherokees.
About a year since, we engaged in building a house for public worship. Some opposition to this was manifested by some white citizens in the neighborhood; but we have nearly completed a comfortable house for worship, fifty feet long by thirty wide. About four hundred gratuitous days’ labor has been done by the neighbors on the house, besides thirty days’ team work.
My own time is mostly spent in the practice of medicine, for which I received but little compensation. Our church here consists of seventy-four members, mostly Cherokees. We have, also, a Sabbath school of thirty members.
Very respectfully, &c.,
Gov. P. M. Butler.
Park Hill, July 5, 1843.
Sir: In compliance with your request, I take pleasure in furnishing you with the following brief report relative to the establishment and progress of common schools in the Cherokee nation.
It is evident that a great deal cannot be said at present respecting the progress of education among us by common schools, because but eighteen months have yet elapsed since
our common-school system went into operation. I rejoice, however, that what little I can report (is) of a favorable and encouraging character.
Our law which authorizes the establishment of schools was passed in December, 1843, (1841?) . And as the nation is divided off into eight districts or counties, the schools are distributed according to the following ratio, viz: Delaware, Going Snake, and Flint districts, two schools each; Skin Bayou, Illinois, Canadian, Tah-le-quah, and Saline districts, one each; which make, in all, eleven schools that are supported out of the interest of the national school-fund due the nation.
During the last year, ten out of eleven schools were in successful operation; and something over four hundred children were collected, and received instruction in several of the elementary branches of education. This year, all the schools provided for are in operation; and the average attendance at the several schools is about the same as last year, which will swell the whole number of scholars to near five hundred. But these eleven schools thus established and supported by the nation, with the several mission and other neighborhood schools, do not more than half supply the demands for schools throughout the nation. The interest felt in schools, and in education generally, by the people, I think is rapidly increasing; and, no doubt, as this interest increases, efforts to add to the number of schools will be made by the people themselves. At present, everything is found, and the whole expense borne by the nation, in keeping up the several schools, with the exception of building and finishing off the school-houses, which is done by the people where any school may be established.
You will observe, that five hundred and thirty-five dollars are allowed each school for the support of teachers, the purchase of books, and to defray other contingent expenses; and; also, two hundred dollars for the support of orphan children while attending school; and from five to ten orphan children are thus supported at each of the several schools annually. Our school teachers are all white men, with the exception of two who are Cherokees. One of the white men is a citizen by marriage. The white teachers are nearly all from the northern states. The
branches taught are reading, writing, arithmetic, geography, English Grammar, history and, in some instances, bookkeeping.
I am your, in haste,
Superintendent of Common Schools in the Cherokee Nation.
P. M. Butler, Esq., Cherokee Agent.
The missionaries of the United Brethren’s Church have under their care a church of about eighty Cherokees, and two schools—one near Baittie’s prairie, in charge of Rev. M. Vogler and Mr. D. F. Smith, numbering from twenty to thirty scholars; the other on Spring Creek, in charge of Messrs. G. Bishop and H. Ruede, numbering from ten to fifteen scholars.
Dwight, Cherokee Nation,
June 24, 1843.
Your favor of the 17th, requesting information respecting our school, was duly received; and I now cheerfully hasten to answer it. During the last year, we have sustained an interesting school of from forty-seven to fifty girls. About forty-five have been regular boarding scholars. Two teachers (Mr. and Mrs. Day) are regularly employed in their instruction.
Yours, very respectfully,
Hon. P. M. Butler.
Mount Zion, July 18, 1843.
Dear Sir: I should have attended to your request by Mr. Duval sooner, but for ill health, though I have nothing of special interest to communicate. This was not designed for a large mission station, nor for a boarding school. My object was to teach a neighborhood school, with the assistance of Mrs. Butrick, a part of the year, and devote the other part to itinerating. A year last winter, we commenced school with favorable prospects. The whole number of
scholars was about fifty; though the average number, I presume, did not exceed thirty. Before the expiration of winter, however, I was attacked with a pulmonary complaint, from which I have not yet recovered. I employed a teacher to continue the school one term, at the rate of $20 per month. In September last, Mrs. Butrick and myself again attempted the care of the school, and continued till the middle of November, when I was again prostrated by a more severe attack, and am still a mere invalid; though I have lately commenced preaching and attending school with Mrs. Butrick, she performing most of the labor. We have not far from twenty scholars. In this vicinity, the children are peculiarly interesting and desirous of improvement.
Morality and religion have made some advances in the course of three years. Their ball-plays were frequent on the Sabbath; and whiskey, like a resistless torrent, seems to bear away the population before it. Now, a great part, I think, of the community live agreeably to the principles of total abstinence, and many of the citizens attend religious worship on the Lord’s day. It is, however, greatly to be lamented that this sacred day is by no means observed as it should be. Being the bulwark of religion, morality and good order, we must readily suppose that United States agents, and officers of every description, will lend their aid in promoting the sacred observance of this holy day in the private and public worship of God. That many of the Cherokees are making laudable improvement, I need not say is evident to every observer.
D. S. BUTRICK.
Gov. P. M. Butler,
Dwight, Cherokee Nation, July 3, 1843.
Sir: In answering your inquiries respecting the school and other missionary operations of the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions among the Cherokees, it may not be amiss to repeat much of what I wrote last year, as that report did not reach you in season.
The board have, at present, four stations: Dwight,
Fairfield, Park Hill, and Mount Zion. Besides these, a native preacher is stationed at Honey Creek.
The missionaries and assistants now at these stations are:
At Dwight Mr. Jacob Hitchcock, superintendent, who joined the mission anno Domini 1820; Mrs. Hitchcock, 1821; Miss Ellen Stetson, 1821; Miss Hannah Moore, 1841; Mr. Kellog Day and Mrs. Day, teachers, 1841.
Fairfield, Rev. Elizur Butler, M. D., who joined the mission east of the Mississippi anno Domini 1820; west, 1839; Mrs. Butler, 1827, 1839; Miss Esther Smith, teacher, 1832.
Park Hill, Rev. S. A. Worcester, 1825, 1835; Mrs. Worcester, 1825, 1839; Miss Nancy Thompson, 1826, 1837; Miss Mary Avery, teacher, 1839.
Mount Zion, Rev. Daniel S. Butrick, 1818, 1839; Mrs. Butrick, 1826, 1839.
At each of these stations, except Mount Zion, a school has been taught the principal part of the year past; at Mount Zion only between two and three months. The only boarding-school is at Dwight; and only there is the school made the leading object of attention. At Fairfield and Mount Zion the leading object is the preaching of the Gospel. Medical practice also requires much of the time of the missionary at Fairfield. At Park Hill, besides the preaching of the Gospel, a leading object of attention is the preparation and publication of books in the Cherokee language.
The school at Dwight is, at present, a school for girls only. The whole number of scholars, within a year past, has been 61. Average attendance about 47—all Cherokees. Of the whole number, 56 have been boarded at the station, at the expense of the board. Five have boarded with their parents or elsewhere. Of the school at Fairfield, I suppose Dr. Butler will give you an account. At Park Hill the whole number of scholars has been 47, and the average attendance not far from 20—all Cherokees except five, who are my own children. At Mount Zion the attendance was very irregular; as many as 50 having attended more or less, while yet the average may not have exceeded 15.
Besides the missionaries, the board have under their care two native preachers, Rev. John Huss and Rev. Stephen
Foreman. Mr. Huss is supported by the board, and has the care of a church at Honey Creek. Mr. Foreman is my assistant in translating, and is supported partly by the board and partly by the Cherokee nation, in the capacity of superintendent of schools.
The printing-press at Park Hill was first set up at Union in the year 1835, and removed to Park Hill in 1837. Since it was first set up at Union, the following books and pamphlets have been printed:
We have also printed a small Primer in the Wea language.
All these, except the Tract on Marriage, Cherokee and Choctaw Laws, Chiefs’ Messages, Methodist Discipline, in Cherokee and Choctaw, and the Wea Primer, have been published at the expense of the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions, and by far the greater part for gratuitous distribution. Within the year past, I believe, we have only printed the later Cherokee Laws, Chiefs’ Messages, Choctaw and Cherokee Almanacs and the second edition of the Epistles of John. We are now printing 5,000 copies of the Acts of the Apostles.
The number of Cherokee members in the churches under the care of the Board, as nearly as I can ascertain, is as follows: Dwight, 29; Fairfield, 65; Park Hill, 22; Honey Creek, 47; Mount Zion, 28; 1991 in all.
Of the amount expended by the Board “for education purposes,” I really have not the means of forming even a tolerable estimate. The sum reported by the treasurer as expended for the Cherokee mission, for the year ending August, 1842, was nearly $8,200. Perhaps the sum for the current year may be nearly the same. But what part of this should be regarded as expended for the purpose of education, I dare not attempt to estimate.
Having the honor to be secretary of the Cherokee Temperance Society, I have better means than any other person to report the program of that important association. The society was organized, under its present constitution, in the autumn of 1836. Its members sign the following pledge:
“We hereby solemnly pledge ourselves that we will never use, nor buy, nor sell, nor give, nor receive, as a drink, any whiskey, brandy, rum, gin, wine, fermented cider, strong beer, or any kind of intoxicating liquor.”
On the list of signers to this pledge, I find the names of 1,752 persons, of whom I recognize about 160 as white or black persons; and we may, perhaps reckon about 25 or 30 more as such, whom I do not know, and cannot distinguish by their names. This will leave about 1,560 Cherokees who have signed the pledge. How many of these have broken the pledge I cannot tell. Certainly not a few. But if we allow one-third of the whole number, (which I take to be a very large allowance), it leaves more than a thousand Cherokees
who abstain entirely from the use of intoxicating drinks of all kinds, and from all traffic in them. And I suppose a considerable number more could be found who are equally abstinent, and who only lack opportunity to add their names. I may add, too, that I hear of violations of the pledge much less frequently within two years past than formerly; and that, though intemperance is still prevalent to an alarming degree, yet public sentiment seems to me more and more in favor of total abstinence.
Yours very respectfully,
S. A. WORCESTER.
P. M. Butler, Esq.,
Agent of the U. S. for the Cherokees.
Fort Towson, September 12, 1843.
Sir: The Methodist mission among the Choctaws, in the country of Fort Towson, has nearly closed its labors for the present year; and I am happy in having to inform you of its prosperity and success. The parsonage is located seven miles east of the fort, near an excellent spring, and is comfortably improved. Our work is ministerial and pastoral upon the itinerant plan; by which “the poor have the Gospel preached unto them.” Our work embraces a large district of country, and the congregations are fifteen in number. These are scattered over a territory averaging about 60 by 30 miles. Our custom is to visit those places once in three weeks. The labor is performed by myself and a native preacher, who travels as my interpreter the present year. I take pleasure in stating that we have not labored in vain; for much has been the happiness our people have enjoyed under the ministry of the Word.
Recently we have held several popular meetings, attended by from 300 to 500 persons; and the good order and decorum observed would have been respectable in any community. We trust that much moral improvement was made in community. We have a Sabbath-school in our several congregations, taught by natives. These are doing great good, as hundreds are learning to read the Scripture in their own tongue. I have only to regret our inability to supply them sufficiently with books and apparatus. Many of our people
are making considerable improvement in agriculture and the mechanic arts. From what we observe, we are compelled to view this people as hastening to a civilized state. The greatest bane of the nation is intemperance; if that could be cured, this would be a prosperous and happy people, by the continunance of Government and missionary assistance, and under the smiles of God.
Our society has commenced a mission (the present year) among the Chickasaws, and we entertain hopes that it will be successful.
This mission is supported entirely by the Missionary Society of the Methodist Episcopal Church, at the expense of $650, to defray every expense accruing; and I will say it, to the praise of our people and friends here, that they have paid some eighty dollars to our missionary society the present year.
Sir, I have the honor to subscribe myself,
ROBERT GREGORY, Missionary.
Major Wm. Armstrong,
Superintendent Indian Affairs.
Norwalk, Fort Towson Post Office.
Choctaw Nation, August 21, 1843.
My dear Sir: A report of the schools taught in this nation, by persons under the care and patronage of the American Board, will be made in the following remarks and tabular view.
The most interesting and prominent feature in public schools, is the general determination to effect a change in the plan heretofore adopted, and which has been a guide for all the teachers of our Government in fulfilling treaty agreements between the United States and the Choctaws. It does not devolve on me to say what the merits of this change are. Many educated, benevolent, and public spirited Choctaws have taken great pains to put their own school money so as to be available, and the value of it is estimated by the Nation. I believe these benefactors of the youth, now marching forth to take the place of their fathers, are planning with the most disinterested motives; and should those plans be carried out
agreeably to those of the National Council of 1842; great good; it is hoped, will be done; and when these men have left the stage, their children will enjoy the benefits of their labor. Now is an important crisis in our schools. Most of what I have to say of one, will apply to all of them. Every feature is new, or expected to be new, to the children, when, in fact, there is but a shade of difference in point of instruction.
It appears to me desirable that something should be said or done to stimulate teachers to their work in the western country. If to receive pay is the main object, less good will be done than when the heart beats with true philanthropy. Most of the teachers in this country came from far different society than that which surrounds them here; and the moral influence and stimulus to excel, which is too common to be mentioned in civilized countries, too frequently lowers its dignity, and ceases to urge us on to new or improved modes of instruction; consequently, the children must live under the same old forms, and perform the same routine of duties, be it less or more. This will not do for this or any other age. Common sense teaches a new lesson every day. And if teachers in this country are not disposed to avail themselves of this faithful monitor, our western country will be held in scorn of others, instead of marching on manfully and cheerfully with a civilized world. Teachers need encouragement any where. In almost every instance they are employed by the public to educate a new generation. Private teachers are employed to gratify the feelings of some few individuals. Such teachers seldom look for or expect encouragement, any further than constant employment.
New cares, labors, and responsibilities devolve on some of the teachers. They have the most difficult kind of teaching: that is to say, they must teach the children English, which, to most of the Choctaws, is a foreign language. It is very difficult to teach a native to comprehend the meaning of English composition, written geography, or the relation of numbers and correct pronunciation. I have found. that even these youths acquire their own language easiest orally. There is no branch of English science they will acquire so readily as music, in singing by rote. Most of them have a good musical ear, and some large choirs have sung pieces with a good degree of harmony and musical expression. I
fully believe a natural musical chant is a plain characteristic of an amiable disposition. Sacred music is most common which is sung by public assemblies, religious concerts, and praying circles of both sexes. Such music is performed with more simplicity and expression of religious feeling during family prayers. It seems as if God indited the song as well as the prayer. I do not magnify this subject, but simply touch a few of its excellencies. Music, as a science, is neglected in public and private schools generally. A singing-school need not be separate from other week-day schools. Almost all children love to sing. God has given them this lovely element, which will show itself through every stage of education; and a school of young children is often calmed and governed by some harmonious musical expression. I have found no remedy better than music for stupor and drowsiness, which is unavoidably common in hot climates. I never failed to awake and fix the attention in this way. Other remedies often produce dullness of application, and in many cases, fretfulness. Music regulates many evils in the life of children. It sweetens and cheers the hours as they are quickly hurried to eternity.
I have had the pleasure of visiting the schools twice during the last year. There is a much more elevated view of education than at any other period. Parents and children look upon education as useful. They believe it to be an ornament and treasure for all who apply their minds to the study of useful books. Children do not feel that the task of learning a lesson is to please the teacher so much as to benefit themselves. The young of this nation cannot judge by comparison how much good an education will do them. There is but here and there one who has more than the simple elements of what an enlightened nation think to be an education. The teachers are supposed to have done all in their power to improve the minds and morals of the youth here; yet their work is cut short in five-sixths of the number committed to their care. They learn to read, write, spell, and solve a few simple numbers, when at this important period of their education they voluntarily leave, or their parents take them from school. The one-sixth who remain are benefited, and cheer the hearts of their teachers and friends. Those opposed to public education have drawn their estimate
of its value from the five-sixths who have been educated imperfectly, and leave out of account the one-sixth, who in reality have obtained a plain education. This people have but few teachers, and it is impossible for them to do much more than they have done under past circumstances.
Those children who have been regular in their attendance in these schools have made great improvement, specially among the girls in the school at Wheelock. I think there is much sensible, practical, and decidedly useful knowledge acquired in that school. The girls are taught the plain lessons of life; graciously directing all their attainments for an eternity of bliss. A lovely little girl made up some linen and took it to her father; the mother saw the work was done so well and neat, she doubted the veracity of her little seamstress. Knitting, netting, needle-work in woolen, cotton, stitched linen for gentlemen, fancy needle-work, and embroidery, are executed with skill and taste, which is designed to prepare them for the useful sphere of ladies, wives, and mothers. These girls have just commenced spinning, and will soon weave their yarn into domestic cloth. Two other schools have devoted some little time to sewing, &c.
No special pains have been taken to secure the regular attendance of children, yet there is not so much falling of towards the close of the term as usual. Doubtless, it is on account of the deep interest prevailing through the nation on the subject of education. They have better lessons, are better behaved, and are much easier governed; consequently, we observe some of the finer feelings of civilized society among them. Finally, I have full confidence in legislative patronage, and an apportionment of national funds for the public instruction of youth, whenever the national judicatory shall place the power necessary for the success of such national philanthropy in a calm and sensible board of commissioners. Without such a board, I think the Choctaws will fail in the plan of 1842; with such a board, they are as likely to succeed as any other nation with the same advantages.
I am, with much respect and esteem, your obedient servant.
Major William Armstrong,
Acting Supt. Western Territory.
Near Doakville, December 12, 1842.
Sir: The Council have appropriated eighteen thousand dollars, out of the interest on the Chickasaw funds, for educational purposes, after this year; and have agreed the following schools be located in the several districts, viz: Fort Coffee Academy, at Fort Coffee, with a branch for females; Noincoaiga Academy, (exclusively for males), near the Council-house, which, together with the schools on the Arkansas, the Rev. Mr. Ames has agreed that his society shall take charge of; Koonsha female seminary, to be established in the Pushmattaha district, at such place as shall be selected by a committee; and Chuwala female seminary, Wheelock female seminary, and Eyanubbe female seminary, in Erppak Shenubee district, of only one of which the location is fixed—the other two to be located by committees. These schools, including the one in Pushmattaha, have been offered to the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions. The Council wishes that the three district schools taught by Messrs. Wilson, Potts, and Rind, be blended with the school to be established near the Council-house; and that the said district schools be discontinued by the 1st of August next. And we respectfully request that you will represent our wishes on this subject to the Department of War, that the course may be approved of. It is also the wish of the Council, with the sanction of the President, that the forty youths to be educated, under the Dancing Rabbit treaty, be sent out of the nation to the following institutions in the United States, viz: ten to Jefferson College, at Cannonsburg, Pennsylvania; ten to Ohio University, at Athens; ten to Indiana Asbury University, at Greencastle, Indiana; and ten to any institution to be selected either by yourself or the department. Our plans for the education and improvement of our people have been well matured; and we know of none which would effect us more permanent and lasting good than that of sending the forty youths to be educated under the treaty of 1830 out of our country, to the institutions above specified; and we trust you will state the wishes of the Council on this subject to the Government. You will see, from the school act, that yourself, and one individual from each district, have been appointed trustees to Spencer Academy. I have re-
quested the secretary of this district to send you a copy of our laws.
I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
P. P. PITCHLYNN.
To Captain Wm. Armstrong.
Choctaw Agency, December 27, 1842.
Sir: I have the honor to enclose you a communication addressed to me by Col. P. P. Pitchlynn, Speaker of the General Council, which sets forth the wishes of the nation. I feel gratified that the Choctaws have taken so decided a stand in favor of educating their people. It is, I believe, the first instance of an Indian tribe changing the payment of their annuity from the tribe for education purposes.
The subject has been freely discussed through the nation; and the plans adopted are such, under all the circumstances, as are calculated to do the best. There may be some inconsiderable changes necessary; but the general plan strikes me as so favorable, that I will cheerfully co-operate with the nation in carrying out their views, which I trust will receive the sanction of the department. I have not a copy of the resolutions, and, therefore, only refer to the general plan. There may be modifications necessary, which the department can adopt. The fund arising from the Chickasaw investments is according to the treaty, under the control of the General Council. The buildings now erected at Spencer Academy are designed to be supported from the six thousand dollars’ appropriation heretofore used at the Choctaw Academy in Kentucky. This sum will be insufficient to carry on the school on the scale at first designed. I understand one of the resolutions of the Council is, that there shall not be any salary over four hundred dollars and boarded at the institution. This sum will not command the services of such a man as should be principal of Spencer Academy. I would, therefore, recommend that Mr. Wilson, who teaches near the agency, be appointed principal or president of Spencer Academy. He is well qualified, and the choice, I know, of the Choctaw nation. Mr. Wilson will not undertake for less than his present salary, and can readily obtain that in Arkansas. I have been anxiously expecting an answer to
my letters in relation to the school now called the Spencer Academy. It is important that a farmer should be there at this time, preparing the grounds for a crop, as the buildings will be ready, by the first of May. The Council will have appointed, as you will see from Col. P. P. Pitchlynn’s letter, one Choctaw from each of the three districts, with myself, as trustee. Before proceeding beyond preparing the buildings, I would be glad to have your sanction and views. Be pleased to address me as early as possible on this subject. If the transferring of Mr. Wilson meets your approbation, and if we had a good steady farmer, the other subordinates can be selected for the salary mentioned by the Council, and as early as possible we will commence operations; after which the workships and other necessary buildings can be erected, in part by the school, or at least under the immediate inspection of the superintendent.
Furniture to commence with will have to be provided. The superintendent, as I conceive, should have a general superintendence—to regulate the hours of study and labor, and to open the school with prayers, and to preach. I would remark, that, owing to arrangements and the religious view of the nation, the superintendent should be a Presbyterian preacher. The section of the country around the academy is mostly of that denomination; and the expectation and arrangement is, that the academy shall partake of that denomination.
The Council, you will observe, wish the forty boys that have been educated in Kentucky, under the treaty of Dancing Rabbit Creek, to be divided between different colleges. This is a plan well calculated to do much good, and I hope will meet your approbation. The object will be to give to such a more finished education than they would receive at home. So soon as I receive from the clerk of the Council the resolutions in relation to schools, they will be forwarded.
The Rev. Mr. Ames, I understand, will visit Washington: he has been some time in the Indian country, and I would respectfully refer you to him for general information upon the subject of schools; hoping to hear from you soon, giving your views, &c., in relation to the schools, with such general rules as you may be pleased to adopt, which will
enable us to progress with Spencer Academy, so as to have a crop made this season. It is for this object that I address you in advance of the resolutions of the Council.
The Rev. Mr. Cephas Washbun, for many years at the head of the Dwight mission, in the Cherokee nation, is well qualified to be superintendent of the academy. He resides in Arkansas; having left the Cherokee nation in consequence of the difficulties. I do not know that his services could be had; certainly there is no man better qualified. I mention him, as he is in the country; and if he could be had, would be near at hand. The season of the year is fast approaching which makes it necessary to begin farming, which must be my excuse for bringing this subject so pressingly before you.
Very respectfully, your most obedient servant,
Acting Supt. W. T.
T. Hartley Crawford, Esq.,
Commissioner Indian Affairs, Washington City.
Office Indian Affairs, September 13, 1843.
Sir: Upon reflection, since my letter to you of the 1st inst. was written, I am of the opinion that the balance of the funds arising from the sale of 54 sections of land, amounting to $3,405.46, which, I understand, can be usefully employed in this, the early stage of the Choctaw system of schools, had better not be retained here. Under existing circumstances, this balance ought not, I think, to be used without the consent of the Choctaw Council. It cannot be expended in strict accordance with treaty provisions; and although the power is in the Executive to direct how it shall be laid out, I prefer, considering all things, to consult the wishes of the Choctaws.
My own anxious desire is, that their money should be appropriated to the education of Choctaw girls at one or more of their female seminaries. You will please to use all proper means to persuade the Council to this application of it, in which I will not permit myself to doubt your success. In anticipation of this, I will cause a requisition
to be issued in your favor for the said sum, so that no time may be unnecessarily lost in its judicious and beneficial expenditure for the object and purpose named.
Very respectfully, yours,
T. HARTLEY CRAWFORD.
Major William Armstrong,
Acting Supt., &c., now in Washington City.
Office Indian Affairs, May 8, 1843.
Sir: In acknowledging the receipt of your letter of the 27th December last, I have to remark that the delay has been occasioned partly by a desire to give the whole subject of education among the Choctaws a thorough examination, and partly (but chiefly) the expectation of receiving the official proceedings of the Council in relation to it. As further delay might be injurious to the Indians, I am constrained to take your communication, and those of Major Pitchlynn, which it encloses, as the basis of the present action of the department.
Your communication and that of Major Pitchlynn were presented to the late Secretary of War in January last, and received from him much thought and investigation; and I cannot do better than to give you the result at which he arrived in his own words. He says: “I not only approve, but am highly gratified with the movements of the Choctaws towards the education of their children, and will render any aid and support in the power of this department to promote the undertaking.
“The plan of having the agent of the United States for the Choctaws, by virtue of his office, a trustee, together with one from each district, to constitute a board of education for the principal academy, is very proper. If their powers were extended so as to make them a board of education for the nation, it would be found very useful. A general system would then be adopted, and economy and efficiency would be promoted. I should think the Speaker of the Council should also be an ex-officio trustee.
“A general superintendent under the trustees is a good idea. He should have the general charge of all the acade-
mies and schools, be empowered to visit and inspect them, license the teachers, and report the condition of the schools to the board. From the description given of him by Major Armstrong, I should think Mr. Washbun would be a very proper man.
“For the reasons given by Major Armstrong, the proposed allowance for the principal of the academy is not adequate. I would recommend that the authority to employ teachers, and to fix their compensation, should be given to the board of education. The Council might fix a limit to the whole amount to be thus expended. The amount should not, however, exceed that fixed by law, or the treaty, as now acted on.
“As to sending young men to college, I am willing to accede to it in a modified form. The expense must be greater than at the academy in Kentucky. If we take twenty at first, and see what the expense amounts, it would do as a beginning. The residue of the fund can be advantageously employed otherwise.
“Not having the proceedings of the Choctaw Council before me, I cannot formally approve them; but I suppose the outlines and substance of the plan are communicated by Major Pitchlynn. Authorize and desire the Indian agent among the Choctaws to aid in its execution by all the means in his power. He will engage a farmer to prepare the ground, if authorized by the Council.”
These views meet the approbation of the present Secretary, and he desires that they be carried out; and the doing so will involve the necessity of much communication between you and the Choctaws who are invested with the power to act for the nation: all of which you will be pleased to report to this office, together with such suggestions as may occur to you from time to time.
The appointment of Mr. Washbun being confirmed, your recommendation of Mr. Wilson is also approved, and he will receive the appointment. If you have not already appointed a farmer to be located at the Spencer Academy, you are now at liberty to select any one you may deem qualified, and he will be confirmed by the department.
That order and regularity may be preserved, it will be necessary that a full set of regulations be adopted for the
government of the principal schools, as well as the preparatory ones. This will be the duty of the trustees, who will take the subject into consideration; and so soon as the regulations are prepared, they should be submitted to the department for its approval, or such suggestions for their improvement as may be deemed essential.
The Secretary of War has fixed upon two seminaries for the education of the twenty Choctaw boys—ten at the Asbury University, in Indiana, and ten at Lafayette College at Easton, Pennsylvania. Both these are in high repute, and no doubt exists of every advantage being derived by the boys that they could obtain at any institution in the United States. Instructions will be forwarded to you for the procuring and sending on the boys, which should be done as early as they can be collected and got ready.
The number of twenty youths to be educated out of the nation having been fixed on for the present by the late Secretary, (in which the present Secretary concurs,) ten of them will be sent to a college selected by the department, according to the wish of the Choctaws, expressed in Colonel Pitchlynn’s letter. Lafayette College, at Easton, Pennsylvania, has been chosen, because this town is the residence of the present Secretary of War. He will occasionally visit it, and will have the opportunity of seeing personally that they are properly instructed, &c. Easton, moreover, is in the midst of a German population, who are among the best farmers in the United States, and, by daily witnessing their mode of cultivating the earth, and the advantages consequent upon lives of industry and morality, the young Choctaws will, it is hoped, be greatly benefitted. The two other colleges, after a time, when the number to be thus educated shall be enlarged, may receive the additions. Your letter of the 8th of April last was received here on the 6th inst. What has been done, is so far approved. The appointment of a farmer was indispensable, and that could not be done here; but you must take especial care not to exceed the funds that you know, and have been heretofore informed, would be applicable to this great object.
You will please report the amount of the purchases for agricultural and horticultural purposes, and the aggregate of the outlay, independent of the erection of the buildings
for the academy, and inform the Choctaw chiefs of my great gratification at the prospect of extending the knowledge of letters, and dispensing the invaluable advantages of education among their people—female as well as male. The former, as I have before said to them, I regard as of at least equal importance with the latter, and to both will contribute whatever aid may be legally within my control.
Very respectfully, &c.,
T. HARTLEY CRAWFORD.
Major William Armstrong,
Choctaw Agency, West of Arkansas.
Office Indian Affairs, September 29, 1843.
Sir: A Seminole Indian, named John Douglass Bemo, about 19 or 20 years of age, was carried to sea from St. Augustine some nine years ago; and about a twelve-months since, by means that I cannot explain, found his way into the family of the Rev. Mr. Douglass, pastor of the Mariners’ church, Philadelphia, in which he has since lived, and received all the advantages of instruction and education that, in his previously untutored condition, he would improve. By this good man and family, and the religious and benevolent people who are their associates, the red youth was treated with the utmost kindness and liberality.
Mr. Douglass wrote to me a short time ago, informing me of John’s being at his house, of his condition and attainments, and anxiety to return to his tribe in the west. I replied favorably, and Mr. D. arrived here with the young man some ten or twelve days ago.
John represents himself to be a nephew of Osceola. He can read and write, and speak well in public; is a person of irreproachable morals and conduct, and good strong constitution. Having acquired some knowledge from modes of life and associations there, he may be very useful among and to his wild and untutored brother Seminoles. The most effective way of benefitting them through him, will be by making him a teacher of their children, although his own knowledge is very limited; yet, as he understands our language, and knows a little of his native tongue, and will be
an instructor of pure Seminoles, whose minds are now a blank, he may be regarded as peculiarly qualified to direct and aid them up to a certain point; while the fact of his being one of their brethren will, probably, remove their repugnance to attending school.
Besides the reasons stated for giving his exertions the direction mentioned, I am further induced thereto by the urgent application of the Seminoles, through their subagent, for a school among them.
You will, therefore, please to carry John with you to his tribe in the west; and, as soon after his arrival as practicable, give him employment as a teacher among his own people.
To effect this, a plain log school-house must be built on the most economical plan. This done, and the necessary explanations having been made to the Indians to secure the pupils, he will enter upon his duties. After the children have learned all he can impart to them, another teacher may be employed, if necessary, and we have funds; to whom John can be an assistant, by whose aid he may be still further qualified, and be able to extend his usefulness. I do not think any further instructions are, at present, necessary.
You will receive $100, for which a requisition was issued on the 28th instant, and for which you will account under the head of “contingencies Indian department,” to enable you to defray the expenses of his journey from Philadelphia to the Indian territory west; and when you inform me what the expenses of the log cabin school-house will be, a remittance will be made of the amount. John will be allowed for his services as teacher, to commence when he enters upon the duty of instruction, at the rate of $300 per annum.
T. HARTLEY CRAWFORD.
Major Wm. Armstrong,
Acting Superintendent, &c.