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Chronicles of Oklahoma
Volume 10, No. 2
June, 1932

By Martha Buntin.

Page 204

Seeing the failure of the politician, who cheated the Indian and the government, causing trouble for both, and considering the military authorities only as a means of locating the Indians on their reservations, but not as a force to be used in making them citizens of the United States, President Grant, in 1868, decided to allow the religious bodies to choose the Indian agents. For this very important task in the Central Superintendency, which included the Kiowa, Comanche, and Wichita reservation, he selected the group who had had the most harmonious dealings with the Indians, the Quakers.

Lawrie Tatum was not even aware of the fact that he was considered for such a position until he saw his name in a newspaper as the Quaker nominee to fill a position as agent for the Kiowa, Comanche, and Wichita reservation. 1On May 20, 1869, Tatum received his official appointment and prepared to go at once into Indian territory. He left his wife, Mary Ann Tatum in Iowa, until he could return for her.2 Col. W. B. Hazen met Tatum at Junction City, Kansas, and took him to Fort Sill, the newly established post in Indian Territory, a journey of some three hundred and fifty miles. They passed no houses on the way.

Colonel Hazen had already selected a site for the agency located about three miles from Fort Sill. Only one adobe building was under construction when Tatum arrived. As the stream rose suddenly, this building was often surrounded by water; for this reason Tatum gravely reported the location a most unhealthful as well as inconvenient. On July 1, 1869, the agency, with the property belonging to it, was transferred to Tatum, with the exception of the com-

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missary which for some unknown reason was not transferred until the following year.3

Farming had been started by Hazen, who had had several tracts of land plowed for the Indians. Since these Indians had never done any farming, it was necessary to have a man teach them when and how to cultivate the land. The work, however, was done entirely by the women and children even though the men enjoyed the products greatly, often not even waiting for the melons to ripen before eating them.4

Tatum found that his first duty was to build an Indian Agency in order that the work might be carried on.5 Since the Indians could not grind their corn into meal, it was of little use to them. As per treaty agreement, the Indians were promised a sawmill with an attachment for grinding corn. Tatum decided that he had to go to Chicago to secure the mill and employees. The mill was to be sent to Smith Paul's ranch (near the modern Pauls Valley, Oklahoma,) and freighted from there to Fort Sill. The employees accompanied him to Lawrence, Kansas, where he purchased some wagons, spring-seats, horses and mules, harness, and a camping equipment. When all this was assembled, Tatum, his wife, and his employees, who left their homes on the call of the Church, set out on a four hundred mile journey unbroken by a single village and after the first fifty miles, not even a hut was to be seen.

With the arrival of these people, the peace policy of the president was under way. There can be no doubt that these people were most serious in their undertaking, even though most of them departed in haste when the Indians became restless and threatened trouble. These employees were soon replaced by the Church. It is surprising how well they fitted into the work when they had been selected by the brethern of an eastern church who had probably never seen an Indian.

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Tatum was not without instruction in his new work. In fact he received his instructions from several and varied sources. The military authorities felt that he needed their assistance and guidance; the Quaker Churches gave instructions collectively and individually; and the Indian Department sent numerous circulars and letters of instruction. The care of the funds was a very exacting task. The money had to be accounted for to a penny to E. S. Parker, Commissioner of Indian Affairs, while a like record had to be retained and turned over to his successor when he departed.6

Colonel B. H. Gierson instructed Tatum to allow Evans and Company to trade with the Indians and recommended that more traders be allowed to come to Fort Sill so that the Indians might receive the most for their products which consisted mostly of buffalo robes collected on their annual hunting expeditions. (7)

The Quaker Committee advised him to proceed with the assistance of God, to civilize and christianize the Indians and assured him they were praying for him. They promised him, they would soon send some of their Committee to assist him. (8) The great interest manifested in the policy of the President is expressed in the following report:

The Washington Committee having met in Baltimore on the 12th inst, letters having been read from Agents Tatum and Richards and other Friends, giving accounts of the disturbed state of affairs amongst the Indians. Our sympathies have been deeply enlisted on behalf of thyself and the Friends who are acting with thee. We rescognize our inability at this distance to give minute directions for your conduct in all your trying circumstances which surround you. But when we remember that you and we have entered upon this work as followers of the Prince of Peace, and that the President has assured the Friends that no duties would be required of them inconsistent with their known principles - - - - our desires have been very earnest that you might be enabled to act consist-

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tantly without profession and in doing so witness the preserving power of Divine Providence.
Committ your way unto the Lord, Trust also in Him. Be assured of our renewed sympathy and prayers for you.
On behalf of the Washington Committee:
(Signed) Francis T. King.
               Clerk of the Day.(9)

William W. Belknap, Secretary of War, wrote the following to the Commissioner of Indian Affairs, S. E. Parker

I have the honor to state for your information and for such remedial action as you may deem appropriate to the case, that the Commanding-General Military Division of the Missouri reports that the majority of the Kiowa, Comanche, and Apache Indians are constantly off the reservation established for them at Fort Sill, and doubtless constitute the bands which are constantly committing outrages and depredations in Texas, and that the military authorities have no power to punish them for leaving their reservations, as the Indian agent has sole jurisdiction over them and lets them go at their pleasure. The government furnishing the supplies while they are on their predatory expeditions, and feeding them probably on their return. The General of the Army expresses his concurrence in this opinion of the Division Commander.10

Parker had a copy of this letter forwarded to Enoch Hoag, Superintendent of the Central Superintendency along with a letter which instructed him to carry out the instructions in the letter written by Belknap. In turn Hoag copied both letters and forwarded them to Tatum with a third letter in which he ordered Tatum to keep the Indians on the reservation. These instructions did not reach Tatum until the latter part of February.

Tatum reported that while he knew little of the work required of him when he received his appointment, he soon discovered that he was a governor, legislature, judge, sher-

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iff, and accounting agent and gave examples where he had taken the part of each.11 In addition to his official labors, Tatum received many letters requesting all sorts of permissions and information, which he carefully answered. The following is an answer to a letter requesting permission to establish a dairy near the agency:

Respected Friend:
James Flood.
Thy note of 25th inst. has been received asking permission to start a dairy near this place.
I am willing to grant permission for thee to have a dairy of fifteen or twenty cows, near this place, for one year, provided the cattle are kept out of my fields and gardens. - - - I expect to have my fields and gardens fenced, but there are some cattle that will go over even a good fence. I do not expect to have such around me. And provided also, that thou and thy employees conduct thyselves satisfactory to me.12

The people in Texas seemed to live in constant fear and dread due to the inroads of hostile Indians who were constantly leaving their reservations and seeking scalps, captives, stock, or merely adventure. These people wrote many letters requesting Tatum to keep his Indians on the reservation and requesting him to locate some member of their families who had been captured by the Indians.

Tatum managed to return many captives to their families. At first he paid the Indians $100.00 per captive returned, but he declared that to place so high a value on captives encouraged the taking of them and demanded that they be returned to him without pay. The military officials, who had first declared that the Indians would not return them for $100.00, were now most skeptical, but they gave their assistance when it was requested and many cap-

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tives were thus returned.13 To secure the return of the captives, Tatum simply refused to issue rations until he had all the whites held captive by the Indians. Since the Indians were very fond of sugar and coffee, luxuries secured in no other way, they returned the captives to Tatum, who sent them home to their own people.

While issuing rations, Tatum requested that soldiers be stationed about the commissary. To this use of military force, the churches protested, but Tatum explained his position in this manner:

When soldiers come under a civil officer for duty it is to perform civil, not military duty so that I had no more hesitation in usnig them than I would in using a sheriff or police force."

Tatum was expected to know all the facts concerning his Indians though how and when he was to learn them was a problem to be decided for himself. Nevertheless, he did know more about the reservation and the problems of the Indians than any one else. When his opinion was requested concerning the boundaries, he gave the following letter:

I am well satisfied that it will be best for the Affiliated bands as well for the Kiowas, Comanches, and Apaches, to extend the boundaries of the present reservation to the Canadian River, up that river to the hundredth meridan, thence south to the Red River, not the north fork as at present, thus leaving a three cornered tract between this reservation and Texas, the hundredth meridian is said to be staked and the Indians know where that line is.
The Chiefs of the Affiliated bands as well as the chiefs of the Kiowa, Comanche, Indians have repeatedly expressed to me their wish to have this for their country and they were willing to have other friendly tribes of Indians moved onto it and to have their respective farms and use the unimproved parts for hunting purposes. This would

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not interfere with the different agencies or subagencies as might be thought best.
The Affiliated bands have their farms on both sides of the Washita River and to now move them north would be very unjust and unsatisfactory and discouraging to them, and almost as much to the Comanches, some of whom are trying to farm.
They would take it that the government was not acting in good faith as the Wichitas and Caddos have from time immorial owned, or thought they owned the land by the Wichita Mountains and along the Washita River and still wish to retain their claim upon it for hunting purposes and have their farms along the Washita.
They are very unwilling for the Cheyenne and Arapaho Reservation to extend further south than the Canadian River. If there has to be a boundary set apart for the Affiliated bands, I think the south side of the River from Fort Cobb to the east line of the Reserve, thence north to the Canadian River: and up that to a point north of Fort Cobb, thence south to a place of beginning and then at back country west, up the Canadian River; to the 100 meridian and south to Red River to the Kiowa and Comanche reservation.15

In 1871 Tatum took a regular count of the Indians of the reservation for roll call and rations; he discovered the count made by the Indians for the purpose of receiving rations, considerably greater than his count. They had a total of 8,746 while he found only 4,444.16

The year 1871 was a very hard one for the agent of the Kiowa, Comanche, and Wichita reservation, as the Indians were dissatisfied and constantly left the reservation for raids into Texas. The Wichitas and Affiliated bands complained because their neighbors constantly annoyed them. The sub-agent, at the old agency, erected by Major Shanklin, could not keep the Indians happy and refused the assistance of the military force or to have any of his Indians

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serve as scouts in that body as he considered this decidedly against the Quaker policy.17

Numerous councils were called with the same object in view to induce the Indians to settle down.18 In order to maintain peace, a group of chiefs was taken to Washington to visit that city. Here the Commissioner of Indian Affairs told them the same thing that they had been hearing for some time: It is now time for them to settle down, remain on their reservation, keep their young men at home, and start making a living by the cultivation of the soil.19 Parker ordered Tatum to locate the roving Apaches wherever, whenever, and however they were willing to be located.20

After various peaceful means had failed to impress the Indians, the Commissioner ordered the military authorities to arrest criminal Indians whenever possible and that the Indian agent should accompany the military forces or send a deputy in order to carry out the terms of the treaty.21 Raiding Indians were to receive no rations but those who were raiding received better and more meat and certainly had a much more interesting time than those who remained peacefully upon the reservation, therefore this did not stop the raiding.22 Colonel Gierson, ordered by the military department, moved up the Red River "to drive any Indians that may be inclined to remain off the reservation back upon it."23 Colonel McKenzie was ordered to advance up the west fork of Red River and induce, peacefully if possible, any Indians there to return to the reservation.

The Quakers were most surprised and displeased to learn that the Indians in spite of being wild, untamed and untrained nomadic persons had not become under their supervision peaceful, home-loving and God-fearing Quaker farmers. They secured some very impressive certificates of land ownership which they were willing to give the Indians who selected a tract of land and started to farm.24

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After considering the matter for some time, the Quakers decided that the cause of the failure was due to the grave lack of religious training, so they sent the following letter to all the agents under their control:

I desire to call thy attention to the following minutes adopted by the Associated Executive Committee of Friends on Indian Affairs at their meeting in this city in 11th Mo. last.
That in each agency, some person or persons (To be designated by the general Agent) shall be responsible to the Executive Committee for religious instruction of the Indians.
That each agent shall be responsible to the Executive Committee that so far as possible, every member of each tribe under his care who has arrived at years of understanding, shall be told the saving truths of the gospel.
That First-day schools for Scriptural instrucstructions be established in every Agency where it is possible. Great care should be taken that the lessons are interesting, attractive, and very simple, and especial pains be taken to win the love of the parents and chiefs.
That Agents stimulate the Indian Councils to enact and enforce the laws of marriage for their tribes.
In pursuance of my duty in this case, I have decided and concluded that I could not do better than to designate thyself as the most suitable person to have this responsibility referred to in regard to religious instruction of the Indians under thy care and to take such steps in complying with the other requisitional above quoted as may be practicable. In discharging this responsibility, thou wilt of course request the co-operation and cordial assistance of such employees as may seem to thee most suitable for the purpose indicated and assign to each his or her portion of the work.25

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The relations between the Quakers and the military authorities were often strained. Each considered the other as an assistant and felt that department a subordinate. The matter was more complicated by the fact that the military force was instructed to confer with the agent unless the offense came directly under their jurisdiction, as the agent was responsible for both white and Indians on the reservation.26

On June 6, 1872, several Kiowas took 120 mules belonging to the post at Ft. Sill; Colonel Schofield ordered Tatum to return the mules at once. He concluded his letter with the following statement: "You are respectfully requested to give a written answer to this command at your earliest convenience."27

Another cause of friction was that the agent was allowed to decide what persons could or could not remain on the reservation.28 He permitted about three hundred whites to remain, most of whom were conected with the post, trader stores, or government. Tatum ordered the commanding officer to arrest a man who was on the reservation without a pass. The answer was written on the back of the letter sent to him by Tatum and informed him in very plain English of the fact that if he wanted the man arrested, he could do it himself.29

The sale of liquor was allowed at Fort Sill in the military post. The quantity was limited by the post commander, none was to be sold to Indians, and the amount to soldiers was supposed to be limited.30 The question arose at once concerning the responsibility of arresting the liquor traders whose business was to sell their wares to Indians. Schofield offered to divide the task, simply arresting the offenders and sending them to Tatum who had no guardhouse and who maintained that the arrest and punishment of such persons rested with the commanding officer.

Both the Commissioner and the Superintendent de-

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manded a great-number of reports on the condition of the reservation. The agent was ordered to make a monthly report on the progress of civilization of the Indians.32 Apparently this did not satisfy the authorities and he was requested to make such a report each week.33

Each tribe had different funds according to the treaties and these funds had to be spent and accounted for separately. The weight of all cattle and the price paid had to be written in duplicate to satisfy the requirements of the instructions. During the year 1872, the agent was informed that he might, if it became absolutely necessary, "use the telegraph."34

On March 31, 1873, Tatum resigned and transferred his government property to James H. Haworth, the new agent. During the year 1873 the routine labors were great, the friction between the military and Indian departments continued; the Indians still raided and but little improvement was seen unless it was in the gradual increase in school attendance. Haworth did not believe in the use of the military force as Tatum had, and therefore, used the soldiers as little as possible, thus relaxing the already deficient discipline among the Indians. He received orders from his own people the Quakers, to co-operate as far as possible with the military force. The Commissioner instructed him to do the same, and the Secretary of the Interior ordered him by telegram:

Friends are to co-operate with the military authorities as far as possible. When the policy called for by the government (requires them) to do what they are against, they can resign.35

Ironically enough, when Haworth decided to carry out these orders, and use the military force, he was informed that there was no guard available.36

The Indians declared that whites in Texas and Kansas were dressing as Indians and committing crimes. Ha-

Page 215

worth was instructed to investigate this charge and report at once.37

The relationship between the military and Indian departments became somewhat better during 1875-76, as each became aware of the need of both groups.38 Both were interested in arresting the "badmen." There was an insufficient number of soldiers to care for the Indians as, according to the Indian Department, they should be, cared for.

In order to keep the Indians on the reservation, roll call was held every three days, the men answered by name and the women and children were counted. If any left the reservation for over three days they had to have a military escort; if visiting another tribe, they had to have a pass from the agent.39

The military was not the only over-worked department on the reservation for when the authorities investigated the duty of each employee, it was discovered that each employee of the government had quite enough to occupy his time. The work of Jonas Edge, clerk, dated December 31, 1875 consisted of current business, roll of employees, preparing reports, vouchers, paying employees, property returns, general settlement of accounts, and issuing rations.

A great number of circular letters of instruction were received on the care of Indians, finance, employees, property, supplies, need and proper use of the military force, etc. The Quakers were indeed well advised and assisted by directions.40

The greatest difficulty of the period was that of securing supplies. The contractors were slow in getting the articles to the point of delivery, and the freighters were slower in making the delivery being unable to make more than twenty miles a day under favorable conditions. Often the goods were of a very inferior quality, sometimes so inferior that they spoiled and could not be used. Nichol-

Page 216

son, Superintendent of the Central Superintendency, instructed Haworth to secure copies of all contracts along with a sample of the product. If the goods did not measure up to the sample, he was to refuse to allow the goods to be delivered and purchase the goods elsewhere, charging the purchase to the contractor. This was necessary because all essential articles had to be delivered before winter as nothing could be brought in during the winter months.

The quantity of sugar and coffee provided was small and the Indians wanted these two article's more than anything else the government had to offer, so these articles had to be handled with care in order that they would not be used before a new supply could be secured.42 The goods were often mis-delivered and sometimes articles would arrive at a place several hundred miles from the point of delivery making reshipment by the railroad company necessary, and often keeping the freighters waiting for the promised loads for several days.43 Any extra supplies at the fort were given to the Indians and supplies were often borrowed and returned when the Indian supplies were delivered.44

The agency constructed by Tatum and the military force with the materials at hand, had not had any improvements since 1869 or 1870, therefore it was in a sad state of repair as well as being inadequate and scattered over several miles. The adobe commissary erected by Colonel Hazen was about to fall down. Haworth requested supplies to improve the condition of the agency buildings. The request was refused because the agency might be moved within the next few months. Both Tatum and Haworth had repeatedly recommended this move because too much land was taken up by the fort.45

There was little change in 1876. Perhaps fewer Indians left the reservation without a pass, though all complained bitterly concerning their limited domain and the inadequate rations which were issued by family rather than by band. Each family was given a card which was punched

Page 217

for rations received. There was still much discussion concerning the moving of the agency, but the old buildings became older and nothing was done. There were more children in school than in the past. However the schools would not accommodate more than one-eighth of the children of school age.46

The winter of 1878-77 was very cold. The stock became extremely poor and the cattle, purchased for beef, became so poor that they had lost almost half of their weight before the winter issues. In January the stock was so thin that Haworth was permitted to issue four pounds of gross beef per ration in place of the usual two pounds.47

In 1877 the Texas cattle men became important factors in official communications. The main questions were what should be done with trespassers and where were the trails? The department ordered Haworth to have the cattle removed, discover the owner, and furnish the information to the District Attorney who would then sue for damages in the name of the United States.48 Regarding cattle trails the reply referred to a section of Kansas law:

2117 Revised Statutes., law of Kansas, established a "dead line" near Ft. Dodge. About the 100 meridian the trail will go west of Camp Supply and I suppose would go west of the Kiowa reservation.

Haworth was instructed to see that more Indians remained on the reservation, that no arms or ammunition were sold to them, and to refuse to issue many passes as too many Indians were off their reservations. In the fall of 1877, all reports were ordered sent to Washington instead of to Lawrence, Kansas, even though the office there was not abolished until the following year.51

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The Mormans requested permission to send missionaries among the Indians, but the Quakers refused to allow them to cross the borders of the reservation. The Mormans appealed to the Commissioner of Indian Affairs, who upheld the verdict of the agent on the grounds that he had been informed that this sect was attempting to form an alliance with the Indians against the United States government. The source of his information is unknown52 to the author.

On April 1, 1878, the nine year regime of the Quakers came to a close. During the years 1869-78 they had established the agency, provided school facilities for a limited number of children, partially succeeded in locating and holding the Indians on the reservation, made an attempt to interest the Indians in agricultural activities, and provided religious instruction for all who would listen, but on the whole the Quakers were grieviously disappointed in the success attained in their efforts to christianize and civilize the Indians. However the Quakers laid the foundation which made the work of their successors possible and to these people belongs much credit.53

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