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SAC AND FOX INDIANS,
APRIL 24, 1862.--Ordered to be printed.
Mr. ALDRICH, from the Committee on Indian Affairs, made the
The Committee on Indian Affairs, to whom was referred the memorial of
the Sac and Fox Indians in Kansas, asking indemnity for property destroyed there in 1854, 1855, 1856, 1857, 1858. 1859, and 1860, with the accompanying testimony, have considered the same and submit the following report:
That the Sac and Fox Indian reserve lies in the centre of the State of Kansas, about 35 miles southwest from Lawrence.
On the opening of this Territory for settlement, the great rush of emigration was for a central location, and, as a consequence, a number of towns sprung up on the borders of the Sac and Fox lands. These towns are Council City, Centropolis, Burlingame, Versailles, Minneola, Superior, and a few others, depending largely for their building timber, lumber, and fuel, on the Sac and Fox lands ; also, the prairie farms surrounding this reserve, presenting a frontier line of over a hundred miles, are fenced mainly with rails taken from it, and the cabins and stables of the settlers are built of logs cut on the same.
The testimony on this head is full and explicit, and the claim of $10,000 for damages done to timber is thought to be moderate. The claim is made by seven chiefs in behalf of the tribe, and their testimony, which is full and sufficient, is sustained by the testimony of the local Indian agent, Perry Fuller, and by the United States surveyor, John McCarthy. Agent Fuller testifies" that from his
per: sonal knowledge, the damage done to the timber of the Sac and Fox Indians has been ten thousand dollars ; that since May, 1859, legal proceedings had been commenced against all persons who had before or have since been known to have committed depredations upon the Sac and Fox timber; that the courts have failed to sustain an action for stealing timber from an Indian reservation, therefore, the attempt to make the offenders pay the value of the timber removed and de. stroyed, either in whole or in part, proved a failure."
Mr. McCarthy testifies “that as a surveyor, and one of the con
tracting parties for the survey of the Sac and Fox reservation, he has recently been over most of it; that near the settlements of Minneola, Centropolis, Superior, Burlingame, and Florence, the destruction of timber has been immense ; that roads leading from said settlements into the timber on said reservation have been much travelled, &c.; and that the stumps and tops of trees remaining, show that many trees valuable for rails and sawing purposes have been cut and removed, He is satisfied that this timber was taken by white persons, citizens, and that the value of the same is not less than ten thousand dollars."
Considering that this reserve is in the centre of Kansas, on the headwaters of the Osage river, and is well timbered with oak and black walnut, the most valuable kinds of timber for building and fencing, and that it is surrounded by white settlers who have no scruples about appropriating it to their own use, the committee feel justified in concluding, both by the testimony and the nature of the case, that the depredations were committed as alleged by the claimants, and that the claim is a just one, and that indemnity should be granted.
The claims for horses cover a period of seven years, commencing in 1854, and running through 1855, 1856, 1857, 1858, 1859, and 1860. The whole number of horses stolen is 274, being an average of 39 horses per year since the first settlement of the Territory. Of this number 269 were stolen by white persons, and five by Indians, amounting in value to the sum total of $20,235, being an average of about $2,890 per year, for seven years, which ought to have been paid yearly.
These claims are introduced to the Indian department as follows:
“SAC and Fox AGENCY, KANSAS TERRITORY,
“January 28, 1861. "SIR; Enclosed I have the honor to send the evidence of the Sac and Fox Indians, in relation to their claims for depredations. Be. lieving the statements of these Indians correct, and hoping you will use your influence in their behalf, I remain "Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
" United States Indian Agent. "Hon. A. B. GREENWOOD,
“Commissioner of Indian Affairs, Washington, D. C.”
On examining the evidence here alluded to, the committee find that all the testimony was taken at Agent Fuller's office, at the Sac and Fox agency, mainly by bis clerk, J. M. Luce, but certified to by himself. He introduces Mr. Luce as follows:
"I hereby certify on honor, that Mr. J. M. Luce, who has taken the evidence of the Sac and Fox Indians, in relation to the loss of property by the depredations of white persons upon their reserva. tion, as per abstract ‘A’ and statements numbered from 1 to 109 in. clusive, and for losses, as per abstract 'B' and statements numbered from 1 to 28 inclusive, and also for losses by the depredations of other Indians, as per abstract 'C' and statements numbered from 1 to 5 inclusive, is a reliable and proper person to perform such service. Also, that I have been acquainted with the Sac and Fox Indians for six years ; that from my personal knowledge of these Indians I believe their statements reliable; that I have been acting as agent for the Indians of the Sac and Fox tribe since May 28, 1859, and can certify to the correctness of their statements in regard to losses since that time, and that they have actually lost the property named in said abstracts, which bear date since the 28th day of May, 1859 ; and that all lawful means have been used to recover the same and apprehend and bring offenders to justice ; that there is no record in this office showing that any Indians whose names appear upon the foregoing named abstracts have ever been indemnified, either in whole or in part, for these losses ; that the Indians whose names appear upon said abstracts, nor any of the nation to which they belong, have ever sought personal revenge, or attempted to obtain satisfaction by any force or violence.
" United States Indian Agent. "SAC and Fox AGENCY, January 3, 1861.”'
Testimony of John B. Scott. "John B. Scott, of Leroy, Coffee county, Kansas Territory, being duly sworn, says: I have been a trader with the Sac and Fox tribe of Indians for fourteen years. I speak their language, and can identify nearly every Indian whose name appears in the abstract of the evidence taken by J. M. Luce in regard to the horses, ponies, and mules stolen from different members of the tribe. I know they have had a large number of horses stolen, and from my personal knowledge of the Sac and Fox Indians I believe their statements to be true, and that the prices claimed for their property are reasonable.
"JOHN B. SCOTT. “Sworn and subscribed before me, at my office at the Sac and Fox agency, this 27th day of December, 1860.
"PERRY FULLER, " United States Indian Agent."
Mr. Scott is a republican, and a man of high standing and influence.
Testimony of H. S. Randal. "The general character of these Indians for truth and veracity is good. Since the settlement of Kansas Territory by the whites, the Indians have had a large number of horses, mules, and ponies stolen from them which they have been unable to recover. I have looked over the abstracts marked A, B, C, accompanying their evidenc
in relation to the loss of horses and ponies. I know, personally, nearly every Indian whose name appears therein, and can identify many horses and ponies that I knew, and I believe the price put to each was not above their actual value at the time they were stolen; and from my acquaintance with the Sac and Fox Indians I believe their statements to be true.
"HARKER S. RANDAL,
“Sworn and subscribed before me, at the Sac and Fox agency, the 6th day of December, 1860.
"PERRY FULLER, "United States Indian Agent."
Mr. Randal has been many years trading, under license, with the Sac and Fox Indians, and is a man of wealth, and is well qualified to testify as to the facts in this case.
Similar testimony, by deposition of Theodore J. Dawes, Mr. S. Sheppard, and E. S. Buckner, who were residents and traders with the Sac and Fox Indians for a number of years, with the additional statements and testimony of over one hundred of the principal Indians, establishes the claim satisfactorily to the committee. It is in evidence that all proper efforts were made to recover this property without resorting to violence, and proved unavailing.—(See evidence in abstract A, No. 100.)
The 16th section of the act of 1834, volume 4, United States Stat. utes at Large, page 724, provides as follows:
"That where, in the commission by a white person of any crime, offence, or misdemeanor, within the Indian country, the property of any friendly Indian is taken, injured, or destroyed, and a conviction is had for such crime, offence, or misdemeanor, the person so convicted shall be sentenced to pay to such friendly Indian to whom the property may belong, or whose person may be injured, a sum equal to twice the just value of the property so taken, injured, or destroyed. And if such offender shall be unable to pay a sum at least equal to the just value or amount, whatever such payment shall fall short of the same shall be paid out of the treasury of the United States: Provided, That no such Indian shall be entitled to any payment out of the treasury of the United States for any such property, if he or any of the nation to which he belongs shall have sought private revenge, or attempted to obtain satisfaction by any force or violence: And provided also, That if any offender cannot be apprehended and brought to trial, the amount of such property shall be paid out of the treasury as aforesaid."
The testimony and the reports of the government officers sustain these claims. The precedents, the law, and the treaties are in their favor. These Indians are peaceable subjects of the United States, and while they have been bound by treaty stipulations not to redress their own wrongs, nor resist aggressions by violence, they have been persistently plundered by border men, regardless of all justice or law.
These Indians raise no other stock but horses, consequently they are of the best class. They cultivate little or no land, and when deprived of their horses, which they use in the buffalo bunt, or sell to supply pressing wants, they suffer, and many have actually died from starvation
To alleviate their sufferings and meet present wants, the Commissioner of Indian Affairs and the Secretary of the Interior recommend that a sum sufficient to cover the amount be appropriated by Congress, and that a special agent be sent out with a part of it, and in conjunction with the resident agent retake the testimony and make such awards and payments as they may find just. None of these claims have been assigned to second parties. In harmony with these recommendations, the committee present the accompanying bill.
Ke-o-kuk (Sac chief) says, that on or about the 10th day of August, 1860, three houses belonging to him were stolen from the Sac and Fox reservation by white men. He says he used all lawful means within his power to apprehend the thieves and obtain his property. He says the three horses were worth seven hundred dollars, and that he has not been indemnified for his loss.
KE-O-KUK, his x mark. Attest: J. M. LUCE.
We know the above statement to be true.
SO-SQUAW-CO-PEE, his x mark.
OP-WY-O-SAH, his x mark.
I certify on honor that the above is a correct interpretation of the testimony of Ke-o-kuk, of So-squaw.co-pee and Op-wy-o-sah ; that I have fully explained the same to them, and they say it is true.
EDWARD MCCOONSE, his x mark,
United States Interpreter. Attest: J. M. LUCE. SAC AND Fox AGENCY, October 24, 1860.
Deposition of J. L. F. Leonard. J. L. F. Leonard, of Franklin county, and deputy United States marshal for Kansas Territory, being duly sworn, says, that on or about the 10th of August, 1860, three valuable horses belonging to Ke-o-kuk, a Sac chief, were stolen from the Sac and Fox reservation. At the request of Major Perry Fuller, United States Indian agent, I obtained a warrant (in blank) for the thieves. I employed Joseph Harr as bailiff, or assistant, and immediately started in pursuit of the