July 24, 2006

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Nevada History:


Letters From Nevada Indian Agents - 1859

[Compiled by the publisher of The Nevada Observer in 1980-1981 and transcribed from handwritten originals in the collection of Letters Received by the Commissioner of Indian Affairs, Utah Superintendency, National Archives microfilm; spelling as in original documents.  Funding for the project was provided by Grace Dangberg, of Minden, Nevada.]



                                                                                                            Office Indian Agent,

                                                                                                            Carson Valley, U.T.

                                                                                                            January 4th, 1859


            In accordance with your instructions to me, dated Humboldt Valley Oct 6th and 7th 1858, I beg to submit to you the following facts in relation to the Indians within this agency.

            As near as I can ascertain at present, the Py-Ute nation numbers some 6000 souls.  I have seen and given presents to 3735 which are located as follows.

Wun-a-muc-a (The Giver) is the head chief of the nation.  He generally stays on “Smoke Creek”, near Honey Lake.  His family and small band that stays with him number 155.

            “San Joaquin’s” band stays in Carson Valley at the forks of the River, and numbers 170.

            “Had-sa-poke” (Horse Stopper’s) band stays at Gold Canyon on Carson River, and numbers 110.

            “Wa-he” (Fox’s) band stays at what is known as the big bend of Carson River, and numbers 130.

            “O-derk-e-o” (Tall Man’s) band,

            “Pe-tod-se-ka” (White Spot’s) band,

            “To-sarke” (Grey head’s) band.

These three bands are the largest I have seen since my arrival in the Territory.  They stay in the country around the Lakes and Sinks of Carson and Walker’s Rivers.  I had a talk with them at Carson Lake on the 26th of November last, and gave them some presents.  They then numbered 848 men, 372 women, and 405 children.

            Total members in these three bands 1625  “To-no-yeit’ (Woman helper’s) band stays below the big meadows on the Truckee River, and numbers 280.  “To-Keepe” (Lean man’s) band, stays near the lower crossing of the Truckee River, and numbers 360.

            “Ge-nega” (Dancer’s) band stays at the mouth of Truckee River, and numbers 290.

            “Wat-So-gue-order” (Four Crow’s) band stays along the shores of Pyramid Lake, and numbers 320.

            “Wun-a-muc-a” (The Second’s) band stays around the shores of lower Mud Lake, and numbers 300.

Total Py-utes visited 3735.

            The Washo nation number about 900 souls, and inhabit the country along the base of the Sierra Nevada Mountains, from Honey Lake on the north, to the west fork of Walker’s River on the south.

            They are divided into three different bands.  “Capt Jim’s” band is located in the vicinity of Carson, Washo and Eagle Valleys, and Lake Bigler.

            This band numbers 145 men, 110 women, and 87  children. Total 342.

            I have had a talk with this band and given them some presents.  “Capt Jim” is the head chief of the nation.

            “Pos-Sarke’s band is located in Little Valley between the east and west forks of Carson River, and numbers about the same as Capt. Jims band, 340.

            “Deer-Dick’s” band lives in and claims Long Valley southeast from Honey Lake, and numbers about 300.

            Total Washos visited - - - 342.

               “     Py-Utes    “ - - - - 3735.


Total number of Indians visited within this agency


            Thus it will be seen that I have met and given presents to over four thousand Indians, and never before have I beheld as much wretchedness and destitution.

            The Py-utes are undoubtedly the most interesting and docile Indians on the continent.  By proper management these Indians may be made to compete with the whites in agricultural pursuits.

            They are extremely anxious to cultivate their lands, and will make excellent men to work.  some of them now take hold of a scythe and mow Drive oxen or a four horse team. equal to a white man.

            They have never received any presents from the government, or from a  government official until now, except a few things given them by Dr. Hurt, some two or three years ago.

            I am sorry that I cannot speak in as favorable terms of the “Wa-sho Nation.”  They are not inclined to agricultural pursuits, nor any other advancement towards civilization.  They have no clothing except for the merest apology for a breech-cloth.

            Whatever policy may finally be adopted, in relation to these unfortunate people, I can assure you that none can be worse or productive of more evil to both them and the whites than the present joint and promiscuous occupation of the country.  And like other tribes when brought into contact with the humane and christianizing influence of the white man they have acquired a taste for whiskey.

            The Py-Utes should be allowed to retain some of their present locations, especially the Valley of the Truckee River, which would have the advantages of being their home from choice, combined with being the best and only suitable site for a large reservation and permenant agency in this part of the Territory.

            Since my arrival here, I have traversed a large portion of the country for this purpose.  I have followed the meanderings of several of the principal rivers for hundreds of miles, but I have seen none that can compete with and offer the same advantages, as what is known here by the name of the “Truckee Meadows.”  It contains some 15000 acres of good land, well adapted for agricultural or herding purposes.

            In its vicinity is an abundance of the lofty pine.  The majestic “Coo-you-e-hoop” or Truckee River could be carried out for irrigation purposes.  And in its season it affords one of the finest and largest fisheries in the Territory, both of the Speckled and Salmon trout.  This in my opinion is the best and last chance for a good home for the poor Py-Ute and Wa-sho.

            The other valleys are in a great measure occupied.  There is one settler whose improvements consists of a tolerable good frame house only on these meadows, but he has located himself in the centre--a situation that I should not select for a building spot for an Agency.  Therefore should you order me to lay off this section of country for a reservation--the property right and title of the land in this Territory being in the government--you can purchase this mans house, or order him off as you see fit.

            If you conclude to make a home for these Indians, it will require immediate actin so far as making the selections is concerned and defining the boundaries.  For I am informed thus--as soon as the snow disappears there will be quite an emigration to these valleys.  You will see by reference to a map that this place is also central for an agency.  The Truckee River takes its rise from lake Bigler and empties into Pyramid Lake.  Should this site not meet your approbation, there are several others of minor importance, and such as you saw on the Humboldt, destitute of timber.

            I would here recommend that a large extent of country be taken up, and ll in one body, and to concentrate the whole Py-utes and Wa-sho nations upon it, making one expense do for both, and the fact of the Py-Ute nations being large requires the same.

            This policy also agreed with your opinion in the 4th Sec of your instructions, and I believe the policy of the government has been to withdraw the Indians from such parts of the country as would necessarily expose them to to [sic] contact with the white settlers, as the only means of averting frequent difficulty.  Indians and whites cannot as a general rule live together.  It is not in the nature of things, and it is far from being solely the fault of the Indians.

            The pioneer invades the hunting ground of the Indians.  He goes to reduce natures wilds to the dominion of the white man--to possess the country, and to rear in it the institutions of civilization.  His mission drives before him and from the graves of his ancestors, the once mighty, but now wretched.  Him whose name we are all pride to own, (the true American) and naturally and inevitably exasperates him to acts of crime and barbarity.

            It is a well known fact that the loss of life on the Humboldt River for years past, both to the whites and the Indians, has been most lamentable.  The Humboldt Indians see by the experience of other tribes, that roads are the harbingers of civilization, and the certain sign of their own subjugation, and final extermination.  All they ask is something to eat, and here lies the true secret of most of the Indian depredations upon this great line of travel.

            The encroachments of the Emigrant have driven away the game upon which they depend for a subsistence.  They cannot hunt upon the territories of neighboring tribes, except at risk of their lives.  They must therefore steal or starve.  Every few miles too on this great thoroughfare, both on the Humboldt and Carson Rivers, can be found a whiskey shop, the proprietors of which have the presumption to call trading posts.

            Some of these inhumane vendors of poisonous Liquor to the poor ignorant Indian, will take the last Badger or Rabbit skins from him; a few of which, joined together as a woman would patch a “quilt”, being his only dependence for a covering to protect him from the bitter cold and deep snows of this inclement wilderness.

            The poverty I saw last fall among the Sho-Sho-Nee’s nation, is not a circumstance compared with this winter and the suffering and destitute condition of the poor Py-Utes and Wa-sho.  The snow in the valley here at this time averages six inches deep.  The only shelter these poor homeless wanderers have, is to lay about in the Artemisia or Sage bushes, and their sole dependence for subsistence this winter, is a little grass seed.  The Rivers are frozen over which prevents them from fishing ad the “Pine Nuts” another of their main dependences for food have failed.

            There is scarcely an hour that passes in a day, but what brings some sad picture of wretchedness to my door, beging for a sufficiency to sustain life.  A few days ago a Wa-Sho died from actual starvation and exposure in the vicinity of Lake Bigler, which is situated in the Sierra Nevada Mountains, and another was found dead at the base of those mountains yesterday from the same cause.

Many a weary day went by,

While wretched and worn he beged for bread,

Tired of life, and loving to lie

Peacefully down with the silent dead,

Hunger and cold, and scorn and pain,

Had wasted his form and seared his brain;

At last on a bed of frozen ground,

In the Sierra Nevada was the outcast found.


No mourner lingered with tears or sighs,

But the stars looked down with pitying eyes,

And the chill wind passed with a wailing sound,

O’er the foot of the mountain where the form was found;

But out where every human door

Is closed to children accursed and poor,

Who opens the heavenly portals wide,

Ah! God was near when the outcast died.

            Something will be done to better the constitution of the poor “Py-Ute” and “Wa-sho.”  His present state is intolerable, and feeble is the helping hand that I am enable to extend for his relief.  But in the sweet name of charity I beg in his behalf, that a home be made for him, some asylum for the starving outcast, where he can be free from the curse upon him now, among the whites.  Truly said, the moral atmosphere about him, is deadlier than death.

                                                                                                            Very Respectfully

                                                                                                            Your Obt Servt

                                                                                                                        F. Dodge.

                                                                                                                        Indian Agent

Jacob Forney Esqr.

Superintendent Indian Affs.

Utah Territory




                                                                                                Genoa Carson Valley U.T.

                                                                                                            January 27th 1859

Major Fred K. Dodge

            Indian Agent


                                    Enclosed you will find two statements of certain matters that occured on the Humboldt River last Fall.  One made by John Rondeaux, a Canadian, the other by Oliver Cromwell, an American citizen.  Both these persons are now in this Valley and are esteemed reliable, and truthful men.

            These statements involve matters of very serious interest to Emigrant parties entering Californian by this route, and also to your self as Indian Agent, and it is the wish of both Rondeaux and Cromwell that the subject should be brought to your attention.

            They desire me to say that they are willing to make oath to the truth of their statements so however you may desire. 

                                                                                    Very Respectfully your Obt. Servt

                                                                                                            Chas. B. Lafitte




                                                Statement of John Rondeaux

In company with Peter Sandusky--one of our party--I got to the sink of the Humboldt about two o’clock on the ninth day of November 1858.  We had pushed on leaving our wagon about one hour behind.  When I got across the sink to Tyler’s, I met Alexander Chevain--the man who killed Fred Dickson that same evening.  He (Chevain) said to me--you are a Frenchman are you not--to which I replied, “Yes, I am.”

            Chevain then said “You and the other french boys keep out of the way for there is going to be a little quarrel here and the Emigrant party coming in will have to pay for it.  When the Emigrants began to come in Tyler and his partner, Bennett sent for Buffalo Jim, and the Indians and after giving them all the Liquor they wanted, Supplied them with arms (guns, rifles and revolvers) and caps & powder.  One of the Indians showed me what they had received, and I counted my self among other things, three dozen of balls.  The chief told me that if things did not  go on right, so soon as he received a signal from either Tyler or Bennett (which signal was to be in the raising of a hand above the head) that they would kill the first American or White Emigrant that came round or attempted to interfere with them in any way.  When Tyler and Bennett discharged the Indians they gave them three sacks of flour in part pay for their services.


                                                                                                            John  (X)  Rondeaux



            Charles B Lafitte

Territory of Utah

                        The affidavit of John Rondeaux who has signed his name to the foregoing statement and who is personally known to me made oath before me that the matters contained in the foregoing statement are true to the best of his knowledge information and belief.

            Subscribed and sworn to before me

            this 28th day of January AD 1859

                                                                                                            F. Dodge

                                                                                                            U.S. Indian Agent




                                                            Statement of Oliver Cromwell

I am in the employ of the Over Land Mail Co. and was sent out last fall on or about the 25th of November with Ox teams loaded with provisions for the supply of the Stations on the Humboldt.  Upon my arrival about the Sho-Sho-nee line I was asked by frequently by the Indians if that was Col. Forney, to which I replied--being under the impression that they asked if I was from Californy (California)--yes.

            I then found out that Col. Forney had promised them Cattle, Flour, &c. and they thought my teams were those that he said he would send them, and that they were determined to have them.  They followed me for several days and were becoming very unruly when through the interference of Jim Stevenson who understands and speaks their language, they were made to comprehend the state of the case and that I meant that I came from California, and not from Col Forney.  If I had not fortunately met with Stevenson or some one able to make this explanation, I do not know what the consequences would have been, for they were very angry when they found out that Col Forney had not sent them any thing.  They had commenced before I fell in with Stevenson to pick out the cattle they would slaughter first.  I think it is exceedingly wrong to make these promises to the Indians on the Humboldt, and then not keep them.  For it endangered the Emigrant parties coming over and the people along the whole line.  I make this statement from my own personal observation and am quite satisfied that there will be more trouble among them if something be not done for them after promises to that effect have been made.

                                                                                                            Oliver Cromwell

            Attest--John F. Long




                                                                                                            Office Indian Agent,

                                                                                                                        Carson Valley,

                                                                                                                        Feb 7th, 1859


            I enclose a copy of a letter and two Statements received from Charles B. Lafitte Esq. a resident of this Valley.

            It confirms a sad state of affairs on the Humboldt River.

            It shows the absolute necessity of the strong arm of the government, to “awe” the “brigands” of that River.

            I am powerless--without money, and without law.

            There is not a speck of law, from Camp Floyd west to the California line, a distance of nearly seven hundred miles, and from Oregon South to New Mexico, there is not even a justice of the Peace, where too, the most stringent statutes are required to “Curb” the lawless mongrel specimens of humanity, that infest--during the season of emigration--that portion of the Great Central Over Land Mail and Emigrant route, on the Humboldt River.

            The monsters go there for no other purpose than to enrich themselves by plunder.

            They are principals in murder, and recipients of robberies, the sad spectacles of which, have been chronicled from year to year, in the newspapers, but the true history and enormity of crime, is now beyond an earthly restitution, and must therefore ever remain with the perpetrators and their God.

            According to one of the enclosed statements, serious consequences are apprehended from the Sho-Sho-Nees, of which yourself--by Cromwell’s statement--appears to be the cause.

            A crisis may perhaps be at hand.  Spring waits for no man.  The opening of which Emigration commences; and I beg you Sir most attentively, to weigh the statements of John Rondeaux and Oliver Cromwell, and bear in mind, that the present state of affairs on this route, may jeopardize the safety of the mail; also, the lives of the emigrant.  His wife and children may be in danger.

                                                                                                            Very Respectfully

                                                                                                            Your Obt. Servt,

                                                                                                                        F. Dodge

                                                                                                            Indian Agent.

Jacob Forney, Esq.

Supt Ind Affs,

Gt. Salt Lake City

Utah Territory



                                                                                                            Utah Superintendency

                                                                                    Great Salt Lake City Feby 15 1859

Hon James W Denver

      Commissionr Ind Affr


                        I respectfully transmit to you and Extract from the message of His Excellency Gov Cumming to the Utah Legislature in which he alludes to farming for Indians in this Territory.  Also a copy of a communication from Ex Agent Hurt, on the same subject.

            The Governors intelligence and extensive experience in Indian affairs and also his knowledge of the mode in which farming has been heretofore conducted among the Indians here, commends his sayings to the serious considerations of those concerned.  I am familiar with the mode heretofore pursued and freely admit that the success has not been commensurate to the expenditures.  In my opinion the failure is attributable to want of power to confine the Indians by treaty Stipulations on the Farms or Reservations.  Secondly, improper management in conducting the Farms, there has been too much white labor employd.  I am confident that the Indians can be made to work and that the System of farming among them can be greatly improved.  I have made myself familiar with the condition of the Indians in this Territory by constant travelling and personal intercourse and am prepared to say, unhesitatingly, that the Indians cannot live without aid from some source; they have become impoverished by the introduction of a white population.  The valley occupied and cultivated at present, were formerly their chief dependence for game.  Most of the valleys susceptible of successful cultivation are already occupied by industrious farmers; and the game, roots &c, the Indians only salvation, has given place to a thriving population.  The Indians, it seems, have heretofore received considerable aid from the settlers, but now the hand of charity of private individuals is witheld since the new order of things, and the Indians are sent to the Government for aid.  I have given them as much substantial assistance in flour, meat and clothing, as circumstances would admit.  The Indians, to keep from starving are reduced to all sorts of shifts; they must either starve or steal, unless Government feeds and clothes them.  I speak from personal knowledge of all but those in the extreme southern portion of this Territory; and they are represented to me as very destitute.  As yet, I have received no instructions from the Dept. relative to locating the Indians. The members of the last Legislative Assembly of this Territory memorialized Congress to make provisions for the permanent location of the Indians; and recommend a certain locality as very suitable; and say that buffalo, elk and other game exists there in abundance.  This is a delusion; there has not been Buffalo in this Territory for many years and at this time there are very few Elk or any other kind of game.

            If it is the design of the Government to locate the Indians in this Territory, on farms or Reservations, it should be done with as little delay as possible; in as much as the valleys are fast filling up.  Even now it will be difficult to make eligable reservations within the boundaries of several Tribes.

            The following Indian Farms are already in operation with the approbation of the Depart I believe.

            1st Spanish Fork Farm.  This Reservation is in Utah Valley, 62 miles south of this City, and contains near thirteen thousand acres bounded several miles on Utah Lake, and several by Spanish Fork Creek; three hundred acres has been cultivated; upon it, there is a good House, and a few other improvements.  This farm was commenced by Ex Agent Hurt bout four years ago, with the approbation of Ex Superintendent B. Young, and intended for the Utah Tribe.  Entirely too much money has been expended in the commencement and progress of this Farm.  It is now managed by an experienced farmer.

            2d  Salt Creek Farm,  in San Pete County, one hundred and fifty miles South West from this City, and forty miles south of the Southern California Road.  This was also commenced by Ex Agent Hurt, about four years ago.  It is likewise within the boundary of country claimed by the Utah Tribe and exclusively intended for a small band of that Tribe.  On it, are two small houses and some other improvements, there are about 2 hundred acres under cultivation.  These two farms and the Indians they are intended for, have been a source of exceeding great annoyance and perplexity to me.  I did not interfere with the mode in which they were conducted, until it was quite evident that very little good could result from them, either to the Indians or Government.  The policy adopted for the future management of these farms, it is believed, will be beneficial to the Indians and much less expensive to the  Government.  I have a plain understanding with the Indians, that they must absolutely do all the work in future.  Heretofore, no pains have been taken to make the Indians labor.  They were permitted to roam about the Country, stealing, begging &c and only camped around the farms when the crops were ripening, to carry it away and destroy it.  It is to be regretted that so little effort has been made towards civilizing any of the Utah Tribe, even the incipient steps have not been taken. Not an Indian Cabin or lodge is on or adjacent to the Spanish Fork Farm, which is certainly a strange spectacle for an Indian Reservation, four years underway, with so large an expenditure.

            3rd  Corn Creek Farm, fifteen miles south of Fillmore City, in Millard County.  It was, I believe, commenced about the same time as the two already mentioned.  This farm is eligibly locate on land claimed by the Pah-Vante Tribe, numbering between two and three hundred.  I took entire control of this farm, soon after my arrival in this city and instituted a policy for  its management, in my opinion, more advantageous  towards improving the condition of the Indians and much more economical.  My anticipaitons have been more than realized though this Tribe underwent the same confusion as other Tribes and Bands, by the political entanglements so long in existance.  Indeed this Tribe were more seriously poisoned than any I have yet met.  Since this farm has been under my immediate supervision (July last) I have hired but one white man and only for one month during harvest.  The Indians harvested Eighty acres of wheat, and sowd sixty or seventy acres in wheat last fall, and the whole Tribe are living on the Farm.  The most of the families are living this winter in comfortable “Wick y ups,” several in Cabins, all constructed by themselves, aided by the farming Agent, through my special directions given last fall.  No white labor will be needed on this farm in future.  I have two young Indians of this Tribe in Fillmore City, learning the Blacksmith and Carpenter trades.

            There is scarcely a doubt in my mind, but that every Reservation in this Territory, with proper management, can be made self sustaining.

            The other Tribes and Bands which I have seen, not including those in Carson Valley, and in the southern portion of the Territory, could be concentrated on four Reservations at or near the following places:

            1st  Snake Tribe, under complete control of Chief Wash a Kee.  This Tribe numbers about 1200, and claim Green River Country, and usually live there; but yearly, visit Nebraska to hunt Buffalo.  A Bannock tribe, numbering about 500, claim a home in this Territory; they have always been closely identified with Wash a kee’s Tribe, and with his permission, go and live where his Tribe go and live.  All these could be concentrated in Henry’s Fork Valley, and a few very small valleys adjacent, about 40 miles south of Fort Bridger.  The valley is about forty miles long, east and west, and four to eight wide, with an altitude to raise all kinds of grain.  This is really all that Chief Wash a kee asks, in the boundary of the country claimed by his people.

            2nd  Sho Sho nees (also Snakes)  These are at present divided into several Bands, but they all recognise “Little Soldier” as principal chief.  These are scattered over and claim the country from this city, north to the Oregon Line and west to the Goose Creek Mountains; including Ogden, Cash, Malad, Weber and Bear River Vallies, and Salt Lake Valley.  These number about (1500) fifteen hundred, and could all be concentrated on one Reservation.  A large portion of the land claimed by these Indians and susceptible of cultivation, is already occupied by and industrious population.

            A Reservation might be made for these Indians in Cache Valley.  There is no other point claimed by this Tribe in an altitude to raise grain, without buying improvements or resorting to Artesian Wells for irrigation.

            3rd  Sho Sho nee Bands in and adjacent to the Humboldt Valley.  There are four Bands of these and number about six to eight hundred.  There are no settlements in the Country over which these bands roam.  The northern California Road passes through their country.  Different grains have been raised at several points in the Humboldt and several small valleys claimed by these Indians.  For several reasons I would deem it inexpedient to make a Reservation in the Humboldt Valley for these Indians; its adjacency to the Oregon Bannocks and the destitution of timber throughout the entire valley.  Ruby Valley, probably about thirty to fifty miles south of Humboldt and two hundred and fifty to three hundred miles west of this City, has plenty of water and timber.  It is about ninety miles long, east and west, and six to ten miles wide.  There are as yet no settlements there, but several settlers will go there this spring.  All the Humboldt Sho Sho nee’s could be concentrated on a Reservation in Ruby Valley without difficulty.

            4th  Go sha Utes.  These Indians lost their chief several years ago, and have not chosen one since.  They are now divided into small Bands.  One of these, numbering 55, live  at Grantsville, Tooele County; forty miles west of this City.  The remainder, numbering probably about two hundred, are scattered over the country for a scope of one hundred miles extending to the Desert.  These roving bands are much dreaded by the Whites in Tooele and Rush Valleys.  These valleys were their former homes and their chief dependence for game, before the white settlers drove them out and destroyed their game.  These Indians (excepting those at Grantsville) live principally by stealing.  Persons, who seem most familiar with their country, inform me that they have no game, and are really very destitute.  Necessity compells them to steal to obtain food, and every now and then they kill a white man.  They are consequently much dreaded by the near settlers.  They have heretofore baffled the skill of the Territorial Volunteers.  I made considerable effort Last summer and fall to see and have a talk with these seeming Outlaws, but did not succeed.  Major Chorpening and party met these Indians last December when exploring for a new mail road to California.  Some of their principal men came to visit me at the request of major Chorpening.  I was unfortunately from home.  Governor Cumming saw and had a talk with them however.  All the Go Sha Utes might be located on a Reservation in Deep Creek or Scull Valley.  In my opinion most of the Tribes and Bands would be well contented if placed on eligible Reservations and those judiciously conducted.

            I have been frequently importuned by the most intelligent chiefs to be placed in a condition to raise their own eatables.

            The citizens of this Territory have for years conveyed to the minds of the Indians the impression that it was the intention sooner or later to provide them with suitable Reservations and farming appliances.  The nonfulfilment of these promises is one of the causes of Indian depredations.

            Each of the proposed Reservations alluded to in this communication could be put in successful operation with an expenditure of fifteen hundred dollars, for cattle and farming appliances.

            Will you do me the kindness to furnish me with your views on the subject of Indians Reservations at your earliest convenience.

                                                                                                I remain Very Respectfully,

                                                                                                            Your Obt Servant,

                                                                                                                        J. Forney

                                                                                                            Supt. Ind. Affrs.



                                                                                                            Office Indian Agent

                                                                                                            Carson Valley U.T.

                                                                                                            Feb 18th 1859


            The non arrival of answers to my letters to Supt Forney, and the present exigency of affairs pertaining to this agency compels me to deviate once from your instructions.

            By addressing the Department directly via California, instead of through Supt. Forney via Salt Lake.

            I have addressed the latter on several occasions without avail, (hence this letter to you) for the funds mentioned in his instructions to me dated Oct. 6th & 7th, 1858.  A copy of which is herewith enclosed.

            The same has been carried out, as the also enclosed copy of my report to him dated Jany 4th 1859 will show, under too, the most embarrassing and humiliating circumstances.  I had to purchase everything from strangers on a credit last November, and up to this date he had not enabled me to pay them.

            I therefore respectfully beg the Hon. Commissioner to advise Supt. Forney, to forward funds, and enable me to obtain my vouchers, I can then make out my returns for the qr. ending 31st Decr. 1858, which according to the requirements of your Department should have been done long ago.

            I cannot reconcile my mind to the fact that the Department is aware of the sad condition of Indian affairs in the western part of this Territory.  The enclosed copies of Mr. Laffittes letter and accompanying statements to me, will however, afford a fair speciman, also my letter of the 7th inst. enclosing the same to Supt. Forney will supply you with a few facts.

            I also enclose a copy of a letter written by Supt. Forney Dated Salt Lake City Aug. 2nd 1858 empowering a man by the name of Chapman (a stage driver) with the authority of an Indian Agent, to the great detriment of the public good, in issuing powder and Lead to hostile Indians in the very locality too, where the mail was robbed of its animals on the 20th of the same month, and immediately after the issueing of the powder and Lead.

            This man was also authorized to talk to the Indians and “all he told them was right.”

            In this I beg to differ, inasmuch as he (unfortunately for the good of the service) told them all along this great line of travel--six weeks preceeding my arrival here, that their Agent was coming with large loads of goods for them.

            When to the contrary, on my arrival in the Territory, I was sent to establish myself somewhere in this vicinity without goods and without a dollar.  This is one of the most important “Agencies” on the continent, and requires the Agent to be Active and Vigilant, with the very eyes of an “Argus” to watch this mail and Emigrant route, it being the great harbinger of  “Fiends” whose sole purpose is to enrich themselves by plunder, and charge the same to the Indians.

            Procrastination and broken promises will certainly not do for the Indians on the Humboldt River.

            In fact, ten years experience on the frontiers has taught me that it is the most disastrous course that can be pursued towards Indians of any locality.

            I do not apprehend any serious difficulties from the “Sho-sho-nees,” until emigration commences, and not even then, if judicious and timely action be taken, to that end.  I shall take time by the forelock, and leave for the Head of the Humboldt immediately and if necessary to Salt Lake, and make such arrangements as circumstances will permit, for the fulfillment of those misleading and dangerous promises.

                                                                                                I am Sir, with great respect,

                                                                                                            Your Obt. Servt.

                                                                                                                        F. Dodge

                                                                                                                        Indian Agent

Hon. Commissioner

     Of Indian Affairs

            Washington City,





                                                                                    Superintendents Office, Utah.

                                                                                    Great Salt Lake City March 5. 1859

R.B. Jarvis Esqr


                        The public interest requires that measures be taken to restrain the movements and doings of the Gosha Ute and Humboldt Sho Sho Nee Indians.  I respectfully request you to visit the above named Indians without delay at the points and for the purposed I shall presently state.  You will remain in the country claimed by those Indians and control them until further advised.

            The Gosha Ute Indians number about 250.  A Band numbering 45 to55 have been for several years located at Grantsville and are harmless and peaceable.  The balance, about 200 are at present in Deep Creek Valley (called “Iven Pah” by the Indians)  These have not had a principal Chief for several years and are divided into several small Bands.  They formerly before being driven out by the whites, occupied Toolele, Rush and Scull Vallies, where was their chief dependence for game.

            They are now confined to the country of about 60 miles in extent between Scull Valley and a Desert East of Ruby Valley in which is Dry Creek Valley 150 miles from this City, the only point in an altitude susceptible of agriculture.

            Humboldt Sho Sho Nees--These are a fraction of the Snake Nation, but are isolated and not subject to the control of any principal chief.  I saw most of these Indians last fall in the Humboldt Valley.  They are divided into four bands and number 8 to 1200, each band having several chiefs.

            The country claimed by them is from the Goose Creek mountains, East, including Goose Creek Valley, to 50 miles west of Stoney Point in the Humboldt Valley.  And form the Oregon Line, North, to some distance south of Ruby Valley.

            The greater portion of these Indians are at present in Ruby valley.  The Road on which is carried the over-land Mail from the Missouri River to California passes adjacent to Deep Creek Valley and through Ruby Valley, and this new Road must undoubtedly attract the over land travel.  I am so familiar with the conduct and character of these Indians and know enough of the country claimed by them that their destitution is not a subject of surprise to me.

            From recent information about the above named Indians I have concluded, after mature deliberation, to commence a Farm and make a Reservation for each of the above named Bands of Indians; in Deep Creek Valley for the Gosha Utes and in Ruby Valley for the Humboldt Sho Sho Nees.  It is the intention to concentrate all these Indians upon these contemplated Farms.

            The public interest generally, demands that you should proceed to the points above designated, with as little delay as circumstances will admit.

            You will proceed, without delay, to Deep Creek Valley (about 150 miles west of this city) called by the Indians Iven pah where you will meet about 200 Gosha Utes, to whom you will explain the nature and intention of your visit.

            Examine carefully Deep Creek Valley.  Mr. Sevier (of whom I will speak in another paper) is familiar with this valley and surrounding country.  He will be with you, and can no doubt render much assistance.  After having examined the valley and streams, Select a suitable point, with reference to water and timber, for a farm and Reservation for the Gosha Ute Indians.  This valley is small and only about 250 Indians; it is consequently not necessary to include a very large tract for farming purposes.  The erection of a few Cabins immediately for the Chiefs &c might prove a salutary step.  After making the necessary explorations and selecting a suitable spot for the farm, no time should be lost in commencing to break up the ground.

            After spending a few days in Deep Creek Valley for the above purpose, you will proceed without delay to Ruby Valley, about  100 miles west of Deep Creek Valley.  There you will find from 5 to 700 Indians, known as Humboldt Sho Sho Nees.

            Mr. Egan is familiar with this valley and may render much assistance in selecting and eligible location for a Farm and Reservation.  These Sho Sho Nees number from 8 to 1200 and will therefore require more tillable land than the Gosha Utes.  So soon as you have succeeded in selecting a suitable locality for a farm, no time should be lost in commencing active operations.

            You will explain to the Indians you are to visit the purpose of your visit.  Explain also the peaceable relations now existing between the Inhabitants of this Territory and the United States Government, that they (the Indians) must not molest the person or property of whites, whether passing through or settling in country claimed by them.  Explain plainly to them the intention of these farms.  I am especially anxious that these and all other Indians who have farms opened for them must work.  Impress this firmly upon their minds.  I will pay for no white labor on these farms after they are underway.  The idea of hiring white men, as heretofore, to raise grain for the Indians and they lying about is to me abominable and will not be tolerated any longer.  A few white men may be necessary on each farm for one or two months.

            The strictest economy must be observed.

            I will in a day or two give you further instructions.  I have to request that you will frequently keep me advised of your movements.

                                                                                                            Very Respectfully

                                                                                                Your obedient Servant,

                                                                                                                        J. Forney

                                                                                                            Supt Indn Affr




                                                                                    Superintendents Office, Utah.

                                                                                    Great Salt Lake City March 9 1859.

Hon James W. Denver


                        Inclosed are two letters from Mr. Howard Egan.  Letter A I received several weeks since; Letter B was handed to me by Agent Jarvis several days ago.  These, as also letter C and D I submit for your consideration.

            I have seriously deliberated upon this subject and after full consultation with His Excellency Governor Cumming, I have determined, with his entire acquiesence, to commence without delay, a farm for the Indians in Question.  The Indians claiming Deep Creek and Ruby Valley and the surrounding Country are the Gosha Utes, to who I have made mention in several letters to the Depart and the Humboldt Sho Sho Nees of whom I gave an account last fall, after my return from the Humboldt.

            In my communication of the 15 Ult relative to Reservation and the concentration of Indians, I again alluded to the character and situation of the above named Bands.  I have not been unmindful of their condition; their destitution has been know to me for months as also the fact, that the country over which they roam and claim, cannot by any possibility of shifting keep them from starving.  I have relieved as many of  them with flour and meat as I could get at and to a limited extent have relieved their nakedness.

            I purpose commencing a farm for the Gosha Utes in Deep Creek Valley 150 miles west of this City, and adjacent to the new Mail Route (of which I will speak hereafter) which is the only valley unoccupied by white, susceptible of agriculture, in the country claimed by them.

            The valley is small, being only 15 by 4 to 8 miles in extent, and in it, a White Settlement is in progress of being made.  These Gosha Utes to the number of about 200 (except the Band at Grants Ville) are now wintering in that Valley.

            Ruby Valley as already indicated in another communication, is the most eligible location for the Humboldt Shoshonees.  This valley or the point where we intend commencing a farm is 250 miles from this City.  There are now 6 to 800 of these Indians in Ruby Valley, and they call all without difficulty be collected there.  This valley has an abundance of grass, water and timber & there are as yet no White Settlements in it, but several are in progress of commencement this Spring.

            The Indians for whose benefit these Farms are intended, are unquestionably very destitute, none can be more so anywhere.  Necessity has compelled them to Steal, but only such things however as satisfy hunger; principally horses and mules; which they prefer to any other kind of meat.  They prefer a poor mule to a fat ox.

            I sincerely hope that my policy to ameliorate the condition of these Indians (and without doubt afford protection to the U.S. Mail Employees and Stock) will meet the approbation of the Department.  It is almost certain, this policy will be speedily followed with the occupation of a large extent of country by active and industrious farmers which has been heretofore a dread to white men.

            The strictest economy will be observed in the commencement and progress of these farms.  It is my full determination to have no white labor on these farms excepting two men on each farm for several months.  No expensive buildings will be put up.  In short the Indians must work or be treated like other persons that refuse to labor providing I am sustained in such a policy.  I may feel over sanguine, but I feel confident that Indians can be got to work.

            The Cattle and farming implements necessary to put these Farms under full operation will not exceed ($3500) thirty five hundred dollars.

            The California Mail from this City, ceased, about the 1st December to be carried on the Goose Creek and Humboldt Road and has since ad will undoubtedly continue to be carried on a New Road directly West from this City, south of the Old Road, which it unites near the Sink of the Humboldt.  This new and much improved route is the result of extensive explorations by Mr. Howard Egan and Major Chorpenning.  It shortens the distance at least 250 miles between this city and Carson Valley, and they are confident it can be still more improved.

            It is quite obvious that this new road much attract the principal travel, posessing Special advantage over the old road.  As in addition to Water and Grass there is along the new route plenty of timber with no interruption at any time by Snows, also avoiding several large and troublesome Streams and high hills.

                                                                                                                        I Remain

                                                                                    Respectfully, Your obt Servant,

                                                                                                                        J. Forney

To Hon James W Denver

Commsr Indn Affr

            Washington D.C.




                                                                                                            Great Salt Lake City

                                                                                                            February 19, 1859

J. Forney, Superintendent,


                        During my stay in your City, I thought I would address you a few lines, relative to my intercourse with the Indians, on the Mail Route west of this City.

            Years of experience has led me to believe, that the depredations committed by the Indians at Deep Creek, and at Ruby Valley, arise simply from the fact, that no provision of any kind, is made to meet the ever recurring want of the Indian, viz food and raiment.  Now Sir, a life of predatory warfare on persons and property is the result; and no remidy has as yet been proposed.  Yet Sir, I conceive the only effectual and reliable way to eradicate the evil, is a farm, under proper supervision, and such careful and prudent oversight, as you may deem fit and just.

            I have heard it hinted that Soldiers are destined for the scene of evils.  But Sir, I am sanguine, that the establishment of Soldiers would not remove the evils which I have encountered, outside of the Fort or Post so established.  In the immediate vicinity, protection would be afforded, but beyond that, the same evils would still exist.  I repeat therefore, a farm--a concentration of Indians to some one or more points is the only effectual cure for the evils of which I complain, and which will ever recur so long as the Indians remain Scattered far and wide.  I deem this worthy of your most serious consideration, and ask, as the Mail Party are serious sufferers, and as economy in all the U S Departts is the great desideratum, can it not be effected by the mode proposed.

            Humanity dictates that this course would be preferable, to say nothing of expense.  Shall I then hope to see the evil removed, the Indians concentrated, and the mails protected and the U. S. pocket saved.

                                                                        Sir; I am, in behalf of the Mail Contractor

                                                                                                            Your obedient Servant

                                                                                                                        Howard Egan

                                                                                                Route Agent west of GSL City





                                                                                                            Great Salt Lake City

                                                                                                                        March 7. 1859

R.B. Jarvis Esqr

            Dear Sir

                        On the 19th February 1859 I addressed Dr Forney a note on the condition of the Indians on the Western Mail Route, and he has informed me that he has appointed yourself, agreably to such suggestions named in the note, to locate said Indians &c.

            Since my note so addressed I have received by last mail an account of the Slaying of 8 Cattle and 2 mules by them from pure necessity and to avoid death by Starvation.  And from present indications I see no chance to preserve our mules from a similar fate; unless some immediate steps are taken we shall be seriously crippled in our operations if we are again to loose as before 8 Cattle and 2 mules.

            Now Sir, the urgency of the case must be apparent that an early and energetic effort must be made immediately.

            You will please address me a note, addressed Salt Lake and California Mail Company Office this City at your very earliest convinience and thereby oblige

                                                                                                            Very Respectfully

                                                                                                (signed)            Howard Egan

                                                                                    [California Mail Route] Agent,






                                                                                                Superintendents Office, Utah

                                                                                    Great Salt Lake City, March 9 1859


            Your letter of the 19th Ult. and also your letter to R.B. Jarvis Esqr. Indian agent, of the 7th Inst have been received.

            I have carefully considered your several letters in relation to the Indians in Deep Creek and Ruby Vallies and realize that the public interest imperiously demands that something tangible should be done ad that without delay to ameliorate the destitute conditon of those Indians and protect the men and stock of the mail company.

            After mature deliberation I have concluded to commence a farm in each of the above named Vallies, for the Indians who are at present and who usually roam in that country.

            In view of this, I have given Agent Jarvis instructions, directing him to proceed to Deep Creek and Ruby Vallies, with as little delay as circumstances will permit, with the necessary appliances to carry out my instructions.

            I have endeavored without regard to personal inconvenience or contingencies of any kind to obtain correct information by personal observation of the character conditon and locality of the Indians, and have sought as far as in my power to relieve them.  I will be please to hear from you at any time about the Indians in question or any other Indians you may meet in your travels.

                                                                                                I remain very Respectfully

                                                                                                            Your Obt Servant

                                                                                                (signed)            J. Forney

                                                                                                            Supt Indn Affrs

Howard Egan Esqr

            Route Agent

                        for Major Chorpenning,




                                                                                                Superintendents Office Utah

                                                                                    Great Salt Lake City March 11, 1859

Hon James W. Denver


                        There seems to be a determination, by certain individuals, to misrepresent and falsify my Official acts.  Whether the motives are to benefit the public or subserve political aspirations is not for me to say.  I certainly would not give this matter the consideration I have, but for the enclosed “Slip” cut from a California paper by Kirk Anderson Esqr.

            I respectfully forward to you the enclosed papers with some explanations.

1st    Letter A, from Agent Dodge with the statements of Oliver Cromwell and John Rondeau, and letter of LaFitte, and the “slip” cut from the California paper.

            What Mr. Dodge can mean when he says “I am powerless without money and without law” seems strange to me.  I sent him $ 1000 the last of December, & paid an order for $ 150 more, and told him when he needed more to let me know.  And as to law, the Governor long ago took steps necessary to remedy that evil.

            Things do not exist as portrayed in that letter.  The mail and travellers pass over the road without molestation from any source.  2nd  Two affidavits of two respectable and reliable citizens of Carson valley.

            I made no promises to furnish the Sho Sho nees, on the Humboldt, with flour and Beef.  If necessary, I can furnish an affidavit from every employee with me to that effect.

            I did most of my talking with the Indians in the presence of Agent Dodge.

            Coll Reese and Mr Clements, the former the first settler in Carson Valley, are both highly respectable gentlemen; neither of them ever heard of Cromwell or Rondeaux.  Howard Egan Esqr. principal Route agent for the mail line, knows nothing of Cromwell, and yet, has a list of all the road employees.

            Major Chorpenning and Mr Egan were at Stevensons Station, in Humboldt Valley, in November and December.  Major C. was frequently in my office after he returned, before he left for Washington, he spoke favorably of the Indians.  Mr Egan was there again in January, and heard of no disturbance of the Humboldt Shoshonees.

            I am confident those Indians have not misbehaved since I was among them last fall, notwithstanding the immaginary statement of a supposed Oliver Cromwell.

            I am perfectly willing that my official acts should be closely scrutinized.

            In all my intercourse with Indians I am especially cautious about making promises, the idea therefore of handing flour and beef over 500 miles in the winter is too preposterous.

                                                                                                            I remain

                                                                                                            very Respectfully

                                                                                                            your obt Servant,

                                                                                                                        J Forney

                                                                                                Superintendent Ind Affr

To Hon:  James W. Denver

     Commissioner Indn Affr





                                                                                                Genoa Carson Valley U.T.

                                                                                                            January 27th 1859

Major Fred K Dodge

            Indian Agent


                                    Enclosed you will find two statements of certain matters that occured on the Humboldt River last fall.  One made by John Rondeaux, a Canadian, the other by Oliver Cromwell, an American citizen.  Both these persons are now in this Valley and are esteemed reliable and truthful men.

            There statements involve matters of very serious interest to emigrant parties entering Californian by this route, and also to yourself as Indian Agent, and it is the wish of both Rondeaux and Cromwell that the subject should be brought to your attention.

            They desire me to say that they are willing to make oath to the truth of their statements whenever you may desire. 

                                                                                    Very Respectfully Yr Obt. Servant

                                                                                                            Chas. B. Lafitte




                                                Statement of John Rondeaux

In company with Peter Sandusky--one of our party--I got to the sink of the Humboldt about two oclock on the ninth day of November 1858.  We had pushed on leaving our wagon about one hour behind.  When I got across the sink to Tylers, I met Alexander Chevain--the man who killed Fred Dickson that same evening.  He (Chevain) said to me--you are a frenchman are you not--to which I replied, “Yes, I am.”

            Chevain then said “You and the other french boys keep out of the way for there is going to be a little quarrel here and the emigrant party coming in will have to pay for it.  When the emigrants began to come in Tyler and his partner, Bennett sent for Buffalo Jim, and the Indians, and after giving them all the liquor they wanted, Supplied them with arms (Guns, rifles and Revolvers) and caps and powder.  One of the Indians shewd me what they had received, and I  counted my self amongst other things, three dozen of balls.  The chief told me that if things did not  go on right, so long as he received a signal from either Tyler or Bennett (which signal was to be the raising of a hand above the head) that they would kill the first American or white Emigrant that came round or attempted to interfere with them in any way.  When Tyler and Bennett discharged the Indians they gave them three sacks of flour in part payment of their services.


                                                                                                            John  (X)  Rondeaux


Chas B Lafitte




                                                Statement of Oliver Cromwell

I am in the employ of the Overland Mail Co. and was sent out last fall on or about the 25th November with Ox teams loaded with provisions for the supply of the Stations on the Humboldt.  Upon my arrival about the Sho-Sho-nee line I was asked frequently by the Indians if that was Col. Forney, to which I replied--being under the impression that they asked if I was from Californy (California), yes.

            I then found out that Colonel Forney had promised them Cattle, Flour, &c. and they thought my teams were those that he said he would send them, and that they were determined to have them.  They followed me for several days and were becoming very unruly when through the interference of Jim Stevenson, who understands and speaks their language, they were made to comprehend the state of the case and that I meant that I came from California, and not from Col Forney.  If I had not fortunately met with Stevenson or some one else able to make this explanation, I do not know what the consequences would have been, for they were very angry when they found out that Col Forney had not sent them any thing.  They had commenced before I fell in with Stevenson to pick out the cattle they would slaughter first.  I think it is exceedingly wrong to make these promises to the Indians on the Humboldt, and then not keep them, for it endangers the emigrant parties coming over and the people along the whole line.  I make this statement from my own personal observation, and am quite satisfied that there will be more trouble among them if something be not done for them after promises to that effect have been made.

                                                                                                            Oliver Cromwell

            Attest--John F. Long   




                                                Statement of Hon. Hiram B Clements


            I Hiram B Clements, an American citizen, have been a resident of Carson Valley, Utah Territory since 1856.

            October 31st last, I was elected a member of the Utah Legislature and on the 27th November last.  I left home in the Mail Coach for Salt Lake City.  I was the only passinger to Stevensons Station in the Humboldt Valley, 225 miles from Rag Town.  I remained over night at that station.  From this point we had an out rider or guard.  There was a freight train at this Station, the men of which were hauling up hay.  This was the same train spoken of in “Oliver Cromwells Statement.”  I was all night and part of a day at this place and had considerable conversation with Stevenson about the Indians.  He said nothing of any troubles between Sho Sho nee Indians and Emigrants or with any of the Employees of the mail, neither did I hear of any complaint there or along the route against Superintendent Forney, or of his having made any promises to the Indians of Beef Cattle flour &c as spoken of in the “Statement of Oliver Cromwell.”  About 75 miles east of Stevensons Station, a Sho Sho nee Indian came and piloted us over the middle route, 25 miles which neither of us knew, and but for him we could not have found.

            From Carson Valley to Gravelly ford, 385 miles, we met a number of Sho Sho nee Indians.  They were all very friendly and kind.

            I have been intimately acquainted with Mr. George W. Tyler and his partner, Mr. Bennett and know them to be reliable, honorable men, and well suited for the Post they have.  Their station is at the sink of the Humboldt directly at the commencement of the Desert, it is therefore important that such men be there.     

            I declare that I am not acquainted with Oliver Cromwell, John Rondeaux or Peter Sandusky.  Charles B Lafitte came into Carson Valley on or about the 20 or 21st November last (1858) for the first time.  He came as clerk to Major Ormsby.

            I also declare that Alexander Chavain, previous to my leaving Carson, gave me the same account of the troubles of an Emigrant party at Tyler & Bennetts Station in November last precisely as stated by Col John Reese in his “Statement” which I have read.  I further declare, I am certain that Mr Bennett was at Genoa, in Carson Valley on the day of the occurrance above alluded to.

                                                                                                            Hiram B. Clements

                                                            Subscribed and sworn to before me at Great Salt

                                                                                                Lake City, March 11, 1859

                                                                                                                        CE Bolton

                                                                                                                        Notary Public

I certify the foregoing to be a true and correct copy of the Original

                                                                                                                        CE Bolton

                                                                                                                        Notary Public              




                                                            Statement of Col John Reese


I John Reese was the first settler in Carson Valley, U.T. in the year 1851. and have resided there ever since: my family is there now.

            I started from Genoa, Carson Valley, on the 13th November 1858, in the mail coach for Great Salt Lake City.  A Mr Noyes was also a passenger.  When I left Carson Valley, Alexander Chevain was there a prisoner, having been brought in several days before charged with the murder of Fred Dickson at Tyler and Bennett’s Station, at the sink of the Humboldt.

            At Rag Town we took in a mail guard, named Alexander Stewart, who travelled with us to Stevensons Station on the Humboldt.  Mr Stevenson the keeper of the Station is a very correct and gentlemanly man, and has great control over the Indians, by whom he is much respected.  he used all his influence to stop Alexander Stewart from going any farther, as he was one of the head men who kept a station at Gravelly Ford, which had been broken up by the Indians in consequence of the bad conduct of the white me, including this Stewart.  Whites and Indians were all drunk together, Stewart furnishing the liquor to the Indians.

            I had a good deal of conversation with Mr. Stevenson relative to this affair and other Indian troubles, but in all our conversations he never intimated that he expected trouble from Indians from any source only form the bad conduct of Stewart and other bad white men, nor that the Indians had told him of any promises made to them by Superintendent Forney--as mentioned in the “Statement of Oliver Cromwell” which I have read.  Some fifty miles below Stevensons Station we passed a train camped on the Humboldt River, this I am satisfied is the very same train spoken of in the “Statement of Oliver Cromwell.”  From the hour we passed this train, and in fact on the whole route, we were daily visited by Indians, who on o occasion manifested any hostile feelings, but were kind, getting wood &c for us.  Nor did we receive from them the slightest intimation of any idea among them that Superintendent Forney, or any Indian Agent had promised them anything.

            When I left Carson, Mr. Bennett, the partner of Mr. Tyler, was in Carson Valley, and had been there several days, and consequently, I think could not have been at Tyler & Bennetts Station at the time of the affray spoken of in the affidavit of John Rondeau, and which from the best information I could obtain occurred thus--

            An Emegrant party of about 21 persons, purchased of a man named Blanchard, who keeps a trading post about 90 miles east of Tyler and Bennetts Station, a fat ox, agreed upon the price, butchered it, and then left, refusing to pay for it.  Mr. Blanchard went ahead of the Emegrants to Tyler and Bennetts to get them to help him get his pay and as he went along he sent out word among the Indians to come armed to Tyler and Bennetts, which they did in considerable numbers.  Shortly after Blanchard reached the station with the Indians, the train came up, who after talking over the matter before Mr Tyler, paid the amount, and the matter ended as I suppose.

            I have been well acquainted with Mr. Tyler since 1850.  He travelled with me from the States to Carson Valley and was in my employ about two years.  I am also well acquainted with Mr. Bennett since 1853.  I know them both to be reliable, honorable men, just such, as in my opinion, ought to be where they are for the safety of Emegrants.

            I further declare that I do not know Oliver Cromwell, John Rondeaux, Peter Sandusky and Charles B Lafitte.

                                                                                                                        John Reese

                                                                                    Subscribed and sworn to before me at

                                                                        Great Salt Lake City U.T. March 11, 1859

                                                                                                                        CE Bolton

                                                                                                                        Notary Public

I certify that the foregoing is a true and correct copy of the original.

                                                                                                                        CE Bolton

                                                                                                                        Notary Public



                                                                                                            Washington D.C.

                                                                                                            March 23d 1859


            I have the honor to transmit, the usual schedule of the traders outfit for the Snake Indians; being articles most desired by that tribe, and the weight & cost without transportation.  The prices cover cost of a superior article

            The above is the amount for a single half lodge or a very small family and should be multiplied by 300, for the Washikee band of Snakes with their friends & visitors, the northern Pannacks & Sheep Eaters--by 200--for the Pannock tribe, and by 300.  for the two bands of Western Snakes.

            The number of half lodges given being mere approximations.  The Western Utes near Honey Lake Valley through whom the Expedition will pass, do not appear in this statement as I have never visited them.  Add to the above amount the price of six Hawkins Rifles @ $30 each

            These goods could be laid down in the mountains by ox team transportation @ 25cts per pound by August 10th but to be of service should precede the emigration & keep up with the Expedition.  To have this done by contract arriving at the mountains June 15th & the goods kept stored on the contractors wagons until distributed to the various tribes would cost $3.000--The “crackers” can be furnished from the stores of the old expedition, several fine horses can be supplied from the same source & are acceptable presents to Indian chiefs.

            Any tools, plows or agriculture implements can be furnished in the same manner.  The Snake Indians in my own opinion would hardly appreciate a donation of the last description but pains could be take to advise them of its value.

                                                                                                            Very Respy Yr obt Svt

                                                                                                                        FW Lander

                                                                                                                        Spt &c &c

care Geo Sherman

Florence Hotel



                                                                                                Department of the Interior

                                                                                                            March 25th 1859


            Mr F.W. Lander Superintendent of the Fort Kearney South Pass & Honey Lake Road is about to proceed across the Rocky mountains to California via the South Pass, the upper basin of Green River and the Valley of Snake River near Fort Hall, through the Shoshone or Snake Indian region and the country of the Pannacks and other small tribes.

            The opportunity afforded by this journey of Mr. Lander to hold intercourse with these Indians and impress upon them the importance of maintaining amicable relations with the Whites and to secure a pledge to abstain from molesting the Emigrants who may pass over this new road has induced me to adopt suggestions made by him in regard to distributing presents among them.  To enable him to do so you will place at his disposal a sum not exceeding five thousand dollars form such appropriations as you may deem applicable and give him such instructions as may be proper to secure the end desired, it being understood that this service is to be performed without compensation.  Mr Lander is under bonds to the Government in the sum of $30.000. dated March 29. 1858.

                                                                                                            I am sir respectfully

                                                                                                                        Your Obt Serv

Chas. E Mix Esqr.

            Acting Commissioner of

                  Indian Affairs.




                                                                                                            San Francisco, Cal

                                                                                                            April 20” 1859


            I have just been informed that Supt Forneys Drafts on the U.S. asst. Treasurer at St. Louis are protested on account of some informality in his bonds.

            He has furnished me with two which I have cashed and paid the indebtedness of my Agency with the proceeds.

            This places me in a sad and humiliating situation.  Also my private reputation is hazarded thereby.

            I must therefore beg of you to telegraph the Treasurer at St. Louis and desire him to honor those two endorsed by me and if necessary hold me responsible for the amt.

                                                                                                With great Respect &c

                                                                                                            F. Dodge

                                                                                                            Indian Agt.

Hon Chas. E. Mix




                                                                                                Superintendents Office, Utah

                                                                                    Great Salt Lake City May 5, 1859


    The Hon:  C.E. Mix

            Commissioner of Ind Affr


                        I returned yesterday from a visit to the southern portion of this Territory.

            They Pey-Ute Tribe inhabit that region: they are divided into ten bands scattered along the southern California Road, from Beaver Valley to the California line, along the Santa Clara, Los Vagos & Rio Virgin Rivers.  Several of the bands have cultivated small patches by the assistance of the white settlers.  Nearly all the land supplied by nature, with water for irrigation is already occupied.  The indians are in great destitution; Every thing growing among these miserable beings, having any life sustaining principle whatever, is carefully collected by them.  At present they live on muscal, an nourishing plant.  On this they subsist about two months.  Their next resort is grass seed.  There is scarcely any game, some few fish.  When the above articles are got through with, necessity, I fear compels them to steal cattle, mules, horses &c.  Begging among the whites is not profitable.  Some provisions should be made for these Indians.  All the chiefs and people with whom I talked ask for assistance in farming implements.  Of them I will write more fully at an early day.

                                                                                                I remain very respectfully

                                                                                                            Your obt Servant

                                                                                                                        J. Forney

                                                                                                Superintendent Ind Affr



                                                                                    Superintendent’s Office, Utah

                                                                                                            Great Salt Lake City,

                                                                                                            August 10, 1859

Hon: A.B. Greenwood,


                        I returned yesterday morning from the North where I mentioned I was going, in a letter to you by last mail, to ascertain the correctness of a supposed massacre, near the Goose Creek Mountains, of a California Train.  Other information and circumstances in addition to that herewith enclosed, leave, not doubt in my mind but that six men and one woman were killed and six men and two women were wounded, several of the men, it is supposed, mortally.  This occurred 24th July last, in a Kanyon on Subletts Cut-Off, fifteen miles from Raft River, in Oregon, by Bannock Indians form Oregon and from 15 to 20 Sho Sho nees belonging to four bands in the Northern part  of this Territory.  Those Sho Sho nee Indians were evidently participants as they brought horses, mules and cattle to the Indian encampment, adjacent to Brigham City (60 miles north of this city) where I was last Saturday and Sunday.  The Indians also exhibited Colts Revolvers, a few watches and jewelry, and gold coins.  I was informed that the settlers refused to purchase any of the property.  A very small number of the many passing emigrants bought a very few articles of those Indians it is said.  The Indians, evidently, had spies out, who communicated my movements to their camp, which was suddenly broken up the day before my arrival at Brigham City.

            The place where the massacre was committed is about 140 miles from that city, and the distance, and no apparent necessity and so much to do elsewhere, prevented my visiting the spot.  The wounded, and those unhurt, and the property that was left, was taken in charge by another train and were proceeding towards California.  It is too true, I fear, that two Indians were shot by the train in question.  At all events this is the first train that has been in any manner molested this season, so far as I can learn; notwithstanding a very large number have passed over the roads, small and large companies, rich and poor.  I passed sixteen trains day before yesterday in twenty miles travel.

            Enclosed is a copy of a notice I have deemed it expedient to issue, which will, I trust, soon cause the delivering up of the criminals.  The Bands to which the guilty belong have gone north, beyond the settlements.  A company of Dragoons passed through this City to day for the north, and may go in pursuit of the Indians.

            Governor Cumming, on the 3rd Inst. at my request, made a requisition on Genl Johnston, in command of this Department, for a suitable command to effect the arrest of the parties supposed to have been associated with the murderers, and robbers of the train above alluded to.  In the consequence of which requisition, a detachment of the Army was ordered to march, with the distinct proviso, that the order was given, not in consequence of the Governors requisition, but because he had credible information that certain hostile actions had been committed by Indians and especially notifying the Governor that his requisition was disregarded, except so far as it contained evidence of the necessity of exercising military authority, which would have had equal force and authority had the information and derived from any other credible source.

            I do not consider it necessary to recapitulate, for the reason that it must be evident to the Department, that I cannot reasonabley anticipate the entire control of the Indians in this widely extend [sic] Territory, unless I can be sustained by Military power, obtained through the Governor or some other official, to be indicated by the President.  My remoteness from Washington and the necessity for prompt action in these matters must be received as an apology for requesting that orders may be issued clearly defining the duties and obligations of Officers on the subjects above referred to.  In the mean while during the seeming discrepancy of Orders, the Department may rest assured that I will endeavor to perform my duties in such manner as will conduce to the honor of the Government and peace of this Territory.

                                                                                                I remain Very Respectfully

                                                                                                            your obt Servant

                                                                                                                        J. Forney

                                                                                                                        Supt Ind Aff



    Hon A.B. Greenwood

    Commissioner Ind Affr.

            Washington, D.C.






            All persons, especially those residing in or passing through the northern portion of this Territory are requested not to take or purchase (unless with a view to return it to the owners) certain property taken from a California Emigrant Train by Bannock Indians of Oregon and Sho sho nee Indians of this Territory, such as horses, mules and cattle branded S, pistols, jewelry &c.

            I especially caution under the severest penalty of the law persons not to harbor, give, sell, take or buy anything whatever from any chief or from any of their men or squaws belonging to the three bands of Indians roaming in the neighborhood of Willow Creek, and Brigham City Settlements in Cache, Malad and Bear River Valley & in the northern portion of this Territory generally, until the twenty or more Indians who took part in the recent massacre on Subletts Cut off, July 24 last, are delivered up.

                                                                                                                        Jacob Forney

                                                                                                Superintendent Ind Affairs



                                                                                                            Camp Floyd U.T.

                                                                                                            August 17th 1859


            Herewith you have a copy of Mr. Lynches testimony with regard to the murder of the Arks emigrants at Mountain Meadows in this Territory in Septr 1857.

            I have know Lynch since 1847 he was in the Mexican War, where I first met him, he is a reliable and honest man, and I do not believe he would tell a lie under any circumstances.  I am aware that the Mormons, those in the confidence of the Mormons, will of course try to invalidate Lynches statement but those of us here now, who know him will sustain him.

            I hope you will pardon me, for the liberty taken in forwarding the enclosed paper to you, but you being an Arkansian as well as myself, I presume you will feel the same interest and sympathy, for her murdered citizens that I do.

            I sincerely congratulate you, upon your elevation to your present position and hope that promotion, (as we in the army expect) may ultimately follow.

            We are all sick of the Mormons.  There is no government here, outside of our Camp, other than that dictated by Brigham Young, which is exclusively church government.  The Judiciary of the U.S. is powerless and a farce.

            Gov Cumming I am sorry to say, is not at all competent for the position he occupies here, he is so given to inebriation that he does not know half the time what he is doing the time was, when I knew Col Cumming as a high toned clear headed, honorable gentleman but, it frequently happens, that the most mighty fall from an high estate, and so it may be most truly said of Col Cumming.

            I assure Judge, I would most gladly prefer Fort Smith as a Residence to Utah, people abroad from Arkansas, give us a bad name but my dear Sir, they have not learned of the doings of this people, crime of every hue and dye is perpetrated here under the sanction of the Mormon church upon the payments to the church fund of ten pcent, it is serving the Mormon Lord, kill--rob plunder et-cet--if the 10 per cent is paid up, all right with the church and the Mormon government and go ahead.  I am satisfied that Mr Buchanan has been mislead with regard to the Mormons and Mormon character.  I know if he rightly understood those people he would change the present policy towards, it is but trifling with justice to treat them pacifically.  Some more stringent policy must be adopted, and I hope Congress will give Mr. Buchanan the power to do so, the President has treated them most humanely but the Mormons refuse to appreciate his humanity.

                                                                                                            I have the Honor

Hon A.B. Greenwood                                                                         To be Respectfully

                                                                                                            Your old Friend

                                                                                                            S.H. Montgomery



                                                            Mountain Meadows massacre


Utah Territory

Cedar County

                        James Lynch of lawful age being first duly sworn, states on oath:  That he was one of the party who accompanied Dr. Jacob Forney, Superintendent of Indian affairs in an expedition to the Mountain Meadows Santa Clara &c in the months of March & April last, when we received sixteen children, sole survivors of the wholesale massacre perpetrated at the former place in the month of September 1857.  The children when we first saw them, were in a most wretched and deplorable condition; with little or no clothing, covered with filth and dirt.  They presented a sight heart rending and miserable in the extreme.  The scene of the fearful murder still bears evidence of the atrocious crime, charged by the Mormons and their friends to have been perpetrated by Indians but really by mormons disguised as Indians, who in their headlong zeal, bigotry and fanaticism deemed this a favorable opportunity of at once wreaking their vengeance on the hated people of Arkansas, and of making another of these iniquitious “Blood offerings” to God so often recommended by Brigham Young and their other leaders.  For more than two square miles the ground is strewn with the skulls, bones and other remains of the victims.  In places water has washed many of these remains together, forming little mounds, raising monuments as it were to the cruelty of man to his fellow man.  Here and there may be found the remains of an innocent infant beside those of some devoted mother, ruthlessly slain by men worse than demons; their bones lie bleaching in the noon day sun a mute but eloquent appeal to a just but offended God for vengeance.  I have witnessed many harrowing sights on the fields of battle, but never did my heart thrill with such horrible emotions, as when standing on that silent plain contemplating the remains of the innocent victims of Mormon Avarice, fanaticism & cruelty.  Many of these remains are now in possession of Mr. Rogers, a gentleman who accompanied us on the expedition.  Why were no these remains interred if not in a Christian like and proper manner, at least covered from the sight?  But no the hatred of their murderers extended to them after death--there they lay, a prey to the famished wolves that run howling over the desolate plains to the unlooked for feast, food for the croaking ravens that through the tainted air with swift wing wended their way to revel in their banquet of blood.

            I enquired of Jacob Hamblin who is a high Church dignitary, why these remains were not buried at some time subsequent to the murder?  he said that the bodies were so much decomposed that it was impossible to inter them.  No longer let us boast of our citizenship freedom or civilization.  There was one hundred and forty poor harmless Emigrants to California butchered in cold blood, by white men too, with attending circumstances far exceeding anything in cruelty that we have ever heard of or read of being perpetrated by savages.  It is now high time that the actors and perpetrators of this dreadful crime should be brought to condign punishment.  For years the Mormons have possessed an immunity from punishment or a sort of privilege for committing crimes of this nature, but soon it is to be hoped a new state of things must dawn--a retribution must come, vengeance must be had--civilization humanity and christianity call for it, and the American people must have it.  Blood may be shed, difficulties may be encountered, but just as sure as there is a sun at noon-day, retribution will yet overtake the guilty wretches--their aiders, abettors, whether open or hidden under disguise of Government employment.

            John D. Lee, a Mormon President has knowledge of the whereabouts of much of the property taken from these ill fated emigrants, and if I am not misinformed in possession of a large quantity of it.  Why not make him disgorge this illgotten plunder--and disclose the amount escheated to, and sold out by the Mormon Church, as its share of the blood of helpless victims?  When he enters into a league with Hell and covenants with death; he should not be allowed to make feasts and entertain government officials at his table as he did Dr Jacob Forney Superintendent of Indian Affairs, while the rest of his party refused in his hearing and that of Lee, to share the hospitalities of This notorious murderer--This scourge of the desert.  This man Lee does not deny, but admits that he was present at the massacre, but pretends that he was there to prevent blood shed, but positive evidences implicate him as the leader of the murderers too deeply for denial.  The Children point him out as one of them that did the bloody work.  He and other white men had these children, and they never were in the hands of the Indians, but in those that murdered them and Jacob Ham[b]lin and Jacob Forney know it.  The children pointed out to us the dresses and jewelry of their mothers and sisters, that now grace the Angelic forms of these murderer’s women and children--verily it would seem that men and women alike combined in this wholesale slaughter.  This ill fated train consisted of 18 wagons 820 head of cattle household goods to a large amount, besides money estimated at 80 or 90,000 dollars the greater part of which it is believed now make rich the harems of John D. Lee.  Of this train a man whose name is unknown, fortunately escaped at the time of the massacre to Vegas one hundred miles distant from the scene of blood on the California Road.  Here he was followed by five mormons, who through promises of safety &c prevailed upon him to begin his return to Mountain Meadows & contrary to their promises and his just expectations they inhumanly butchered him--laughing at and disregarding his loud and repeated cries for mercy as witnessed and told by Ira Hatch one of the five.  The object in killing this man was to leave no witness competent to give testimony in a Court of Justice, but God whose ways are inscrutable has thought proper, through the instrumentality of the “babes and sucklings” recovered by us to bring to light this most horrible tragedy, and made know its barbarous and inhuman perpetrators.          Already a step has been take by Judge Cradlebough in the right direction, of which we see evidence in the flight of Presidents, Bishops, and Elders, to the mountains, to escape the just penalty of the law for their crimes.  If the vengeance of the Lord is slow ‘tis equally sure.  The Mormons who know better, have reported that the principles and in fact all the actors in this fearful massacre were Indian savages, but subsequent events have thrown sufficient light upon this mystery to fix the foul blot indellibly on the Mormon escutcheon.  Many of the leaders are well known, John D. Lee was the Commander in Chief, President height and Bishop Smith in Cedar City and besides these one hundred actors and accomplises are know to Judge Cradlebough and Dr. Forney.  Some of these implicated are and have been in the confidence and under employment of Superintendent of Indian Affairs, Bishop Hamblin for instance who is employed by Dr. Forney among the Indians down south, who knows all the facts but refuses to disclose them, who falsely reported to Dr. Forney that the children we brought away were recovered by him from persons who had bought them from Indians, and who know that what he reported was false and was so done to cheat the government out of money to again reward the guilty wretches for their inhuman butcheries.  It is pretended that this man is friendly towards the United States Government, yet is a well known fact that he screened some of these murderers about his house, from justice, among whom are an Indian named George and a white man by the name of Tillis, recognized by one of these children--a little girl eight years old, who has been sent off to the States by Dr. Forney, as the man who killed her mother. Hamblin cannot be a Mormon Bishop and a friend of the United States at least where Mormons and Mormonism is concerned.  His creed & oaths forbid it and he could not if he would with safety to himself do it.  Then why not out with him?  Dr. Forney can find another and more trustworthy Agent than he.  Why then keep and patronize the abettor of a crime?  Before I close, my duty to my country calls upon me to state to the public the course of Dr. Forney to engender in the minds of the Mormons feelings of antipathy and opposition to the Judiciary, and the many obligations which he violated and promises which he desregarded this trip.

            I left Camp Floyd in March last in charge of 39 men, emigrating to Arizona, about the 27th of that month we came up with Dr. Forney at Beaver City who there informed me that he was en-route to the scene of the Mountain Meadows massacre and Santa Clara, to procure evidence in relation thereto, and to secure the surviving children.  He informed me that all his men had left him being Mormons and who before leaving had informed him, Forney, that if he went down South, the people down there would make an ewnuch of him, and asked us for aid & assistance.  I cheerfully placed the whole party at his command telling him that he had started upon an errand of mercy, and it was strange that he should have employed mormons--the very confederates of these monsters, who has so wantonly murdered unoffending Emigrants, to ferret out the guilty parties.

            He was left without a man and we found him guarding his mules & wagons.  He requested two of the men of my party (Thomas Dunn & John Lofink) to return to Great Salt Lake City with him, promising to give them employment during the following summer and the winter.  They consented to abandon their trip to Arizona upon these terms and returned with the Doctor, and I am sorry to say he violated his plighted faith, and his solemn contract on reaching the City, by immediately discharging them without cause and hiring mormons to take their place, as I am informed has been his custom since he came into the Valley.  I was with Dr. Forney from the time I joined him until he returned to the City of Salt Lake, having voluntarily abandoned my expedition to Arizona to aid his humane enterprise and during the trip I repeatedly heard him tell the Mormons “That they need not fear Judge Cradlebough (whose disclosures & energy had created some alarm) that he (Forney) would have him removed from office; that the Mormons (Murderers and all) were all included in the Presidents proclamation and pardon, and would not be tried or punished for any offence whatever committed prior to the issuing of the pardon--That Judge Cradlebough was not a fit man for office” in fact abusing and slandering the Judge in unmeasured terms--no language being too low or filthy to apply to him.  I could arrive at no other conclusion from his conduct than that the Doctor desired to influence the minds of the Mormons against the judiciary, and that he cared more to create a prejudice against Judge Cradleboughs course in attempting to bring these murderers to light, than he did to elicit the truth relative to the murders, and that he was only following out his instructions from the General Government in going after the children, while he was availing himself of this journey to make a pilgrimage to the south settlements to abuse & traduce Judge Cradlebough and arouse a feeling of resistance to his authority among the guilty murderers.

            It is to be regretted that the Doctor has manifested so hostile a feeling to his associate Federal Officer and that the course of the Judges especially that of Judge Cradlebough has to be citicised by such a man as Jacob Forney--a more veritable old granny than whom, in my opinion never held an official position in this country, and in this opinion I am borne out by the concurrent opinions of nearly all the Gentile population in Utah who know him, as well as by many of the Mormon people.  I now reside in Cedar County U.T.

                                                                                                            Signed:  James Lynch


            James Lynch being duly sworn states on oath that all the material facts stated by him in the foregoing affidavit, so far as he states the same as of his own knowledge are true and so far as he states the same as from information derived from others as also the conclusions drawn from the same he believes to be true and further saith not.

                                                                                                            Signed:  James Lynch


Sworn and subscribed to

                                                                                    July 27th 1859.  (Signed)  D.R. Eckels

                                                                                                Chief Justice of Sup. Court.


            The undermentioned state on oath that the foregoing affidavit had been carefully read to them that they are the identical persons named in it as having been employed by Dr. Jacob Forney to return with him to Salt Lake City--that they went from Beaver City with said Forney South and back again and that we fully concur in the statements made by James Lynch Esqr. in the foregoing affidavit, as to what we saw and heard on the trip and the conduct of Dr. Forney Superintendent of Indian Affairs and further say not.

                                                                                                (Signed)  Thomas Dunn

                                                                                                (Signed)  John Lofink

Subscribed & sworn to before me

            July 27th 1859.

                                                                                                            Signed.  D.R. Eckels

                                                                                                Chief Justice of Sup. Court.



                                                                                                Fish Spring U. Territory,

                                                                                                            August 22th, 1859

Hon A.B. Greenwood

            Dear Sir

                        I am this far (165 miles) on my journey to visit the Indians & farms commenced for them, in Deep Creek & Ruby Valley last spring by Agent Jarvis.  I intimated in a letter several weeks ago, my purpose of taking this trip, and was ready to start, week before last, when I was oblidged to go North, in consequence of the difficulties in Oregon, the particulars of which I communicated to you last week.

            I left home Friday evening the 12th Inst. was oblidged to come by the Spanish Fork Ind. Reservation to regulate some difficulty between the “Ute Bands,” that inhabit Uinta Valley about one hundred miles East of So Fork, but at present on & near the farm: & those bands on the farm & the San Pete farm.  The Utah Tribe proper, have already two farms in full operation.  The Uinta portion of the Tribe, have had a promise from Ex-Agent Dr. hurt, that a farm would be made for them in Uinta Valley, this will be entirely improper, if I had even the means.  I was on the Spanish F. Reservation part of last Sunday a week, had an interview with all the Uinta Chiefs, and had every thing satisfactorially arranged.  Come the same night to Camp Floyde 45 miles, where I met my wagons with Indian goods &c.  I was however oblidged to return again to Salt Lake City on special business.  I returned to my camp near Camp Floyde, last Wednesday, during my absence, (one day & two nights,) my interpreter run-away with one of my best mules.  It was Friday morning, before I got my mule back & another interpreter.  Such are some of the troubles one meets with in this strange country.  We drove yesterday 50 mile over a desert between water & grass.  We will have to drive 30 miles between water, after that water & grass will be abundant.  I expect to meet the Go-Sho-Ute Indians tomorrow evening.  The country between this & Camp Floyde miserable indeed, scarcely any thing growing to sustain life.  I will get to Salt L City in about twelve days.

                                                                                                                        I remain

                                                                                                            very Respectfully

                                                                                                            Your ob. Sevt.

                                                                                                                        J. Forney

                                                                                                            Supt. Ind. Affairs



    Hon A.B. Greenwood

            commissioner Ind. Affr.





                                                                                                            Carson Valley U.T.

                                                                                                                        Sept 2nd 1859

To Major F. Dodge

U.S. Indian Agent


                                    We having take into our charge and brought thus far the widows and orphans of the late massacre on the Sublett cut-off at considerable expense, Mrs. Wright and infant child being seriously wounded, are unable to proceed further, and all being totally destitute, we respectfully request that you take charge of them and furnish such aid as may be in your power.

                                                                                                            Anton W. Tjader MD

                                                                                                            James R. Shepherd

                                                                                                            Oscar F. D. Fairbanks

                                                                                                            George Everett




About 6 oclock, P.M. the 26th of July when some men of small emigrant train camped at Cold Springs, on the Sublette Cut-off eighty miles from Salt Lake City, were at supper a party of eight Indians armed with rifles, bows, and arrows came down and asked for something to eat.  Having obtained some bread, the started to a hill where the cattle were herded by two men.  After saluting the cattle-guards, and passing them, one of the Indians suddenly turned his pony, lowering his rifle, shot one of the men, Mr. Hall through the heart, killing him instantly; the other man fled to the camp, the Indians were in the meantime running off nine head of cattle and two horses.

            At the time of this depredation there were only a small train of emigrants present, and sometime afterward, at about 9 oclock, the horse train led by Mr. Ferguson Shepheard arrived.  The night passed quietly, and in the morning Mr. Shepheard’s train left at 7 oclock, at the arrival of Mr. C. Skagg’s train.

            At about 8-1/2 oclock a party of Indians, 25 or 30 in number, came down over the hills from the Salt Lake Road and tried to run off the cattle grazing there.

            A man on cattle guard, in trying to drive down the herd was wounded by a rifle ball in the fleshy part of the thigh, and by two arrows, one in the wrist, and the other in the shoulder.  The men at camp were armed hurriedly, and met the Indians and exchanging shots with them, killed two and wounded some eight or ten.

            The Indians carried off along with their wounded, and dead, some 21 head of cattle.  The horse train which started out in the morning under Mr. F. Shepheard was attacked in a canyon, seven miles from Cold Springs, and while doctoring a sick horse Mr. Ferguson Shepherd was shot down; almost at the same time Mr. James D. Wright was dangerously wounded through the chest and back.  Bill Diggs, Clayborn F. Rains, and Wm. Shepherd were killed in rapid succession, the Indians firing from behind the bushed on the ridges of the heights on each side of the canyon.

            About 1 oclock two men, James Ward and Geo. Everet, arrived on horseback, to the encampment at Cold Springs.  shortly after Geo. W. Parson, and J. McGuire arrived, an hour later, Mr. James R. Shepherd; wife and infant, Mr. Townsend Wright, and Ignatius smith came down to the camp of emigrants at the spring.  Smith being shot through the muscular part of the right arm, the rest of the fugitives were uninjured though fired at by the Indians.

            At 5 oclock P.M. the trains of Messrs. Fairbanks, Hereford, and Pierce came along and united with the trains already at Cold Springs, and after taking every precaution to guard against surprise, the night passed without being interrupted by any event of importance.

            The next morning, at an early hour, the united trains to the number of 52 wagons, and 200 men started through the canyon.  No Indians were to be seen, but at the place of the murder of the day previous, the bodies of Ferguson, Wm. Shepheard, Wm. Diggs, and C. Rains were laying in the middle of the road covered with blood, dust, and bloated by the heat.

            The wagons were turned from the road, the ground being covered with feathers from bedding and fragments of clothing.  Under a wagon with a cripled babe in her arms laid Mrs. James Wright with a serious wound in her back and inside the wagon, half delerious and exhausted by loss of blood, Mr James Wright mortally wounded.  The poor sufferers were attended by a little son five years of age, who supplied their feverish lips with water and also brought to them the sorrowful news that all their companions were either killed or had fled.

            Mrs Wm. Shepherd who was the last one to leave the place of carnage, arrived the evening before at the camp of refuge at Cold Springs, but previously weakened by attending a sick husband, they had to leave an infant of eight months in the bushes a few rods from the place of disaster.

            The babe was found by the advance party in the morning, and although severely schorched [sic] by the sun, uninjured.

            Mr. James Wright and wife together with the four dead bodies were put on board some wagons of Geo. M. Pierce’s train, and conveyed eighteen miles farther where the wounded were attended to and received surgical aid.  The four dead ones were buried in one grave, and the next morning Mr. Oscar F.D. Fairbanks generously offered his carriage to carry the wounded.  It was a spring carriage, better adapted than the wagon to carry them along, and from this place to Genoa, he and his sister paid the greatest attentions to the comfort of the sufferers.

            Mr. James Wright did not survive but ten days and was decently buried.

                                                                                                            Carson Valley UT

                                                                                                                        Sept 2nd 1859

Anton W. Tjader MD

James R. Shepherd

Oscar F.D. Fairbanks

Geo. Everet

                                                                                                Genoa, Carson Valley, U.T.

                                                                                                            Sept 2nd 1859.

The foregoing statement was made and subscribed in our presence.

                                                                                                            Jms. Cradlebough

                                                                                                Judge 2nd Judicial Dist.

                                                                                                                        F. Dodge

                                                                                                            U.S. Indian Agent



            Dr. A.W. Tjader’s statement of condition of the wounded now living.

            Mrs Wright--had a rifle ball shot in her back while leaning forward to button up the front part of the wagon.

            The ball entered half an inch below the right kidney, and passed directly downwards, grazed the sacral plexus of nerves and pursuing its course downwards, and ala and turning inward lodged somewhere in one of the lower vertebra or side bones.           

            It could not be touched at a distance of twelve inches from entrance, and not seemingly causing any discomforture was allowed to remain.

            She is now recovering slowly, since any amount of cloting being partly removed, and partly discharges from the wound.

            A little girl--daughter of Mrs Wright--ages about 18 months, was take up by the Indians and thrown against the rocks whereby her left thigh was broken in the middle.  The poor little thing was partly deranged for some time after so cruel a treatment--She is now bodily and mentally mending.  The fracture is uniting, although the bone is slightly bent, the continuous traveling and want of space to apply a proper aperatus, being the cause.

            Another little girl--daughter of Mrs. Wm. Shepherd who was left in the bushed over night was severely blistered all over neck, and legs by the severe sun heat, had her neck injured and remained in a pitiable plight for more than a week afterward.

            She is recovering, although her neck is still very stiff.  The sufferers are now in the hands of Maj. F. Dodge, U.S. Indian Agent, who is assiduous in his endeavors to render them all the assistance in his power, they are furnished with comfortable quarters, good nursing, clothing and surgical aid.

                                                                                                Genoa, Carson Valley, U.T.

                                                                                                            Sept 2nd, 1859                                                                                                            Anton W. Tjader M.D.



                                                                                                            Office Indian Agent

                                                                                                            Carson Valley U.S.

                                                                                                            Sept 3rd 1859


            The two widows and four orphan survivors of the late massacre on Sublettes Cut-off arrived here yesterday--wounded--overwhelmed in grief and totally destitute of money--clothing and provisions--their all and only dependence being lost in that deplorable affair, they are from Howard County Missouri.

            Application was made to this Agency for assistance which was immediately rendered, and nothing in my power will be left undone to ameliorate the suffering condition of these poor women and children.

            I have the honor to enclose for the information of the Department a copy of a letter addressed to me, also a copy of a statement of that indiscriminate massacre, made in the presence of Judge Cradlebaugh and myself by persons, two of whom was on the spot, and the others in the immediate vicinity at the time of the tragady.

            This emergency devolves on me the responsibility of incurring some additional expense, but under the circumstances I feel confident the Department will sustain me.                                                                                                                                                         With great respect

                                                                                                            Your Obt Servt

                                                                                                                        F. Dodge

                                                                                                            Indian Agent

Hon A.B. Greenwood

Commissioner of Ind A



                                                                                                            Camp Floyd U.T.

                                                                                                            September 23d, 1859.


            Hon. Secretary of Interior


                                                I enclose to your address two affidavits in relation to one of the recent massacres on the Fort Hall road from the States to California for your information.

            My mind rests satisfied that these attacks--quite frequent of late, on parties of emigrants are planned and led on by white men.  In the first train attacked this season on this road, there was a white woman ravished by five men, and then shot by them, but she lived until she was enabled to inform one of her party that they were all white men.  They had not take the precaution to paint the whole body.

            You will see by the testimony of Nelson Miltimore that the men that attacked Miltimore’s train on the 31st of August last spoke good English to this witness, and to his comrade in iniquity.  If we grant that Indians may learn to speak it so as to deceive a person under such circumstances, yet it would be very unnatural indeed, for him to speak in our language to his fellow highwayman if he was an Indian, and that fellow reply in the same language; but add to this the facts that some of the party wore long beards and one of them had light brown hair, and the proof in conclusive that they were whites in Indian disguise, to any acquainted with the Indians in these mountains.

            In relation to the affidavit of Suberr permit me to say that he was an unwilling witness, and refused to make an affidavit until he was compelled to do so.  He stated to me the reason for refusing, was a belief which he entertains that if he did so, the Mormans would assassinate him.  I apprehend he knew the man at Salt Lake City that made the proposition to him to join the gang of outlaws.  You will however see by his affidavit that there were some dozen or more persons at the mail station in Sweet Water, near the South Pass of the Mountains, and that from what he heard and see there, he was led to believe that mischief was intended to this train of Miltimore’s.  No such number of persons belonged to this mail station, and I have requested the Agent of the Mail Co. here to make inquiry about who they were, and when and by what road they left.  On the 29th day of August another train was attacked about noon on the east side of Fort Hall, leaving the party that made it about time to come up with Miltimore’s party west of the Fort and I suspect they were the same party joined by a few Indians.

            These outrages seem to by systematically made in the state of Oregon by persons in Utah.

            You will also find enclosed the Affidavit of C.F. Betz of Iowa.  It discloses facts of which we were previously advised by letters and I send it for information also.  They are beautiful emblems of peace!

            I trust Sir that a few suggestions in relation to these Indian massacres as they are called, will not be regarded as offensive.  The Snake and Bannock Indians of this region have no Agent where on is much needed.  A general Indian war is if possible to be avoided, much as certain persons here may desire it.  If our troops attack all the Indians they find on this road, a general war would ensue.  Gen. Johnston has but five companies of mounted men, and on this road alone there is near a thousand miles to protect.  To protect emigrants on this road is therefore impracticable while the Indians are allowed to remain on it.  Their Agent should therefore be instructed to keep them off of the road, so as to justify the army chastising such as are found on the road.

            The road by this camp recently made by the army is more than 300 miles the nearest, and much the best road from the States to California, and the public would soon follow it, but for reportedly false representations made to emigrants, and the fact that almost every train that has passed has been robbed of their stock by Mormons and some of them almost in sight of our camp.  Indeed Sir travel is safe on no road through these mountains.  By reference to a letter addressed to me about a year since by Mr. Vernon, then a high priest of the Morman church, and now on file in the State Dpt. you will see that we were forewarned of these troubles.

            Should I receive further information that may be useful to your Department I will forward it to you.  In the Superintendent here I have no confidence and for that reason I send direct.

                                                                                                                        Your Obt Sevt.

                                                                                                                        D.R. Eckels

Hon. J. Thompson     

            Sec. of Interior


            Note I also send you a copy (printed) of the report of Lieut Gay of battle with the Indians who were of the party that ravished the white woman alluded to above that you may note the conduct of his Mormon guide & the place selected for defense by the Indians most likely whites made the selection.




Utah Territory

Cedar County

            Lorenzo Suberr being duly sworn states on oath:  That he traveled from the States to the last crossing of the Sweet-water River near the South Pass of the Rocky Mountains with a company of emigrants from Iowa to Californian, consisting of Edward A. Miltimore and family with others--nineteen in all.  That soon after Miltimore’s party left him, taking the “Landers road” and going by way of Ft Hall, he heard a man, whose name is unknown to affiant, talking to about a dozen other strangers, who were at the Mail Station, and said “Ain’t I glad that the party (meaning Miltimore’s party) have taken that road!”  After this I could not understand what was said by them, but the circumstances impressed me at the time with the belief that harm was intended to them.  affiant came on to Salt Lake City where he remained for a few days, and being acquainted somewhat with Mormanism, he induced the Mormans to believe that he had come to the Territory to find a permanent home.  While there a Mormon who has a heavy scar on the forehead over the left eye, but whose name he does not know, informed him that there was about one hundred and twenty five or thirty five, Mormons and bout three hundred and fifty Indians out in Goose Creek Valley and that if he (affiant) would to out there to them, he could make “A pile”, meaning a quantity of money; and intimated to him that the money was to be made by robbing emigrant trains in company with the parties above mentioned.  He has since seen a portion of Mr. Miltimore’s party here at Camp Floyd, who informed him that their party had been attacked and eight of them killed, about seventy five miles before reaching Goose Creek valley.  And further saith not.

                                                                                                (signed)  Lorenzo Suberr


            Subscribed and sworn to before me September 19th 1859

                                                                                                                        D.R. Eckels

                                                                                                            Chf. Jus. of Supr. ct.



            Nelson Miltimore being duly sworn states on oath:  That he belonged to a party of emigrants, going from the state of Iowa to the state of California.  That said party consisted of nineteen persons, viz: Edward A. Miltimore his wife Catherine and nine children, of whom deponent was one, William Harrington and child, and whose wife is affiants sister, Alford Hill & wife, Myran Cline, Nathan Titus, Hiram Marsh and Franklin Hubbard.  That they started on the journey in May 1859.  Tat they parted company with Lorenzo Suberr at the last crossing of Sweet-water, and went on the new road know as “Capt Landers wagon road.”  About twenty five miles west of Fort Hall this affiant was driving along the team in the rear wagon in the train when he saw three men they were Indians or white men disguised as Indians on horse back coming up toward the train of wagons through the loose stock of the company that his brother James was driving on after them, when the cattle took fright and ran off on the hills at the side of the road--When this took place his brother William who was driving the wagon & team next before witness, stopped his wagon to see what was the matter, when affiant drove on and passed him.  His father was with the wagon of William--walking along by its side,--his mother and the small children were in wagon.  These three men were armed with guns and coming on up to the wagons, two of them rode up to as was looking about the wagons.  The other who was the largest man of the three, kept off more from the wagons.  One of the two who were about the wagons said to this affiant “Where are you going?”  He replied “To California” “No you are not” said he.  “Well (said affiant) we started for there anyhow.”  We soon came to where the road was two tracks of the road separating for a little way, when the man that had spoken to me rode out on one of them a short distance and said to his companion “There are no tracks going this way.”  His companion replied “Take the other road,” which he did.  These men spoke good English--There was no brogue on their tongues, and from hearing them talk, he would judge them to be white men, while their dress a colour denoted Indian, except that the one that spoke to the affiant had light brown hair, and several of the party had beards--one of them had long heavy beard that he particularly noticed.  After passing along for a short distance one of these three men gave a whoop, when others soon commenced coming in sight from each side of the road--Affiant commenced counted fifteen and did not count all of them--he supposes there were about twenty in all.  As they approached one of three got off his horse and appeared to witness to be fixing the girth of his saddle and remounted again, but very soon dismounted again on the side of his horse opposite to where his father was walking by the side of the wagon, and taking on the shoulders of his horse fired off his gun at father, but witness don’t think the ball struck him, when another one of them fired and his father fell.  Our party soon scattered and eleven of us made our escape.  This affair took place on the 31st day of August last near sun down.  Three days after this we came up with a party of U. States troops under command of Lieut. Livingston & he sent a party of nine persons to aid others to escape if they yet lived, when they returned they reported that they had found five dead bodies, and three are missing including his mother.  His sister about five years old was found with her legs and ears cut-off her eyes gouged out and scalped.

And further saith not.


                                                                                                            Nelson   X  Miltimore


Subscribed and sworn to before me Sept 20th 1859

                                                                                                                        D.R. Eckels

                                                                                                            Chf. Jus. of Supt Ct



Utah Terrioty

Cedar County

            Christopher F. Benz being duly sworn upon his oath states that he resides near Fort Des Moines in the state of Iowa, and came to this territory on business this season.  That during last spring there was a man about whose name he is not positive, but believes it was John Greene, a nephew of Brigham Young, who hired the stock field of this affiant for a few days further use of a large lot of work cattle that he was purchasing to come across the plains.  That while there said Greene showed him a bills of purchases made by him for the Mormon Church to the amount of about a Million of dollars--among the items were ten pieces of Artillery.  That he refused to permit him to look over all the items.  He stated the Government was trying to break up their church (Meaning the Mormon) and they wanted these guns to protect it and keep up their government and there was also 150 or 200 sharps Rifles in these bills. and further saith not.

                                                                                                                        C.F. Benz

Subscribed and sworn to before September 26th 1859

                                                                                                                        D.R. Eckels

                                                                                                            Chf . Jus. of Supr Ct




                                                                                    Office Superintendent Ind. Affr.

                                                                                                Great Salt Lake City U.T.

                                                                                                            October 6, 1859

Hon: A.B. Greenwood;

     Commissioner Ind Affairs

            Washington D.C.


                                    I herewith forward the official Bond properly executed, and oath of Office of William H. Rogers, who has been appointed and Indian Agent for Utah Territory [Bond and oath of office missing].

            Mr Rogers has reported himself ready for duty and I will assign him to such points in the Territory as will be most advantageous to the public interest.

                                                                                                I remain very Respectfully,

                                                                                                            Your obt Servant.

                                                                                                                        J. Forney

                                                                                                            Supt. Ind. Affr. U.T.




The Magnetic Telegraph Company,



Connecting with the Southern, Western, Eastern and Northern

Lines of Morse’s Telegraph.

To the Telegraphing Public.


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WASHINGTON OFFICES--National Hotel, Penn’a Ave.,

Cor. Sixth st.; U.S. Capitol, rear Reporters’ Seats, and

Penn’a Ave., opposite Treasury Building.





Dated New York  10th Nov 1859

Rec’d, Washington, 10th Nov 1859, 10 o’clock, 45 min. A.M.


            To Hon. Commissioner Indian Affairs--

            I arrived here this morning per steamer Atlantic have brought the two widows & four children survivers of Sublette cut off Massacre do you wish to see them if not I shall put them enroute for Missouri tomorrow & report myself Monday morning at the Department Please Answer

                                                                                                F. Dodge Indian Agent

C/G 49/245



                                                                                                            Washington D.C.

                                                                                                                        Nov 25 1859

Hon. A.B. Greenwood

Commissioner of Indian Affs.


                                    Yesterdays overland mail brought me advices from Carson Valley that there was a general stampede of persons from California to the mining localities within my Agency, which devolves on me additional reasons for appealing to your kind consideration on behalf of my Indians, and to the immediate necessity of reserving a sufficient portion of their lands to enable them to sustain life.

            I respectfully suggest that the northwest part of the Valley of the Truckee River including Pyramid Lake, and the northeast part of the Valley of Walkers River including the Lake of the same, be reserved for them, the localities and boundaries of which are indicated on the accompanying map.  These are isolated spots, embracing large fisheries, surrounded by Mountains and Deserts, and will have the advantage of being their home from choice.

            The Indians of my agency linger about the graves of their ancestors--”but the game is gone,” and now, the steady tread of the White Man is upon them.  The green valleys too, once spotted with game “are not theirs now.”  Necessity makes them barter the virtue of their companions as a commodity of the market, and the bitter contemplation burn in their bosoms’ the stern reality of their fate.  Driven by destitution they seek refuge in crime, and show themselves unsparing because they have been unspared.

            I sincerely hope that those asylums will be made for them where they can be free from the influence of the “White Brigands” who loiter about our great Overland Mail and emigrant routes, using them as their instruments to rob and murder our citizens.

                                                                                                            With great respect

                                                                                                                        I am sir

                                                                                                            Your obt. Servt.

                                                                                                                        F. Dodge

                                                                                                            Indian Agent

Letters from Nevada Indian Agents 1849-1861 (1981): 1849;  1850;  1851;  1852;  1853;  1854;  1855;  1856;  1857;  1858;  1859;  1860;  1861