Testimony taken by the Committee on Indian Affairs - 1885
Testimony taken by the Committee on Indian Affairs
1885


A. G. EVANS.

Washington, D. C., January 6, 1885.
A. G. EVANS sworn and examined.
By the Chairman :
Question. Where do you reside?—Answer. In Saint Louis.
Q. Have you any interest in the lease of Indian lauds?—A. Yes, sir.
Chairman . State your interest.
Witness. I hold a lease in the Cheyenne and Arapahoe reservation.
Q. Is it a separate lease in your own name?—A. Yes, sir; it is in my own name.
Q. How much territory do you occupy?—A. Four hundred and fifty-six thousand and some hundred acres, adjoining Mr. Hunter. I have the lease in my pocket.
(Witness submits lease.)
Q. What is the date of the lease?—A.. January 8, 1883.
Q. For how many years does it run ?—A. Ten years.
Q. At what rental?—A. Two cents per acre.
Q. Did you negotiate it yourself with the Indians?—A. Yes, sir; I negotiated it through the agent, Miles.
Q. Were you there at the time?—A. Yes, sir; I went there to get a lease, but I was not there when the Indians signed, or when the terms were agreed upon.
Q. Who represented you?—A. Mr. Miles did it for me. It was done in council, December, 1882.
Q. Did you pay Mr. Miles anything?—A. No, sir.
Q. Did Mr. Miles have any communication with the Department on the subject?—A. Yes, sir; I think he did.
Q. To what purpose?—A. I do not know exactly; but it was in relation to this land.
Q. You do not know what the import of the letter was?—A. No, sir.
Q. What did he say of the view of the Department in reference to leases?—A. I do not remember that he expressed any view in regard to them.
Q. What do you understand to be the attitude of the Government of the United States towards the transaction?—A. I understand the Secretary was in favor of the land being leased.
Q. Do you know whether Agent Miles communicated the terms of the lease to the Department before its final execution?—A. Yes, sir; I think so.
Q. Did you understand that it met the approval of the Department—did not object to the terms of the lease?—A. That was my understanding.
Q. Which was?—A. That the Department did not object.
Q. Did you understand that the Department did as much as to approve the terms?—A. My understanding was that the Secretary of the Interior objected to approving the leases.
Q. How did you come at a proper rental! What was the negotiation that led to that?—A. We had a talk in council with the Indians.
Q. Was there anybody in competition with you?—A. Do not think there was any competition.
Q. There was quite a number of persons trying to get leases at the same time. Did not that lead to competition?—A. It might be termed competition.
Q. What other name could you give it?—A. Well, sir, the price offered by us was the highest price that was paid at the time.
Q. How did you succeed in getting the lease?—A. I suppose we made our application first.
Q. Had you had dealings with them before?—A. We had furnished beef to the Government before.
Q. So you were to some extent familiar with the Indians' life and character of their land ?—A. Yes, sir.
Q. Did you go over this land?—A. Yes, sir. I had never been over the particular part where the leases are, but I had been over other portions of the country.
Q. How many payments of rental have you made?—A. We have made four payments. We have the receipts here.
Q. Did you make the payments in person?—A. No, sir ; we sent parties down there to make the payments and get receipts.
Q. Do you know the method in which the payments were made?—A. No, sir. I have no personal knowledge of it.
Q. Have you been disturbed by the Indians?—A. Well, sir, they have only depredated on our stock, killing the beef occasionally.
Q. But I understand a considerable number of cattle have been killed by Indians. What do you do to stop it?—A. We feel helpless in reĀ­gard to protection.
Q. Have you appealed to the Department?—A. Informally; we have made complaints to the agents.
Q. What has he done?—A. He said he had written frequently to the Department in regard to it.
Q. Do you mean the present agent?—A. Yes, sir.
Q. What is his name?—A. D. B. Dyer.
Q. Did you write to Mr. Miles upon the subject, also?—A. Well, we had no stock there when he was in office.
Q. What does Mr. Dyer say he gets in reply to his communications to the Department?—A. He said he had written several letters, but had never received a reply.
Q. Did be say he had done anything in order to protect you?—A. Nothing other than that.
Q. Is anybody else besides you interested in this lease?—A. Yes, sir; Colonel Hunter.
Q. No one else?—A. No, sir.
Q. Do you know enough about the character of the land to be able to say how much stock it will support?—A. Yes, sir; an animal to every twenty acres.
Q. That would be five to a hundred acres, or fifty to a thousand acres?—A. Yes, sir.
Q. You have to feed the cattle in winter, do you not?—A. No, sir.
Q. What buildings have you put up?—A. Only ordinary shanties made of poles.
Q. How many employés have you'd—A. We employ about fifteen Men,
Q. Any of them Indians?—A. No, sir; we have never employed any Indians.
Q. Where do you get the timber you have to use?—A. On the land.
Q. What kind of timber is there there?—A. There is quite a variety—cedar, oak, elm, and ash.
Q. Has any timber been taken from the land you have leased for any purpose, except for fencing?—A. No, sir; not that I know of.
Q. Did you pay anybody to aid in getting this lease?—A. No person whatever, sir.
Q. Did you know of any of these Indians getting any more than any other Indians?—A. No, sir.
Q. You do not know of any Indian getting any more than the rest for the part he took in getting the lease for you?—A. No, sir; I never heard of any one getting anything.
Q. Did any official at the agency receive anything from you?—A. No, sir; not from me.
Q. Or from anybody else, to your knowledge?—A. Not that I have ever heard.

By Mr. Walker:

Q. Two cents is all you ever paid or agreed to pay for obtaining the lease or for the lease itself?— A. That is all, sir.
Q You never agreed to pay anything more than that to any one?—A. No, sir.

By the Chairman :

Q. Do you allude to your leases anywhere else when you state that you have never paid anything, or never agreed to pay anything?—A. We have land on the Cherokee Strip.
Q. From whom do you lease it?—A. From the Cherokee Strip Live Stock Association.
Q. Did the parties who are contesting with you agree to pay as much as two cents per acre?—A. I do not know, sir.
Q. Did they offer to pay two cents per acre?—A. I do not know what they did offer.

By Mr. Ingalls :

Q. How much fencing have you done?—A. About one hundred miles of fencing.
Q. What portion of the 450,000 acres is inclosed?—A. All is inclosed.
Q. What kind of fencing?—A. With wire fences of four strands.
Q. Barbed wire?—A. Yes, sir.
Q. What is the expense per mile of such fences?—A. In the neighborhood of $200 a mile.
Q. Then it has cost nearly $20,000?—A. Yes, sir; and more than that, taking our fencing and other expense together.
Q. How much do all of your expenses aggregate?—A. About $35,000.

By Mr. Cameron:

Q. What number of cattle have you on the Cheyenne and Arapahoe lands?—A. About 8,000 head. Of that we brought a part there, and then we have some cattle we have taken to pasture for the winter in addition to this.
Q. What inducement did Mr. Miles hold out to the Indians to cause them to consent to the execution of the lease?—A. I do not know, sir, further than that it would be a good thing; that it would bring them in revenue. He said he told them in the council that the lands were idle; that the grass was burning up, and that they got nothing for the land.

By the Chairman :

Q. Is there such a firm as Hunter, Evans & Slaughter?—A. Yes, sir; Mr. Slaughter is interested with us in the cattle we have on the leases.
Q. He is not interested in the lease?—A. No, sir; only in the cattle.
The Chairman . I see this lease reads: "It is agreed and understood that the rent shall begin ninety days from date of the approval of this lease by the Secretary of the Interior."
The Witness. Yes, sir.
Q. It was never approved by the Secretary?—A. No, sir.

By Mr. Harrison:

Q. It was not to take effect without his approval. Did you get the approval?—A. Yes, sir.
Q. How?—A. The leases were brought on to Washington By Mr. Hunter, and he interviewed the Secretary of the Interior, and the Secretary said be could not approve them officially, because he had no authority to do so.
Q. Did he make a distinction between a tacit consent and official approval?—A. Yes, sir.
Q. And so you concluded to waive that point and take the chances?—A. Yes, sir; we determined to take the chance and we paid the rental in advance. It was not in the contract to pay any rent in advance, but we have done it and have made all our payments in advance.
Mr. Harrison. Again the lease reads, "and it shall be the duty of the Indian Department and the Indians to see that the said Albert G. Evans, his heirs or assigns, shall have the privilege of holding cattle on the within described tract of land as he or they shall faithfully comply with the terms of this lease."So far as that expressed an obligation on the part of the Indian Department, you had no guarĀ­antee?—A. No, sir.
Q. You expected the Indian Department would undertake that obligation and that the Secretary would give his formal approval?—A. Yes, sir.
Q. And not getting that, you went on with it anyhow?—A. Yes, sir.

By the Chairman :

Q. Was it the understanding of the Indians that the lease would be approved?—A. Yes, sir; I suppose it was.

By Mr. Ingalls:


Q. How did you derive the information that the Secretary and the Indian Department approved the lease?—A. Well, sir, just from the fact that we thought the Government would endeavor to do what they could for the Indians, and what they thought was the best thing.
Q. You had no assurances?—A. No, sir.

By Mr. Harrison :

Q. What became of Mr. Miles?—A. His term expired or he was removed, I do not know which.
Q. Did he remain there?—A. No, sir; he lives at Lawrence, Kans.
Q. Is he in the cattle business?—A. I do not know.
Q. You negotiated this lease through him?—A. Yes, sir.

By Mr. Walker:

Q. You pay semi-annually in advance?—A. Yes, sir.
Q. But you are not required by the terms of the contract to pay in advance?—A. No, sir.
Q. Why do you pay in advance?—A. Because the Indians seem to need the money. We made one payment of $6,500 in May.
Q. Is that the only reason you paid in advance?—A. Yes, sir; because we thought they needed it; and we would make friends by it. We made the first payment in May and the last was made in January.

By Mr. Ingalls :

Q. Do you suffer by depredations—to what extent? Have you any estimate?—A. No, sir; we have lost a good many cattle, and before the fences were made a good many drifted among the Indians, but we do not know how many.

By Mr. Harrison :

Q. You have not paid any part of the rent in cattle?—A. No, sir.

By Mr. Cameron :

Q. Was the agent present at the time the payments were being made?—A. That is my understanding.
The Chairman . Mr. Dyer stated that he was present when the rents were paid. He was here before the recess and I took his deposition.
A. Yes, sir; Mr. Dyer has been present at the payments, but I do not know whether he was present at this particular one or not—that is, the first payment.
Q. Do you know any of these other firms who have gotten leases?—A. Yes, sir.
Q. Would you give the names of some of them?—A. Well, there are Fenlon & Company and the C. and A. Cattle Company.
Q. What does that stand for?—A. Cheyenne and Arapahoe, and the Wichita Cattle Company is another. Mr. York is the general manager of the company.
Q. Who comprises that company?—A. York and Parker. I do not know the others.
Q. Do you know the Cheyenne and Arapahoe Company?—A. Yes, sir.
Q. Who comprises that company?—A. I know Mr. Fenlon is one of that company. He is here.
Q. Do you know any other of these parties?—A. No, sir.
Q. Do you know the firm of Wood and Bagley?—A. Yes, sir.
Q. Who comprises that firm ?—A. Thomas Wood and T. Bagley. They are sub-lessees.
Q. Of whom ?—A. I do not know.
Q. Do you know the firm of Cromwell & Van Eaton ?—A. No, sir; I do not know them.
Q. Do you know the firm of Bennett, Reynolds & Company s—A. Yes, sir. They have the land east of this lease of ours.
Q. Do you know the Austin Cattle Company ?—A. No, sir.
Q. Do you know the Dickey Brothers?—A. I know them. They are on the northern part of the Cheyenne and Arapaho Reservation; partly in the Cheyenne and Arapaho, and partly in the Cherokee Strip. It is the firm of Dickey Brothers, and some one else I do not know.
Q. Do you know the firm of Wood, Plumb & Company ?—A. No, sir.

By Mr. Harrison:

Q. Is any one connected in any capacity with the Government interested in these leases?—A. I do not know.

By Mr. Gorman :

Q. What led to Mr. Miles acting as your agent?—A We asked him to do so.
Q. What were your relations with him f—A. We had no business whatever. He was the agent of these Indians and we thought he could transact the business better than any one else.
Q. He became your agent to the exclusion of all the others, was he not?—A. I do not know. He might have been agent for others.
Q. But he acted as your agent?—A. Yes, sir.
Q. At the same time others were making a bid for the Territory?—A. Probably there were others.

By the Chairman :

Q. How could he act for you and tin. others too?—A. Well, we just asked him to act and we put in our application to him. We made our application to him, or to the Indians through him.
Q. Did you have any 'communication with Mr. Miles before this time in regard to the leases?—A. He wrote that he was going to call a council and wanted us to come down, but we could not go. Mr. Fenlon went down; I got there a little too late to see the Indians in council.
Q. Who was Mr. Miles acting for in council?—A. For the Indians, I suppose.
Q. If these men were not there in person the Indians had their own way?—A. Their applications were in, and I suppose they acted on that.
Q. If these parties were not there, who was there for the Indians to negotiate with?—A. Mr. Miles was present, representing the Indians, standing in their shoes, speaking for them and for their interests.
Q. But who was there speaking for the other side?—A. We put our applications in, and he represented the matter to them, and they agreed to make the leases.
Q. I want to know whether you consider him as acting for you?—A. Not especially; only we put in our applications to him as agent.
Q. Were other applications put in?—A. There might have been other applications put in.

By Mr. Cameron :

Q. Did you bargain for the particular tract of land?—A. Yes, sir; but we did not get exactly what we wanted.
Q. Who was there to represent you in determining what particular tract of land you would come out as lessees of ?—A. Well, sir, there was no one to represent us particularly. My understanding was that Agent Miles represented to the Indians that he thought it would be a good idea to lease three millions of acres, embracing a certain scope of country, dividing it up among parties who would take it in plots and pay for it. Mr. Fenlon, I believe, got the choice of the land.

By Mr. Harrison :

Q. Who prepared the agreement, and so forth?—A. They were prepared at the agency, I suppose, by Miles. He prepared the agreements for all the lessees, I think.
Q. Do I understand that the lessees made any acknowledgment to him for this service in presents, or any compensation of any kind?—A. I do not remember anything of the kind.
Q. Was anything offered?—A. I did not offer him anything.
Q. Did he do it gratuitously or in his capacity as agent?—A. I suppose he did it as agent.

By the Chairman :

Q. This lease was made in January, 1883?—A. Yes, sir.
Q. When did the agent leave?—A. I do not know when he left, but probably about a year ago. I am not certain, but some time last year.
Q. Did he resign?—Yes, sir; I think he resigned.
Q. Has the Secretary a copy of this lease?—A. I do not know, sir.
Q. Are all the leases of the Cheyenne and Arapahoe lands alike? Do you know whether the Secretary has a copy of any of them?—A. I think the agent sent him a copy of the lease.
The Chairman . Probably there is a copy in the papers which came to the committee to-day. If so, I do not know whether they have been presented to the Senate or not.

By Mr. Harrison:

Q. Did you say you had some pay-rolls or receipts?—A. Yes, sir; we have the receipts f the money we have already paid. We have not the receipts for the last payment which was made in November. Agent Dyer was absent and he has not sent us the receipts yet.

By Mr. Bowen :

Q. State whether or not it is the custom of persons having business with the Indians to apply to the agent?—A. I think it is the custom. The application was made first to the Secretary of the Interior, and he referred us to the Indians as the proper ones to get a lease from.
(Mr. Harrison examines the receipts.)

By Mr. Harrison:

Q. The receipts I have here seem to be signed by the chiefs and head-men?—A. Yes, sir.
Q. Is the money paid to them or divided up?—A. It is divided among the families. That is my understanding. The money is paid, so much for a family, on the regular pay-roll of the tribe.

By Mr. Gorman:

Q. Has Agent Miles any interest in these leases?—A. None that I know of.
Q. Has he any interest in the cattle?—A. None that I know of.

By Mr. Cameron :

Q. You know whether he has any interest in your own cattle?—A. No, sir; he has no interest in our cattle.
Q. He had a family, had he not a son-in-law, for instance?—A. Yes, sir. he was a clerk in the Department there—
Q. Did he have any cattle in the range?—A. I never heard so.
Q. Have you heard of anybody around the agency who had herds independent of these lessees?—A. I do not know of any one.
Q. Is there not a school herd?—A. There was, but I do not know whether they kept it up or not. I know they did have such a herd, which they call the school herd; that they grazed near the agency.
Q. Did you know anything about the herds the individual Indians have?—A. No, sir.
Q. Do you know a half-breed Indian who had a large herd there?—A. I understand a Mr. Bent had a herd; also some other half-breeds have some cattle, I believe.
Q. Are they lessees?—A. I do not think they are.
Q. Where do they herd their cattle?—A. Some distance from the agency, on the reservation.

By Mr. Harrison:

Q. They are members of this tribe?—A. That is my understanding.

By the Chairman :

Q. There is some land not leased, I believe?—A. Yes, sir; there is land outside the leases, and on this land these men have their cattle.
Q. With what success do they herd cattle?—A. I suppose those half-breeds are prosperous with their stock; they ought to be; they understand how to manage and handle them.
Q. Do they employ other Indians to help them?—A. Yes, sir; I suppose they employ other Indians to help them. Their Indian blood enables them to work a full-breed better than a white man could.
Q. Could an Indian himself be brought about to be a successful herder?—A. I do not think they could, sir. If taken young and away from the tribe they might possibly make good herders; but I would hate to trust one of them as herdman.
Q. Could they be employed under white men?—A. Yes, sir.
Q Would they make as reliable herders as white men?—A. No, sir; not as reliable.
Q. Would they be willing to work for wages?—A. We have hired some to do hauling, but it is hard to get them to work.
Q. You mean the Cheyenne and Arapahoe?—A. Yes, sir.
Q. They are not very industrious, then—that is, comparatively speaking?—A. No, sir.


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