|Testimony taken by the Committee on Indian Affairs|
Washington, D. C., January 8, 1885.ANDREW DRUMM sworn and examined.
By the Chairman:
Question. What is your Christian name?—Answer. My name is Andrew Drumm.
Q. Where do you reside ?—A. Well, sir, what leisure time I have I spend in Kansas City.
By Mr. Cameron:
Q. Where did you say?—A. Kansas City.
By the Chairman :
Q. What business are you engaged in?—A. The cattle business.
Q. How long have you been engaged in that business?—A. Since 1870.
Q. In what part of the country?—A. In Kansas and the Indian Territory.
Q. How much time have you spent in the Indian Territory?—A. Well, sir, I have been there off and on since 1872.
Q. Have you had much dealing with the Indians ?—A. Yes, sir; considerable.
Q. How much in general terms?—A. Ever since they commenced to collect a revenue on the Cherokee Strip. I think I got the first tax receipt on the strip.
Q. For money you paid?—A. Yes, sir; that was when we paid so much on the head to the Cherokee Nation.
Q. Are you now interested in any lease in the. Indian Territory?—A. Yes, sir.
Q. Where is it located?—A. On the Cherokee Strip.
Q. Have you a lease in your own name ?—A. The firm is Drumm & Snider.
Q. Who is Snider?—A. He is a gentleman who lives in; Kansas City.
Q. Are any others interested in the lease?—A. No sir.
Q. How large a tract of land does it cover?—A. Well sir, I cannot answer correctly; but it contains one hundred and some odd thousand acres—somewhere about 120,000 acres.
Q. In general terms, where is it located?—A. It is adjacent to the State line of Kansas and due south of Barbour County in that State.
Q. What streams run through it?—A. Medicine River, Salt Fork, and Driftwood.
Q. What is the character of the land?—A. It varies a great deal.
Q. Have you personal knowledge of it?—A. Yes, sir; certainly. I have been over it repeatedly.
Q. In what particular does it vary?—A. Some of it is composed of sand hills and salt and alkali plains.
Q. What proportion of it is fit for agricultural purposes?—A. I declare I cannot say.
Q. Can't you approximate it?—A. I would not like to approximate it.
Q. Is half of it agricultural land?—A. Yes, sir; I should think that about half of it is agricultural land.
Q. What is the date of your lease?—A. My lease from the association is dated, I think, October, 1883.
Q. How long is it to continue?—A. For five years.
Q. Have you brought your sublease with you?—A. No, sir; but the general lease is here.
Q. Are they all alike?—A. Yes, sir.
By Mr. Harrison:
Q. The association took the whole strip and subleased it?—A. Yes, sir.
By the Chairman :
Q. Do you believe they all have the same form?—A. Precisely, sir.
Q. What do you pay per acre?—A. Two and one-half cents.
Q. For what time?—A. For such time as the directors deem it necessary in order to pay the rental to the Cherokee Nation and other necessary expenses.
Q. When they conclude that it is no longer necessary, what then?—A. The lease will explain the whole thing. You will find that if there is an excess in the treasury it will be refunded to each member of the association proportionally.
Q. Are you one of the original lessees?—A. Yes, sir.
Q. The profits of the association are for the benefit of the members ?—A. It is a mutual association, and the profits are for the benefit of the members.
Q. Will you give us the names of the parties who compose the original association?—A. Charles H. .Eldred, R. D. Hunter. S. Tuttle, J. W. Hamilton, Benjamin S. Miller, M. H. Bennett, A. J. Day, A. Drumm, E. M. Hewing, and E. W. Payne.
Q. These parties took the whole strip, and subsequently divided it in the manner indicated by this form?—A. Yes, sir.
Q. Have any of you sublet your ranges?—A. No, sir; but I think some men have sold out, and other parties have stepped into their shoes. I would like to have Mr. Blair, our secretary, explain this to you, gentlemen.
The Chairman . We will get as much out of you as we can first, and then we will call Mr. Blair to the stand.
Q. Were you present when the lease was obtained from the Cherokees?—A. Yes, sir.
Q. Who else?—A. Mr. Charles H. Eldred.
Q. Where does he belong?—A. He belongs, I think, in Kansas; he resides there, I think.
Q. Where were you when this lease was executed ?
The Witness. You mean the Cherokee lease?
The Chairman . Yes, sir.
The Witness. I was in Kansas City.
Q. Who represented the Indians there?—A. No one.
Q. You were not down there when the lease was signed ?—A. No, sr; I was not at Tallequah when the lease was signed, but Mr. Eldred was.
Q. You do not understand my question. I asked were you there when the lease was obtained?—A . Yes, sir, I was; but when it was signed by Mr. Bushyhead I was not.
Q. Was there any one else there but Mr. Eldred?—A. No, sir; except our attorney.
Q. Did he represent this particular association?—A. Yes, sir; I went with him as far as Fort Gibson; then Mr. Eldred and the attorney determined to let me go home, because I had some pressing business to attend to.
Q. Who was the attorney?—A. Mr. E. C. Wilson.
Q. The association was formed before the negotiation was commenced?—A. Yes, sir; some months before.
Q. Had the members any communication with the Indians beforehand that led to the formation of the association itself?—A. Well, sir, negotiations for the lease commenced after the association was formed; I am satisfied of that.
Q. Was not the association formed for that expressed purpose?—A. We wanted to fence this land in, and we had to get a special act to put up fences. We had already some fences, but they were ordered down before the execution of this lease.
Q. What, if anything, had the association to do with this strip? Had they been occupying any portion of it?—A. Yes, sir.
Q. Will you describe the manner in which they occupied it?—A. Every man had what was said to be his own range, and they all had what we call line riders, who road the lines on their respective ranges.
Q. On what terms were the lands occupied before this lease?—A. Previous to the lease we paid so much a head for an animal.
Q. Was it a fixed price for all?—A. Well, sir, we paid forty cents a head for grown cattle and twenty-five cents for all under two years old.
Q. That was all the year?—A. Yes, sir.
Q. Did the men who occupied this land occupy in common under this previous arrangement or did each one have his particular range?—A. Each one had his particular range.
By Mr. Harrison :
Q. After the lease was made, did you conform as near as might be to this previous arrangement?—A. Yes, sir; there was a great deal of litigation when the land was divided up.
By the Chairman :
Q. What do you mean by litigation?—A. Some parties claimed more territory than they ought to have. My neighbor said I had gone over on him. These questions all came before a board of arbitrators appointed by the directors of the Cherokee Live-Stock Association.
Q. Before the lease was made, what protection did you have?—A. There was no protection. We had to protect our own ranges. The Cherokees who collected the tax knew very little about the lease.
Q. How much in the aggregate was paid to the Cherokee Nation before the lease was made?—A. I think about $32,000 in 1883. That was their net receipts.
Q. How was it previous to that?—A. They received nothing. The second year they received about $12.000. The first year the man who collected the tax brought in a bill of $600 against the Cherokee Nation. He was that much behind.
By Mr. Harrison :
Q. He took all he collected?—A. Well, sir, I mean that he did not get money enough to pay his expenses. That is what I understand. How much he took and appropriated to himself I do not know.
By the Chairman :
Q. What is the name of that thrifty man? I should like to see him.—A. His name is Bell.
Q. Where does he reside?—A. In Vinita.
Q. Is he in the business of collecting now?—A. No, sir; that was his last year.
Q. He rounded up then, did he?—A. Yes, sir.
Mr. Harrison. Paragraph four of the blank lease I have before me is the one that relates to the lease. It reads as follows :
Further, as it is the intention of the party of the first part to lease the lands above demised unto the party of the second part at the same rate per acre as the same shall cost the said first party, as set out by the terms of the lease between the first party and Dennis W. Bushyhead, principal chief aforesaid, together with all expenses and sums of money heretofore paid out., or hereafter to be paid out on account of the same, in the performance of their duties as trustees, it is agreed by the party of the first part that in case the sums above agreed to be paid, and as evidenced by the promissory notes aforesaid, shall, upon the annual settlements of the first party as trustees, prove in excess of the actual pro rata annual cost of the same to said first party, that the excess thereof shall be credited to the account of the second party, on the books of the said first party, and returned at each January settlement subsequent to the 1st day of January, 1884. And said second party agrees that in case the sums agreed to be paid as above are insufficient to meet all the cost and expenses on account of said lands had by the party of the first part in relation thereto, that he will pay to said first party such further and additional sum as will fully reimburse the first party for such cost and expenses. The books and sworn statement of the book-keeper of the first party to be full and conclusive evidence of the cost and charges of said first party on account of said land, and to be conclusive and binding upon said second party. Nothing in this condition contained shall release said second party from the payment of the full amount of the notes aforesaid at the time the same become due and payable according to their terms.
Mr. Harrison, Mr. Chairman , this is a blank and it might go in as a part of the record.
Mr. Gorman. If it is not included in the document we have here I suggest that the whole had better be entered. (See "Documents" for this form.)
By the Chairman :
Q. Is there any one here today who would be able to tell us who are the present occupants of this land?—A. I think so.
Q. Is there any one who can give us the entire statistics in regard to the matter?—A. No, sir; I do not think any one can give you the number of men interested in this strip. We can give the names of companies, but it would be bard to get the names of all who own stock.
By Mr. Harrison:
Q. I would like to know whether the treasurer or book-keeper, who keeps the accounts, is here?—A. Yes, sir.
Q. Who is he?— A. Mr. Blair.
Q. I will ask this question : What has been the expense of the association up to this time, including the rental?—A. I do not know.
Q. Have you had any credits given by reason of an excess?—A. Not that I know of. I have never looked at the books.
Q. You do not know whether you have received any credit for excess?—A. No, sir.
Q. Have you been called upon to pay any excess?—A. No, sir.
Q. What has been the rate per acre to the association ?—A. It was less than 2 cents per acre.
Q. You paid $100,000 for 6,000,000 acres?—A. Yes, sir.
Q. That is less than two cents?—A. Yes, sir, but I want to explain that there was a number of acres of land upon the strip contained in the trails that run through it from which the association receives no rental at all, that we did not occupy. It is occupied by the Cherokee Nation—the Salt Plains, for instance.
Q. Do you know of any money being distributed to secure this lease from the Cherokee Nation?—A. No, sir.
Q. Do you know whether any pool of money was made up by the association when they went to get this lease?—A. No, sir.
Q. Did you make any contribution to such a pool?—A. No, sir; there was no money in the treasury when this lease was secured. That is my impression, but I may be mistaken. I do not think there was a dollar in the treasury. We had an association before we obtained the lease, but I do not think we had any money in our treasury. but I will not state it positively.
Q. From your own personal knowledge, about how much per head did the association pay for cattle on this land before this lease was obtained? That is, I mean, how much did the Cherokees think they ought to get?—About how much per head per annum?—A. Well, sir, that would depend upon the kind of conscience these parties had.
Q. Well, I want to know what the average conscience was?—A. Well, sir, I am poor on the average. [Laughter.] I am very confident no man gave more than he had.
Q. We want to get at the comparative value of these two arrangements, and I ask you to state your judgment upon the subject. Were they getting twenty-five cents a head?—A. I do not think they were.
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