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


THOMAS E. BERRY.

Washington, D. C., January 20, 1885.
THOMAS E. BERRY sworn and examined.
By the Chairman :
Question. Where do you reside?—Answer. I resided for the last six years, until the first of July last, in the Indian Territory.
Q. What was your residence before that time?—A. Before I went to the Territory I lived in Arkansas City, Kans., and I was appointed from that place as licensed trader to the Pawnees in the spring of 1877.
Q. What has been your business?—A. Trading, merchandising, and stock-raising; the first four years I was on the Pawnee Reservation; the next two years with the Shawnees, who are under the Sac and Fox Agency.
Q. Had you lived among the Indians before that time?—A. No, sir.
Q. Have you any knowledge of any of the leases of the Indian lands to cattlemen?—A I know something about some of them.
Q. Have you any interest, in any of them?—A. I have a sublease.
Q. Where is that?—A. It is a sublease of a small piece of land on the. Cherokee strip.
Q. Did you sublease from this general association?—A. Yes, sir.
Q. Did you take it directly from them or have you become interested since?—A. I took it directly from the association.
Q. Anybody interested in this land beside yourself?—A. Yes, sir; Berry Brothers.
Q. How many are there?—A. Two brothers.
Q. Where do they reside?—A. One of them is on the range and the other is living in Kansas.
Q. Does your brother have the management of the range?—A. We all have the management of it, but. the one who remains on the range is in personal charge.
Q. How many acres does it contain?—A. Twenty-nine thousand eight hundred and odd acres.
Q. That is small as compared with some others, is it not?—A. Yes, sir.
Q. How many head of cattle have you?—A. We have nearly 2,000 head there.
Q. The land, then, would support 2,000 head of cattle?—A. Yes, sir; I think so.
Q. Is it about the ordinary quality of land in the strip?—A. Yes, sir; we think so. There is nothing specially good about it.
Q. Would that be about a fair number of cattle for any 29,000 acres of this strip?—A. Well, I could not say. They estimate different numbers; some estimate about 15 acres to the head, and some less and some more. I think it would be a plenty for that range.
Q. Would it be about fair for the rest of the strip?—A. Yes, sir; as far as my knowledge goes.
Q. What do you pay for the land ?—A. We paid 2½ cents for the first six months; since then we paid 1 cents.
Q. You paid for the first six months 2½ cents; then, how came you to pay more the first six months than since?—A. Because I understood it was for expenses, and for the first six months’ payment to the Cherokee Nation.
Q. The first six to the Cherokee Nation for the lease and the expense of obtaining the lease. Did you understand how much that expense was?—A. Well, sir, I understood they wanted to raise $100,000 $50,000 to be paid to the Cherokees for six months’ rental in advance, and the other $50,000 for expenses incurred in obtaining the lease.
Q. This $50,000 was paid in advance?—A. Yes, sir.
Q. You paid them the first installment in advance?—A. Yes, sir; I paid 2½ cents per acre in advance.
Q. And you understood it was to raise the first installment of rent?—A. Yes, sir; I understood that the 2½ cents was to raise $100,000. I understood that there were about 6,000,000 acres in the strip, and a great many acres were not covered by subleases, and it required 2½ cents assessment for the first six months in order to meet this rental to the Cherokee Nation, and to pay the expenses incurred in procuring the lease.
Q. From. whom did you understand that $100,000 was needed?—A. Well, sir, I understood it at the stock meeting.
Q. Was it stated in the stock meeting?—A. It was stated by members in the crowd.
Q. To whom did you pay it?—A. I paid it to the secretary and treasurer. Mr. Blair was one of the gentlemen.
Q. Did they represent to you that it was necessary to pay that large sum?—A. They told me that was what my share amounted to, and it was necessary to raise that amount.
Q. One hundred thousand dollars would have been enough to pay the Cherokees for a year?—A. Yes, sir; that was what I understood.
Q. This money was raised at the stock meeting before they went down to obtain the lease, was it not?—A. No, sir; it was at the time the lease took effect. We were notified that at such a time the lease would take effect, and we were expected to come up and make our settlement. After the lease was obtained we came up and completed our arrangement.
Q. They said that $100,000 was required to set the mill agoing?—A. Yes, sir; so I understood it.
Q. Fifty thousand dollars for expenses and $50,000 for the Chero­kees?—A. Yes, sir.
Q. Did you learn what was the account of expenses?—A. I did not ask such a question.
Q. Did you never stop to inquire whether lawyers were as expensive as that down there?—A. No, sir.
Q. You considered it a good thing?—A. Yes, sir; we were glad to get it at that rate.
Q. Have any number of the lessees sold out to other parties?—A. Some have.
Q. Did they sacrifice their interest, or get an advance?—A. Most of them had an advance, I think.
Q. How much advance did you get?—A. I got over and above what I paid some $800.
Q. When did you-sell yours?—A. I sold mine some 12 months after I obtained it.
Q. Have you any interest there now?—A. No, sir.
Q. You sold out the Berry Brothers lease. To whom did you sell it?—A. To the firm of Carrollton, Van Auskirk & Couch.
Q. Where did they live?—A. They lived in the Territory. Carrollton is the leader of this Oklahoma Company.
Q. They are citizens of Kansas?—A. Yes, sir.
Q. Did each of you get $800 in advance of what you had paid for your lease?—A. No, sir; all three of us got about $800.
Q. Had you made any payment?—A. We made a payment. The lease appears as ours yet. It has not been transferred on the books of the company, but we sold it.
Q. Did you make both payments in advance?—A. Yes, sir; we made two payments in advance, and then we sold out.
Q. You sold for a price which reimbursed you, and paid $800 in advance. Have you heard of other sales?—A. Yes, sir; I have heard of a great many sales, but I do not know anything personally about them.
Q. Do you know of any where the parties received as much in advance in proportion as you received?—A. Well, sir, the leases are considered to be worth more than they cost.
Q. Do you know of any persons selling at a higher price than yourselves?—A. I think I heard of it.
Q. How much higher did you hear of any being sold?—A. I cannot state, sir.
The Chairman . Some one said he sold his subleases at $18,000 in advance.
The Witness. I do not know anything about that. I have heard of some acquaintances of mine who had made a nice thing by selling their subleases, but what the advance was I do not know.
Q. What is your opinion in regard to the rental? Do you think it was a fair one at the time the lease was made?—A. In comparison with what the Cherokees had been getting it was better.
Q. They had not been able to realize much at all before?—A. No, sir.
Q. Do you think that it was as fair a bargain as they could have made?—A. I have no knowledge of what they could or might have done. It was certainly better than they did before.
Q. Did you enter into this association before the lease was obtained?—A. I had stock upon the land.
Q. Did you pay any tax?—A. No, sir; I had not paid tax.
Q. There were a good many who did not pay tax, were there not?—A. I think there was.
Q. When did you first come into the arrangement, to be one of the lessees?—A. At the time the lease took effect. I think it was October the first.
Q. You found that the tract of land you occupied was leased to these nine men or directors, and then you came into the arrangement yourselves. Did you know anything about their getting the lease before­hand?—A. No, sir; nothing, except through the papers. It was said that such a lease was to be made, or that parties were endeavoring to make it.
Q. Did you understand how they got it?—A. No, sir; we understood that these nine men were leasing in trust for the members of the association who occupied it.
Q. So you considered them to act in one sense for you?—A. Yes, sir.
Q. You trusted them to do absolute justice between the association and the Indians?—A. Yes, sir.
Q. You had confidence in them?—A. Yes, sir; we thought they would take care of both ends of the case. I had no evidence which would justify me in thinking that they did not do fair.
Q. Now, Mr. Berry, looking at the thing as a disinterested man, who has sold out his interest, which side do you think they took care of the best?—A. Well, sir, I do not know.
Q. Do you think it was a good bargain for the Indians as well as for the stockmen?—A. It was, as compared, with what the Indians had been getting before, a good bargain for them, and in fact, for the other parties.
Q. How was it if you compared it with what the Indians had an opportunity to do?—A. I do not know what they had the opportunity to do; but compared with the past it was a good thing.
Q. Did you employ any Indians to help you?—A. Yes, sir; I have employed them.
Q. Did you find them good workmen?—A. We have found some of them very good men.
Q. How many have you employed?—A. Sometimes two or three at a time; sometimes one, and sometimes none at all.
Q. Do you think that they can make good herders?—A. Yes, sir; some of them can.
Q. What did you pay them?—A. We generally paid them the same amount that we paid white people, sometimes more.
Q. Do you perceive any difficulty in an Indian being brought up to become a herder himself?—A. No sir; I do not. If he could be brought up to take a good herd for himself the profits would be his own. I have found them well adapted to stock-raising.
Q. Would not that policy realize more to the Indians than leasing the land? Would you advise the Indians to lease their lands to white men, and to take the rental per capita?—A. I do not think it is a good thing to do.
Q. What, instead of that, would you advise to be done?—A. I would advise that they be taught, as much as possible, self-reliance, dependence on their own resources, and to utilize their own soil.
Q. Would you push them into work?—A. Well, sir, different Indians require different treatment. Some will stand pushing and some will not.
Q. In the case of the Cherokees, would it have been a difficult thing to induce them to go personally into the matter of raising stock?—A. No, sir.
Q. Would it have been better for them than leasing?—A. That would be a hard question to answer. It would have been better for a great many persons in the Cherokee country. but there are poor people there who could not take advantage of the grazing, while others, with the help of outside capital, would monopolize the entire country.
Q. With a wise supervision, could it in time have been brought to be a profitable arrangement? —A. Yes, sir.
Q. As profitable in the long run as the present one?—A. Yes, sir.
Q. You think they realize more now than by any other system they have heretofore adopted?—A. Yes, sir.
Q. Do you know of any wrong having been done them in this mat­ter?—A. I do not, sir.
Q. Has this matter been managed by these nine men?—A. They are at the head of the association.
Q. Now you are out of it, do you see anything to criticize in their management?—A. I have no reason to complain of-them.
Q. When they talked over the necessity of having $100,000, didn’t they state how this large sum of $50,000 for expenses came about?—A. It was said that these men had advanced out of their money large amounts in procuring this lease, and it was necessary for the lessees to reimburse them.
Q. Did they state how much they had advanced?—A. It was my understanding that $45,000 was necessary to reimburse these parties, and $5,000 for their expenses.
Q. You think it was stated there that they had expended $45,000, and they wanted that reimbursed to them, and $5,000 for their own expenses?—A. Yes, sir.
Q. Did you think that a reasonable amount?—A. I did not think that these parties were unreasonable. I paid, at least, without grumbling.
Q. You did not inquire into the details of the matter?—A. No, sir; I did not. I did not consider that I had any right to know where every dollar had been expended.
Q. What was there that led you to think you had no right to know where every dollar had gone?—A. Well, we do not generally ask such questions.
Q. Was it generally understood that it was a matter about which inquiry had better not be made?—A. It was so understood by me, and heard through talking about it, that it was all straight, and that the money had been actually spent, and of course those gentlemen were out of pocket that much money, and it was necessary for us to reimburse them.
Q. What do you mean by saying it was all straight?—A. Well, sir, that they were not making anything out of it.
Q. That is, that the directors were not making anything out of it?—A. Yes, sir; if we understood they were making that much money we would not have paid our assessment.
Q. As to how they had been,out so large a sum for expenses in procuring this lease, you say you did not feel like making any inquiry?— A. No, sir; I did not feel like making any inquiry in particular on the subject; it was understood by every man I talked to, and by a gentleman who seemed better posted than myself; they told him it was all right, that these gentlemen were not swindling us, and I took it for granted that it was all right.
Q. They did not state where any part of this $45,000 went?—A. No, sir; and I never tried to find out.
Q. You have been quite quiet about it?—A. I had nothing, or not a great deal, to say about it; parties have talked to me about it.
Q. Have you said all you know in reference to this?—A. I think so.
Q. Do you know anything about the manner in which any lease was obtained from any other tribe?—A. I had some little experience on the Sac and Fox Reservation.
Q. Please state what that experience was.—A. Some time in the latter part of April, or in the spring of 1883, some gentlemen came to the Sac and Fox Agency and proposed a lease to the Indians there.

By Mr. Gorman:

Q. Who were they?—A. E. B. Townsend, special Indian agent, and C. C. Pickett, licensed trader at Sac and Fox Agency.
Q. Were there any others?—A. Other parties were supposed to be interested, and we did not know but they were.
Q. These parties came and proposed to lease the land from the Sac and Fox Indians?—A. Yes, sir.
Q. Who did you mean by "parties supposed to be interested"?—A. At that time we accused the Government agents of being in it. I do not know that they were.
Q. Who was the agent at the Sac and Fox Agency?—A. Jacob V. Carter. We also thought the agency clerk, E. N. Gause, who was a son-in-law of Mr. Carter, was interested.
Q. No one else?—A. That is all I think of, but I had no evidence that this agent and clerk had anything to do with it. Mr. Townsend was a special agent, and Mr. Pickett was a licensed trader. After endeavoring for some time to get a lease from the Sac and Fox Indians, they turned their attention to the Iowas, where they secured some kind of a lease. Mr. Townsend was a special agent of the Department, detailed as inspector at the time the lease was made, and C. C. Pickett was the licensed trader at the Sac and Fox Agency.
Q. So the special agent and the licensed trader undertook to get a lease?—A. Yes, sir. They spent a long time there, and finally through the efforts of parties there and myself they failed to get it.
Q. Then you say they turned their attention to the Iowa tribe?—A. Yes, sir.
Q. Where they got something in the shape of a lease?—A. Yes, sir.
Q. How did you prevent their obtaining a lease with the Sac and Fox Indians?—A. I do not know what we did, but when an Indian asked our opinion we advised him against it, and we also reported the matter to the Commissioner of Indian Affairs.
Q. The special agent seemed to work in connection with the local agent—Anyhow, with the clerk and the licensed trader?—A. Yes, sir.
Q. You reported it to the Commissioner of Indian Affairs?—A. Yes, sir; but could get no action; I also wrote to Mr. Wellborn, Chairman of the House Committee on Indian Affairs, and asked for an investigation.
Q. What did he say?—A. He wrote me that he had filed my letter with the subcommittee who had charge of that part of the Indian business.
Q. Did you make these representations to the Department by letter?—A. Yes, sir.

By the Chairman:

Q. You addressed a letter of March 6, 1884, to the Department?—A. Yes, sir.
Q. And that letter called the attention of the Commissioner of Indian Affairs to a former letter of the previous year?—A. Yes, sir; in the latter part of May, or the first of June, I wrote to him that the special agent there was trying to get a lease from them, and I asked for an investigation, and I could not get it.
Q. Have you ever been personally to the Interior Department upon , the subject since this lease was made?—A. No, sir; I think not. I was there the other day, but not in regard to this matter.
Q. You are of the opinion that your representations prevented these men from getting a lease?—A. No, sir; not mine alone; there were a great many parties opposing it.
Mr. Gorman. This communication of March 6 makes eight specific charges against Agent Townsend.
The communication reads as follows :

Shawneetown, Indian Territory,
March 6, 1884.
Dear Sir: In latter part of May or first part of June last, in a letter to you stating certain facts in reference to some malicious charges made against myself by Agent Jacob V. Carter, and as I claimed for him by his clerk, prompted in so doing by C. C. Pickett, one of the firm of Whistler, Pickett & Co., Sac & Fox Agency traders, in which letter I called your attention to the fact that employés of the Government under your Department were trying to negotiate a lease of the Sac & Fox Reservation of the Indians, and asked that said honorable gentlemen be all also investigated, of which I have heard no more, except to be called on to know if I had wrote such a letter by the principal party accused, E. B. Townsend, special agent. In which conversation said special agent swore vengeance against the party who had, in short, dared to oppose him.
Now, honorable Commissioner, I hereby and herein proceed to lay charges specific against said Special Agent E. B. Townsend, C. C. Pickett, licensed trader, and E. N. Gauze, agency clerk.
1st. That in the latter part of May, 1884, or thereabouts, Special Agent E. B. Townsend formed a partnership with the said C. C. Pickett, a licensed Indian trader, and E. N. Gauze, a sou-in-law of the agent’s, and agency clerk while in the employ of the Government.
2d. That said company was formed for the purpose of obtaining a lease of the Sac and Fox Indians for a large tract of land for grazing purposes.
3d. That the position of special agent of the Government was used by said company to induce the Indians to sign said lease, it having been made to appear as if it was the desire of the Department that they lease to this particular company.
That E. B. Townsend offered to bribe Chief Keokuck into favoring said lease by promising to build him a fine house, &c.
5th. That the pesition of special agent has been used to intimidate and terrorize those opposing said lease.
6th. That said official company was counseling and advising the Indians to lease to them for from ½ to 1 cent per acre per annum less than other equally responsible parties were offering for the same lease.
7th. That said Townsend has spent a large part of the time since June last at and around paid agency endeavoring to procure a lease from the Sac and Fox Indians and other tribes.
The Iowa Indians, who were led to believe the Government would not give them a reservation as now set apart by Executive order unless they submit to letting this official company above mentioned put a wire fence around it, and hold cattle on it.
8th. That C. C. Pickett, one of said company, offered cash bribes to one of the chiefs of Iowa tribe, to induce him to sign a lease.
All of which, we claim, is against the policy of the Department and contrary to law while in the employ of Government; we therefore submit them to you before going further, as said officials have used their position to punish those with whom they were not in harmony.
We therefore remain yours, &c.,
THOS. E. BERRY,
Licensed Trader, Shawneetowm, Ind. Ter.
Hon. H. Price,
Commissioner of Indian Affairs, Washington, D. C.

By Mr. Gorman:

Q. Now tell us all you know of this matter.—A. Mr. Townsend first came to Shawneetown, where I was. He came thereon business as inspector, having been detailed to settle matters there. After being there some time he went to the Sac and Fox Agency, and there held a council with the Indians and formed this partnership. At least it was made known then. I do not know when the partnership was formed, but it first came to our knowledge then. Mr. Pickett and he had combined and had gotten the good will of Mr. Gause, the agency clerk, and the son-in-law of the agent, and they were endeavoring to get a lease. They worked there quite a while, and the Indians refused to give them a lease.

By the Chairman :

Q. What was the terms they offered them?—A. That was something the lessees kept private. The exact terms I never knew. It was understood that they offered two or two and a half cents.
Q. How large a place did they lease—how many acres?—A. It was about fifteen by ten miles, or fifteen by fifteen. I won’t say which. Well, it was about that many miles square. This special agent was there as an inspector, and he and the licensed trader at this agency formed a partnership with other persons, which threw the influence of the Government all one way, and for that reason I sent those charges to the Department. Parties had been trying to make a lease but they came away, saying they bad no chance, because they were not Government officers.
Q. You say Jacob V. Carter was the local agent?—A. Yes, sir.
Q. Did he seem to favor these parties?—A. Yes, sir.
Q. You consider that he lent his influence to these parties?—A. I think so; and other parties told me there was no chance for them on account of the Government influence against them, and they went home. They had come there to make an offer from one-half to a cent more than this company, and finding that they had to fight the local agent and the special agent, they quietly withdrew and went home and made their fight against the local agent from home.

By Mr. Gorman:

Q. Who makes the charge that Townsend offered a bribe to obtain a lease?—A. I have the chiefs statement for that. Townsend told the chief that if they gave the lease to his company the company would build him a fine house and fix it with carpets, just like they have in Washington, and he should have it to live in as long as they remained there.

By the Chairman :

Q. What did the chief say to that?—A. The chief liked the house very well but he did not want them to run a wire fence around his land.

By Mr. Gorman:

Q. What was Mr. Carter’s position?—A. He was Indian agent.
Q. What action did he take in relation to this attempt of Townsend and Pickett to get a lease?—A. He was thought to be very friendly. The councils these parties had with the Indians were considered private. They held them with the Government officers and all the rest of us were on the outside and did not hear what they said. All we heard was what parties, who had been there, told us about it.
Q. Is Carter there now?—A. No, sir.
Q. Who succeeded him?—A. Mr. Taylor.
Q. Where is Carter now?—A. Somewhere in Kansas.
Q. He is a citizen of Kansas?—A. Yes, sir.
Q. Where is Mr. Gause?—A. Mr. Gause is now a bookkeeper, I understand, employed by the trading firm of Whistler, Pickett & Co.
Q. The charge is made that Townsend went to the Iowa Indians, and led them to believe the Government would not give them a title to their reservation, which is now held under Executive order, unless they permitted his firm to build a fence around it?—A. Yes, sir.
Q. And that they offered a bribe to the principal chief?—A. Yes, sir.
Q. Who got the lease?—A. This same firm, Townsend, Pickett & Co. The company I do not know. After the first council some of the Indians came to our store, and our interpreter happened to be an old acquaintance of theirs, and he asked them about the matter.
Q. What did they say?—A. They said the people were all torn up, and didn’t agree. They said the Government wanted to give them a permanent reservation, but they wanted to put a wire fence around it and hold cattle on the reservation, and the Government could not do that without a wire fence. They knew that Mr. Townsend was the special agent of the Government, but they did not understand what it meant. The thing went on, and finally there was a committee of Iowa Indians appointed to lease the land, who made a contract with these same gentlemen. I do not understand that they put up a wire fence.

By the Chairman:

Q. Who?—A. Townsend, Picket & Co.

By Mr. Gorman:

Q. The Iowas did make a contract with them?—A. Yes, sir; after some little time. These parties were there from May or June until Mr. Townsend’s resignation, which was some time after.

By the Chairman:

Q. Those Indians who came to your store stated that the Government was represented by Mr. Townsend, and that the Government wanted the Indians to give a lease with the privilege of putting up a wire fence, so the Government could hold cattle there?—A. Yes, sir.
Q. How many Indians were in your store talking?—A. I could not tell you, sir. There were parties coming in there who represented to us the feeling of the tribe.
Q. Were they intelligent Indians?—A.. Yes, sir.
Q. As intelligent as any other Indians?—A. I could not say.
Q. Can you give us their names?—A. I could not call their names. These parties merely came in there and talked.

By Mr. Gorman:

Q Were they half or full bloods?—A. Full bloods.

By the Chairman:

Q. Did any of them complain that other Indians had more to do with it than they?—A. Some young fellows, who had been at school, accused the chiefs of selling them out, and said they had been opposing the lease. They also said the committee had sold them out; that some Indians had received money and others something else.
Q. State what they said about the money?—A. They said, as near as I can remember, that the chiefs, or the men who made this lease, had gotten money for making the lease with these parties. That is as near the sense of it as I can get.
Q. Did you understand that the Indians generally were made to be­lieve that Townsend represented the Government?—A. The ignorant Indians believed so; and they knew that he was the special agent of the Government at the time. One day he was a Government officer and the next a private citizen.
Q. How long did he remain a special agent after the lease was made?—A. It was quite a while after the lease was proposed, but as to the date I do not know. It is possible the date of the lease is later than his resignation. They had talked the matter over, and the contract had been made before the resignation.
Q. Where did Townsend come from?—A. He came from Washington.
Q. He was an employé of the Indian Department?—A. Yes, sir; he was appointed an inspector, and went there representing the Government. He was known as the agent of the Government, because he had served as agent there, some months before that time.
Q. Did you learn how much money those parties got?—A. No, sir.
Q. What else did you hear had been given them?—A. There was some talk about their having made the Indians drunk when they signed the lease; but it was mere talk.
Q. Did you understand the terms of the lease ?—A. No, sir; I know they have a lease, and have cattle on it.
Q. What is the condition of the Sac and Fox Indians?—Are they ad­vanced toward civilization?—A. Some are.
Q. Do they know how to work?—A. Yes, sir; and some of them do work, but they get large annuities, and like all other annuity tribes they don’t work much. The larger the annuity the more trifling the Indians.
Q. So the larger the rental the worse off the tribe is?—A. Yes, sir.
Q. Could you advise a better way than paying it as it is now paid? How, if you had it your own way, would you dispose of the rental?—A. Of course that is already settled.
Q. But suppose you had the management of this money in the interest of the Indians, what would you do with it?—A. I should give them as little ready cash as I could. I would use the money in making farms, in supporting schools, and I would throw them as far as possible on their own resources, and give them to understand that they had to work for a living.

By Mr. Gorman:

Q. I would like to know whether you have any knowledge in regard of this Iowa lease. I find that the terms and date of the lease are unknown to the Department. Mr. Picket and Mr. Townsend are the lessees, but the number of acres, the terms of the lease, and the price per acre are unknown. Do you know anything about it?—A. I did know the date at the time.
Q. But you have no memorandum?—A. No, sir. It was in the latter part of the year 1883, but the date I cannot tell.
Q. Do you know the number of acres?—A. A know it was represented that they had about 3,000 head of cattle on the reservation.
Q. You don’t know anything about the price?—A. No, sir.
Q. Now, do you know a Mr. Little, who is a trader on the reservation?—A. Yes, sir.
Q. Did you ever talk to him about the matter?—A. Yes, sir.
Q. What did he tell you?—A. He spoke to me about the payment of money to one of the Iowa chiefs. This chief was owing him, and he called him his friend and brother.
Q. Which chief was this?—A. The principal chief. He had been standing out against this lease, and he came to Mr. Little and told him that Mr. Picket, a member of this firm of lessees, had offered him $100 to favor the lease. He said to Mr. Little, "I want to know what to do. I am poor, and need money."
Q. What did Mr. Little tell him?—A. Mr. Little told him to take the money. Well, he got the money, and came back and paid his account, and said he had received the money from this firm for favoring the lease.
Q. That was the chief’s statement?—A. That was the statement Mr. Little wrote for me, and he guaranteed that he would substantiate it if I could get an investigation.
Q. What is his full name?—A. William R. Little. He is a trader at the Sac and Fox agency.
Q. What is the name of the chief?—A. That I cannot give; but he is the principal chief of the. tribe.
Q. Did you hear of any other chief besides this one having been paid anything?—A. No, sir.
Q. Who was the local agent at the time?—A. Mr. Jacob V. Carter.
Q. Did Carter have any interest in the lease?—A. I never heard so; but I heard that his son-in-law, the agency clerk (Gause), had an interest in it.
Q. That is all you know?—A. Yes, sir.

By the Chairman :

Q. Where are the lowas located?—A. They join the Sac and Fox Indians on the west.
Q. Are they on what is called the Oklahoma land?—A. They are on a piece of land which was set apart by Executive order from the Oklahoma strip. They were told by these parties that they had no title to their land, and before they could get a title they had to allow them to put a wire fence around it.
Q. They understood they could not hold it unless they permitted these men to put a wire fence around the reservation?—A. Yes, sir; and they said these parties had agreed to get their title perfected if they allowed the fence to be put up.
Q. Their title is very different from that of the Cherokees, is it not?—A. Yes, sir; I believe it is.

By Mr. Gorman:

Q. You made these charges to the Interior Department in 1884?—A. Yes, sir.
Q. Did you hear from the Department?—A. I never heard anything from Mr. Price in regard to it. I had a talk with Mr. Townsend after that in regard to these charges, and other matters.
Q. What was the conversation?—A. We had quite a little talk about matters.

By the Chairman:

Q. Did he represent to you that the charges had come to his knowledge?—A. He represented to me that he knew that some parties had made charges against him, and that they were unfounded. He wound up by saying that some parties had made charges against him, and he would get even with them. He would live long enough to get even with all his enemies.

By Mr. Gorman:

Q. He was special agent acting as inspector at the time?—A. Yea, sir.
Q. Did he threaten you?I—A. No, sir; he asked why the charges had been made.
Q. Did you tell him you had made charges?—A. I think I told him I had written to the Department in regard to the matter. He intimated that he understood all about the charges, and that he would get even with everybody.
Q. Did he inquire what yon had said in your communication to the Department?—A. I do not know that he did.
Q. Did he state that he knew what was represented to the Depart­ment?—A. He signified so.
Q. What did he say as to the truth or falsity of the statements?—A. He said the charges were false; that he had not done so and so, and the parties had lied.

By the Chairman:

Q. Did he say it was false that he was a Government officer?—A. No, sir.
By Mr. Gorman:
Q. What did he say was false?—A. The principal thing he wanted to know was, why I had made such charges, or why I had been opposing him in this business, and he said there was nothing in the thing, that I had been wrongly informed. I accused him of using his position as a Government agent to help to benefit other traders as against me, and in aiding the charges against our firm, while he would not regard charges against his own firm. He denied having anything to do with any such thing.
Q. Did you say anything to him about his using his influence as a Government agent to influence the Indians?—A. I did; and I told him that if he had come as a private citizen I should not have said a word, but if he came to bulldoze me in the garb of a Government officer, I proposed to kick as long as I could. He then said he expected to resign soon.
Q. Was this after the lease made?—A. The lease had been talked of, and councils had been held, and probably the terms had been agreed upon, but the lease had not been signed.
Q. Do you know whether they sent the lease to the Department for approval or not?—A. I do not.

By Mr. Gorman:

Q. Now, after you had talked with Mr. Townsend, did he not call a council of the Indians with a view to get them to certify that the charges were not true?—A. The talk I had with him was in Kansas City, and I understood he was going to Washington. I went in a day or two to the Territory and found him there. I was told that he came down by the railroad, and went to the agency and called a council. They told me also that he had a paper prepared which purported to be a denial of the charges I had made, and tried to get people to sign it, and tried to beat them down that he had ever done or said so and so. I was told at the Sac and Fox Agency they had refused to sign such a paper.

By the Chairman :

Q. Who told you?—A. The Indians. Mr. Little was called on to sign it,or to take back the statements he had made. He refused to do either, and he and Mr. Townsend had quite a little jar over it.

By Mr. Gorman:

Q. After you notified the Department you never received a communication from Commissioner Price or anybody else, did you?—A. Not directly. In the spring of 1884 I sent a communication to the Department through Mr. Plumb, and I got a letter through the Senator stating that Mr. Townsend had resigned a few days previous, and for that reason he could not investigate him, being no longer a Government officer. This was in March, 1884. Senator Plumb carried my communication to the Indian Office, and I got the answer through him.

By Mr. Gorman:

Q. Well, now, going back to the Cherokee strip business, you said you paid 2½ cents an acre on 29,000 acres for the first six months, and you were told it was for what purpose?—A. They said they wanted to raise $100,000, or had raised it.
Q. Who told you that?—A. It was a general understanding. I talked with a Mr. Dean, and probably others, and we figured on it.
Q. It was to pay six months’ rent for the lease, and $45,000 for what?—A. That was to pay the expenses incurred in procuring the lease, and perfecting it.
Q. What was your own idea? How did you suppose they had spent $45,000?—A. I could not tell.
Q. How many lawyers did you employ?—A. I don’t know that. It was left in the hands of the board of directors, and I never wanted to be impertinent in reference to such things.
Q. Did you not have some idea about it?—A. No, sir; I never did. We called it outside the "corruption fund."
Q. You did not know how it was spent?—A. No, sir.


Return To Testimony Index.
This site may be freely linked, but not duplicated without consent.
All rights reserved. Commercial use of material within this site is prohibited.
The copyright (s) on this page must appear on all copied and/or printed material.
© 2021 by C.S.L.S.A. Site Coordinator