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


W. E. HARDY.

W. E. HARDY sworn and examined.
By the Chairman :

Question. Where do you reside, Mr. Hardy?—Answer. I live at the Kaw Agency, in the Indian Territory.
Q. Have you any knowledge of the way the lease was obtained from the Kaw Indians?—A. Yes, sir.
Q. To whom was that lease made?—A. To Mr. Gilbert.
Q. Has he much land?—A. I think 50,000 or 52,000 acres.
Q. What does he pay?—A. Four cents an acre.
Q. Is it for five or ten years?—A. I believe it is for ten years.
Q. What do you know about the way in which the lease was obtained?—A. In 1883 was the time Mr. Gilbert made it known he wanted to get a part of our reservation, and at that time the tribe held a general council.
Q. You are a member of the tribe?—A. Yes, sir.
Q. By blood?—A. No, sir; by marriage.
Q. Who is the agent?—A. Laban J. Miles.
Q. Was he present at the council?—A. Yes, sir; he was present at the council.
Q. Who else?—A. The superintendent, Mr. Wheeler. He was present, and it was then made known to us that Mr. Gilbert wanted to lease a portion of our reservation.
Q. Who told you?—A. Mr. Miles made it known to us that this land was to be leased to Mr. Gilbert. Mr. Miles addressed us at the council and told us that we had better let Mr. Gilbert have it, because he had been a good friend to the tribe and people, and the people should let him have it in preference to everybody else. Well, there was a good deal of dissatisfaction at the time—some were opposed to it and some were in favor of it. The council talked about the matter and when the agent saw we were tangled about it he advised the Indians to form a council of twelve to decide the question. The parties who favored the lease formed that council among themselves, and they decided to let Mr. Gilbert have the land. I was one of those opposed to it, and we left them to do the business for themselves, and they did lease the land.
Q. Were there more of the Kaw Indians who wanted to lease the land than did not?—A. I think it was very near half and half, with those in the opposition perhaps in the majority.
Q. How came the other Indians to stand aside and let the rest make the lease?—A. We could not help ourselves.
Q. How could they do it if the majority was opposed to it?—A. I did not say there was a majority.
Q. How many Kaws are there?—A. About two hundred and forty, all told.
Q. How much land is there in the reservation?—A. One hundred thousand acres.
Q. And you lease about one-half of it?—A. Yes, sir.
Q. What do you do with the other half?—A. We use it for farming and grazing.
Q. Have any of you separate land of your own ?—A. No, sir; it is in common.
Q. How much stock have you got in common?—A. Well, there is a good deal of stock; the agent has a hundred and some odd there to issue and we have more or less stock ourselves.
Q. They are all in common t—A. Yes, sir.
Q. How do you find whose they are?—A. We brand the cattle.
Q. Do you have enough stock to sell?—A. Yes, sir.
Q. If you had all the land and put it all into grazing, could you not have carried the business on yourselves?—A. Yes, sir.
Q. What do you do with this 4 cents?—A. It is paid per capita; it is divided equally to us.
Q. How much comes to you?—A. I think the amount last year was $9 a head.
Q. That is to you and your family?—A. Yes, sir.
Q. What do you do with it? I don't mean you particularly, but what do the Indians do with it?—A. We use it to purchase things we need.
Q. Who was this Mr. Gilbert? What did he do before he made this lease?—A. He was our former trader.
Q. Was he a trader when he made the lease?—A. No, sir; we have another trader.
Q. What is his name?—A. Finney.
Q. Is he the only trader you have?—A. Yes, sir.
Q. Has he any interest in this lease—A. I cannot say that he has any interest in this lease.
Q. When you get the money you go to the trader, do you not?—A. Yes, sir; he generally gets it all. The money is generally traded out beforehand.
Q. If the lessee was a trader, it would be a good thing, would it not?—A. Yes, sir.
Q. A good thing for him?—A. Yes, sir; I presume it would be undoubtedly a good thing for him.
Q. Would you, as a man having some experience with the Indians, advise a lease of the land to a man who was the only licensed trader?—A. No, sir; I would not, and I opposed making the lease to such a man. My objection would be it would be giving too much of a chance to speculate on the Indians.
Q. Now let us get to this council again. This council was made up of twelve of those in favor of the lease, who got the council together.—A. It was formed among themselves. Mr. Miles advised them to call a council.
Q. Did he tell the Indians who they had better have to represent them?—A. He knew very well the leading men who were in favor of the lease, and the matter was proposed to them.
Q. When the council got together, you think they chose these twelve men who were in favor of the lease?—A. Yes, sir; and that was all that was needed to transact the business; that was done in one day.
Q. Was Agent Miles there at the time?—A. Yes, sir; Agent Miles was there.
Q. Was the lease executed then?—A. No, sir; the contract was drawn up, and the agreement was made. A few weeks after that he said we had better form a council and settle our grievances. The agent visited the Indians and spoke about the council. We could not agree. The agent staid there three days, and finally said this would be the last day he would remain, and we must settle about the twelve men. We met the agent at Kaw Agency and we said we wanted a council of our old chiefs. We gave him our reasons. Then the agent said :

Had I known it would have created a rumpus, I never would have spoken to you about it, but as you don't want this council, I will do as I have done before. I will call you together if I have any business to transact.

On that we took it that the council was annulled. Some ten or twelve days after that the superintendent of the Kaw Agency, Mr. 'Wheeler, called us together, and we went to the agency. A vote upon the question of electing five or six men to represent the tribe gave the ones in favor of the lease forty-eight votes and those in opposition fifty-two or fifty-four. We claimed that this council was annulled, and that there was no council. We went on for a few weeks, when the matter died out. Suddenly, to our great astonishment, it was mentioned to the tribe that a council had been elected, consisting of five men, who went in there and who had been elected against our votes; we had fifty two or fifty-four. A few days after that I called at the residence of the treasurer of the council, and he said :

That council has been appointed; I put in some school-boys to overgo your number, and we have got it and we are going to stick.

I said it was a fraudulent council. We complained to the agent, and he said he had no knowledge of it. I would like to state to the committee that there is a terrible lot of wood—rails, posts, and cord-wood cut down—on the lease that this gentleman obtained.
Q. Did you ascertain this fact yourself?—A. No, sir. Indians told me that it was a positive fact, that there was a terrible lot of wood chopped down on this lease.
Q. I did not think that they gave a lease authorizing these parties to chop wood, except where it was necessary for their fences and for the cord-wood they would use for their own use. What does he do with the cord-wood he cuts?—A. I do not know.
Q. Have you ever seen this yourself?—A. No, sir; Indians told me that it was so.
Q. Have you ever said anything to Major Miles about it?—A. No, sir, I have not.
Q. How far is this from the State line of Kansas?—A. I think it is about 8 miles from the State line of Kansas.
Q. Your reservation joins the State of Kansas, does it not?—A. Yes, sir.
Q. You say you found a good deal of timber cut from the reservation?—A. Yes, sir; I found a good deal of timber cut from the reservation.
Q. Do they sell this timber in the markets in the State of Kansas?—A. I would not say so.;
Q. Are they obliged to cut down timber for fuel?—A. I should think not; because there is such a lot of downed wood on the land.
Q. How much do you mean by saying a lot? Give us an estimate of how much wood you saw there cut from the land. Is it a hundred cords, how much?—A. I hardly think I could tell you, but I think there are 400 or 500 cords downed.
Q. That is what we want to get at. They chopped down the trees for posts, and the rest they used for cord-wood?—A. Yes, sir.
Q. They use the tops for cord-wood?—A. Yes, sir.
Q. What would you have the lessees do with the tops of the trees?—A. I do not think that we gave the privilege when we gave the lease to dispose of any timber more than for the necessary fences, buildings, &c.
Q. Do they use this wood for any other purpose than for fire-wood?—A. I do not know, sir.
Q. Has the lessee done anything more than that?—A. I think not. But I have heard that there was a terrible lot of posts and rails and cord-wood upon this lease.
Q. Do you mean to say that he has cut down the trees solely for the purpose of making rails and fire-wood?—A. No, sir; I do not know.
Q. What has he done with the wood then?—A. I cannot say, sir.
Q. Did you ascertain this fact from personal observation?—A. No, sir; I had not the time before I came here.
The Chairman . I wish before you came here you had made that certain.
The Witness. I was in too much of a hurry.
The Chairman . I hope when you go back you will ascertain this fact positively.
Q. Have you ever communicated with the Commissioner of Indian Affairs upon this subject, or complained to him about this matter?—A. Yes, sir, I have. I have complained to the Commissioner of Indian Affairs about the matter.
Q. What communication have you received from the Commissioner of Indian Affairs in response to what you have communicated to him?—A. I have never heard from him.
Q. I would like to ask you how the committee can get there?—A. Because I think the committee may go there during the recess. You can go on the railroad to Arkansas City, and from this point the agency is only 25 miles distant.
Q. Who is the agent?—A. Mr. Taylor.
Q. Is he the agent for all of these tribes?—A. Yes, sir; he is the agent for all the tribes coming under this agency.
Q. Is there any one else associated with him?—A. Yes, sir; there is a superintendent at the Kaw Agency.
Q. Do you think that is cheaper than having two agents?—A. Yes, sir; I presume so.
Q. What are the salaries of these superintendents?—A. I do not know.
The Chairman . Now I would like to have you go to Mr. Price and tell him Just what you have said to us about the wood being cut off of this reservation, and tell him that the Chairman of the Committee on Indian Affairs sent you there.


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