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miles of the Salt Fork of the Arkansas. The country is fairly watered, and moderately well adapted to general farming.
West of Osage Creek, as far as and including the townships of range 8 west, the country north of the Salt Fork of the Arkansas is comparatively poor, and almost wholly devoid of timber.
It is our opinion that the country within from six to eight miles of the Arkansas River is well and best adapted to stock-raising. While generally too rough for cultivation, the soil is good, and the growth of grass good.
Judging by the success of the people of Sumner and Crowley Counties, Kansas, in raising wheat, it can scarcely be questioned that the country from aud including the townships of range 4 west, to within six or eight miles of the Arkansas River, and extending sonth from Kansas to Black Bear Creek, being very similar in character to tbe adjoining lands in Kapsas, is well adapted to the growth of wheat.
Doubtless stock-raising might be carried on successfully in any part of the country east of the Abilene cattle-trail. Cattle have frequently been wintered in this country without the use of prepared food.
It is our impression that the country we have thus far examined is healthful. The drainage is everywhere good. The low valley-lands, especially of those running from west to east, as those of the Black Bear and Red Rock Creeks, are probably somewhat malarious, and we would regard it as important to the health of Indians located on these lands tbat their dwellings should be located on the highlands.
In valuing these lands, it is our impression that the chief difficulty consists in determining the amount of allowance which ought to be made in view of “the fact that these lands are for Indian occupancy and settlement only, and consequently less valuable than lands open to white settlement.” We have devoted our attention carefully to the consideration of this subject. Our conclusion is that, in view of this restriction placed upon their use, these lands are worth about one-half as much as they would be if open to settlement by white people. As far as made, our appraisal is, in our judgment, in couformity with that opinion.
The detailed statement of prices fixed upon the lands thus far examined and appraised will be found in the schedules entitled “Description and valuation of Cherokee lands in the Indian Territory," &c., which will be forwarded with this report.
Having applied for and received permission to adjourn after inspecting the lands east of the Abilene cattle-trail until about the first of September, on the 21st of June we left the Indian Territory near Caldwell, Kans., and proceeded to Wichita, Kans., which point we reached on Saturday, the 23d. In consequence of the fact that the private affairs of Mr. Kennard seemed to him to render it extremely doubtful whether it would be possible for him to continue to serve as a member of the commission, it was determined to meet at Paola, Kans., on the 14th of August for the purpose of preparing a report of the work of the commission as far as it had proceeded. In accordance with this, the commission adjourned at Wichita, Kaps., on June 25, and reassembled at Paola, Kans., on August 14. After the foregoing had been prepared it was determined to adjourn to meet at Wichita, Kans., on September 15, in order to resume work in the Indian Territory. The commission then adjourned on August 23. Very respectfully,
THOM. P. KENNARD,
Commissioners. Hon. J. Q. SMITH,
Commissioner of Indian Affairs, Washington, D. C.
PAOLA, KANS., December 12, 1877. SIR: The commissioners appointed to appraise the Cherokee lands in the Indian Territory have the honor to submit the following additional report:
Messrs. E. H. Topping and T. E. Smith met at Wichita, Kans., on Monday morning, September 17, 1877, and were informed by Mr. William N. Wilkerson, of Cass County, Missouri, tbat he bad been appointed a member of the commission in place of Mr. Thomas P. Kennard, who bad resigned. Mr. Wilkerson then took the required oath and was elected president of the commission.
At the same time Lieutenant Cushman, of the Sixteenth Infantry, reported to the commissioners that he was present with a detachment of ten men, and instructed to accompany the commissioners as an escort. Our departure from Wichita was delayed until the afternoon of Thursday, September 20, awaiting the arrival of Lieutenant Cushman's wagon and team. We then left Wichita. via Wellington and Caldwell, for the Indian Territory. For a detailed account of the movements of the commission, your attention is invited to the journal of the commission.
It was manifest that the limits of the appropriation would be reached long before it would be possible to complete a personal inspection of each township; hence it was determined to pursue such a route as would to the best of our judgment give us the most general knowledge of the whole body of the land remaining to be appraised within the limit of time which it was supposed might be devoted to the business of inspection, and which was supposed not to exceed six weeks. It was determined to move west, as pear as might be found practicable, through the middle of the northern half of the lands, to near the head of Buffalo Creek; thence south through Camp Supply and up Wolf Creek to near the middle of the southeru half of the lands; thence east to the Abilene cattle-trail. It was expected tbat many deviations from a straight course would be found unavoidable in order to secure wood and water, but the difficul. ties encountered in tbis respect were much greater than was anticipated. Notwithstanding we provided for carrying a small supply of water, we were frequently forced to limit our movements in consequence of the uncertainty of finding water fit for use. In general, however, tbe route agreed upou was followed, but the time necessarily occupied in finding a practicable road and suitable camping places prevented us from making as many or extensive excursions to the right and left as we desired and had expected to. Much of the traveling was over precipitous hills, or crossing streams whose beds were either full of quicksand or the more troublesome red clay abounding in much of the country, or through the sand-bills which line the larger streams to a greater or less extent. The many unavoidable binderapces met with rendered it necessary to move as constantly and as rapidly as possible, so that with the exception of occasional delays caused by stormy weather, and two or three times by the breaking of the wagons, we were constantly moving, and our observation of the country was in the main confined to that portion wbich was in sight of the zigzag route followed from camp to camp. Almost daily one or two of the conuinissioners made excursions of greater or less extent to the right or left of the route followed by the wagons and escort.
While necessity compelled us to pursue a course which leaves us in some doubt respecting the character of some portions of the Cherokee lands west of the cattletrail, it is our belief that our opportunities for judging of the great mass of tbose lands were sufficient to enable us to place a fair average valuation upon them, and it is our further belief that with the information we have derived from a careful examination of the plats of the townships, and field-potes of the surveys, most remote from our line of observation, that we cannot be greatly wrong as to the character of any considerable number of townships.
The reasons by which tbe commissioners were governed in the valuation of the Cherokee lands wbile Mr. Keppard was a member of the commission, have been carefully reconsidered and approved.
The lands in the townships of range 9 west, and lying north of the Salt Fork of the Arkansas River, are composed chiefly of sand-hills and flat marsby plains. The timber is chiefly cotton wood along the streams, and scattering black oak among the hills; none of it of much value except for fuel. The country is tolerably well watered. The soil is poor and the land of little value except for grazing purposes.
The country lying west of range 9 west, aud north of the Salt Fork of the ArkanBas River, is generally smoothly rolling prairie of good soil. It is probably well adapted to wheat. It produces a good growth of nutritious grasses. There is some timber, principally cotton wood aud elm, chiefly on Medicine Lodge Creek and Mule Creek. The water is almost all what is called by the people of the adjoining country in Kansas alkali or gypsum water, and is generally disagreeable to those who are unaccustomed to it, and to some it is very offensive and perhaps injurious. Whether water of this character is woolesome for stock may be a question of importance in the ultimate determination of the comparative value of much of the Cherokee lands west of the Abilene cattle-trail.
The country west of range 6 west, south of the Salt Fork of the Arkansas River, which is drained by that stream, is quite similar in general character to that north of the river and west of range 9 west, except that it is almost wholly devoid of timber. Tbe surface is smoothly rolling. The soil is of good average quality. It is not as well watered as the country on the north side of the river. It is probably adapted to wheat, and produces good crops of the indigenous grasses. It is probably well adapted to stock-raising
The country drained by Eagle Chief Creek is quite similar in the general character of the soil to that north of it on the Salt Fork of the Arkansas. The surface is more rolling, but well adapted to tillage. There is little if any stoue of value. There is a scanty growth of timber, principally cotton wood, along the creek and some of its larger tributaries. The country is probably well adapted to stock-raising.
The lands north of the Cimarron River, and west of range 15 west, are chiefly high, rolling bills, too abrupt for cultivation. There is some timber along the numerous small streams of this section, but of little value except for fuel. Along the north side of the Cimarron River there is generally a range of sand-bills, varying in width from
a few hundred yards to three or four miles. The most recently formed of these hills are entirely bare of vegetation, while the greater portion are covered with a scanty growth of grass and scrubby timber of little value. The sand-bill country is of no value except for pasturage.
The water of this section is almost all bad, whether to such a degree as to materially affect its value for stock-raising we have no means of determining. Otherwise, the country is tolerably well adapted to the business.
The country west of the Cimarron River and north of the 6th standard parallel is generally high, rolling prairie, almost wholly devoid of timber. There is a little cottonwood and scrubby elm timber in the valleys of some of the small creeks; also some cedar in the deep gorges at the heads of the streains near the dividing ridge between the Cimarron River and the North Fork of the Canadian and Beaver Creek; but the total amount of timber is insignificant in proportion to the extent of the country. The soil of this section of the country is generally second or third rate. Much of the country-probably not less than half of it—is too rough or rolling for profitable tillage, and the adaptation of the tillable portion to any of the chief cultivated crops of the West is, in our judgment, doubtful. The growth of grass is not heavy, but it is, no doubt, very nutritious, and the country is well adapted to grazing purposes, unless the supply of water is insufficient or its character unsuitable. The water of this section is nearly all of the kind called gypsum or alkali water. The country is generally underlaid by beds of gypsum, some of which are 10 or 12 feet thick. Springs are very rare, and the water of the streams not permanent. The adaptation of this section of the country to the use, for grazing purposes, of a permanently-settled people, owning the land in small bodies, is, in our opinion, rendered extremely doubtful by the uncertainty connected with the supply of water and its fitness for use. As an open or free range for stock, the grass might be utilized by taking advantage of favorable seasons, and driving to other sections in times of drought.
The country sonth of the 6th standard parallel, which is drained by the North Fork of the Canadian River and its tributaries, is generally smooth, rolling prairie. The supply of timber is scanty and of but little value except for fuel. There is some stone of poor quality. The soil is much of it sandy, and generally second or third rate. Along Wolf Creek, chiefly on the east side and the north side of the North Fork of the Canadian River, there are sand-hills extending back from one to four or five miles. The water of this section of the country is generally good, and the supply probably sufficient to render the country, in that respect, fairly well adapted to stock-raising. Much of the country, probably 30 per cent., is too sandy for cultivation, and the adaptation of any considerable portion of it to profitable tillage we regard as inprobable. The growth of grass is good, and the land generally well adapted to stock-raising.
The country south of the 6th standard parallel and the Cimarron River, which is drained by that stream, is chiefly exceedingly broken prairie. There is some good tillable valley-land along the Cimarron and the larger creeks, but west of Glass Mountain probably not more than 20 per cent of the land is plowable. About the heads of the creeks there is some good timber, and in the gorges generally there is a good deal of cedar. There is little stone of value. Beds of gypsum, from 6 to 10 feet thick, crop out near the hill-tops. The water of this section is very similar to that of the country to the northwest which has been spoken of, and we think the same remarks are applicable with reference to the suitableness of the country to stock-raising.
The country east of the Cimarron River and the valley of Eagle Chief Creek, and west of range 6 west, which is drained by the Cimarron, consists of sand-hills, more or less covered with scrubby oak and a thin growth of grass, and open, level or gentlyrolling prairie of second or tbird rate soil. The region of sand-bills lies along the river and extending back from 3 to 6 or 7 miles. This section of the country is moderately well watered. No stone was seen. The timber is of but little value except for fuel. Some portions of the land on Turkey Creek, and about the heads of the small creeks between Turkey Creek and Eagle Chief Creek, are probably fairly adapted to general farming purposes.
It may not be superfluous to state the substance of our observations of the game of the country traversed. We saw two or three hundred buffalo in the valley of Eagle Chief Creek, and about as many more between Eagle Chief Creek and the Cimarron River. In the valley of Buffalo Creek we saw probably from eight to twelve thousand buffalo; in the valley of the North Fork of the Canadian, one thousand, probably. There are considerable numbers of deer and turkeys, chiefly in the sand-hills and along the most heavily-timbered streams. As furnisbing a permanent supply of food and other necessaries of even savage life to any considerable number of people, the game of the country seems to us worthy of very little consideration.
As a whole, we regard the country referred to in this portion of our report as chiefly valuable for stock-raising. Some portions of it we believe to be adapted to wheat, and we have little doubt that, with experience, a considerable portion of the country will be found adapted to other profitable crops.
On Sunday, November 4, we reached the Abilene cattle-trail and stage-road, near the
stage-station on Skeleton Creek, and started for Wichita, Kans., which place we reached on November 9. Mr. Smith having received intelligence of the severe illness of one of his family, it was decided to adjourn to meet in Paola, Kans., on Monday, November 26, on which day the commission reassembled and began the preparation of this report.
In conclusion, we desire to state that, while seeking to use the money appropriated for the business in which we have been employed, in the most rigidly economical manner, and to limit our expenditure to that amount, we have, in various ways and from various causes, apparently to us unavoidable, exceeded it, which being unauthorized to do, no account is made of such excess.
The journal of the commission will be transmitted with the accounts of the disbursing agent, Mr. Topping.
For the detailed statement of prices fixed upon the lands appraised by us, your at-
WILLIAM N. WILKERSON.
Commissioners. Hon. E. A. Hayt, Commissioner of Indian Affairs, Washington, D. C.
Description and valuation of Cherokee lands in Indian Territory, lying west of 96° west lon
gitude and west of the Osage lands, appraised in 1877, under the provisions of the fifth section of an act of Congress approved May 29, 1872. (Stats. at large, vol. 17, p. 190.)