Page images
PDF
EPUB

To Mrs. Jackson and Mr. Kinney, Commissioners, &c.:

At a public meeting of all the residents on the lands reserved for Indian purposes, held at Banning, in San Gorgonio Pass, San Bernardino County, California, it was resolved that a delegation from our inhabitants be appointed to proceed to San Bernardino, and lay before the commissioners a statement of the existing status of the lands reserved for Indian purposes as affecting the citizens resident on those townships known as 2 and 3 S., R. 1 E., and 2 S., R. 2 E., in San Bernardino meridian. Believing that it is of the utmost importance that you should become conversant with facts affecting the condition and future well-being of the Indians whom it is designed to place upon these lands, we respectfully request a hearing. Among those facts as affecting the residents directly, and more remotely the Indians, are the following:

There is in San Gorgonio Township, of which these lands are a part, a population of two hundred and fifty souls. In township 3 S., R. 1 E., is the vil. lage of Banning, which is the business centre of the surrounding country, and has an immediately surrounding population numbering fifty souls. It has post and express offices, railroad depot, district school, church organization, general merchandise store, the flume of the San Gorgonio Fluming Company, two magistrates; and during the last year there was sold or shipped from this place alone fully 20,000 bushels of wheat and barley, over 200 tons of baled hay, a large amount of honey, butter, eggs, poultry, live stock, &c., besides 200 cords of wood. Although more than half of the area of this township is in the mountains and uninhabited, from the remaining portion which is surveyed land, there is at this time fully 1,200 acres in grain, and the value of the improved property is over $50,000, exclusive of railroad property. Vested interests have been acquired to all the water available for irrigation under the code of laws existing in this State. Wells have repeatedly been dug without success in this township. United States patents to lands were granted in this township long anterior to the Executive order reserving the lands for Indian purposes, and since then the population has not increased. No Indian has, within the memory of man, resided in this township. There are not over two entire sections of land in the entire area left available for cultivation; and on these, without abundance of water, no one could possibly succeed in earning a livelihood. One of these sections was occupied and was abandoned, the attempt to raise a cereal crop having failed. The extreme aridity of the climate renders the successful growth of cereals problematical, even when summer fallowing is pursued, and the amount of human casualty possessed by the average Indian does not usually embrace the period of two years. To intersperse Indians between white settlers who own the railroad land or odd sections and the remaining portions of the Government sections, where a “no fence” law exists, as here, would not be conducive to the well-being of the Indians, and would result in a depreciation of our property alike needless and disastrous. In township 2 S., R. 2 E., there are not over eighty acres available, – that in Weaver Creek cañon, where the water was acquired and utilized before the Executive order and the legal right well established. In township 2 S., R. 1 E., settlements were made many years before the issue of the order of reservation, especially on odd-numbered sections or railroad laņds as then supposed to be, and these bona-fide settlers have acquired claims in

equity to their improvements. On one ranch in this township,—that of
Messrs. Smith & Stewart, who have cultivated and improved the mesa or
bench lands,—there was produced several thousand sacks of grain; but this
involved such an outlay of capital and knowledge, beside experience in grain-
growing such as Indians do not possess. In this township, embracing the
three inentioned, there are upward of forty voters; and these unanimously
and respectfully ask you to grant a hearing, when we can reply to any
interrogatories you may be pleased to make. If you will kindly name the
time when to you convenient, the undersigned will at once wait upon you.

W.K. DUNLAP,
BEN. W. SMITH,
S.Z. MILLARD,
WELWOOD MURRAY,
Geo. C. EGAN,
D. A. Scott,
G. Scott.

There is upon this San Gorgonio Reservation a considerable amount of tillable land. There are also on it several small but good waterrights. One of these springs, with the adjacent land, is occupied by an Indian village, called the Potrero, numbering about sixty souls,an industrious little community, with a good amount of land fenced and under cultivation. These Indians are in great trouble on account of their stock, the approaches to their stock-ranges having been by degrees all fenced off by white settlers, leaving the Indians no place where they can run their cattle without risk of being corralled and kept till fines are paid for their release. All the other springs except this one are held by white settlers, who with one exception, we were informed, have all come on within the past five years. They claim, however, to have bought the rights of former settlers. One of the largest blocks of this reservation lies upon the San Bernardino Mountain, and is a fair stock-range. It is now used for this purpose by a man named Hyler. The next largest available block of land on the reservation is now under tillage by the dry system by the firm of Smith & Stewart. There is also a bee-ranch on the reservation, belonging to Herron & Wilson. One of the springs and the land adjacent are held by a man named Jost. He is on unsurveyed land, but claims that by private survey he has ascertained that he is on an oddnumbered section, and has made application to the railroad for the same. He requested us to submit to the Department his estimate of the value of his improvements. It is appended to this exhibit. It seems plain from the above facts, and from the letter of the Banning gentleman, that a considerable number of Indians could be advantageously placed on this reservation if the whites were removed. It would be necessary to acquire whatever titles there may be to tracts included in the reservation; also to develop the water by the construction of reser

4

voirs, &c., probably to purchase some small water-rights. Estimating roughly, we would say by an expenditure of from $30,000 to $40,000 this reservation could be rounded out and put into readiness for In. dians. It ought to be most emphatically stated and distinctly understood that without some such preparation as this in the matter of water. rights and channels the Indians cannot be put there. It is hardly possible for one unfamiliar with the Southern California country to fully understand how necessary this is. Without irrigation the greater portion of the land is worthless, and all arrangements for developing, economizing, and distributing water are costly. This is an objection to the San Gorgonio Reservation. There are two others. The Indians for the most part have an exceeding dislike to the region, and will never go there voluntarily,– perhaps only by force. The alternative of railroad sections with the sections of the reservations will surely lead to troubles in the future between the white settlers and the Indians. These are serious objections; but it is the only large block of land the Government has left available for the purpose of Indian occupancy.

PAPER No. 1, APPENDED TO EXHIBIT O.

Claim of C. F. Jost and wife for improvements in San Gorgonio Reservation,

Banning, San Bernardino County.

Settled on seetion 25, township 2 S., R. 1 E., S. B. M., San Bernardino County, in May, 1875. Bought out other white settlers. Hold railroad permission to settle on land ; of date, November, 1875.

IMPROVEMENTS.

.

[ocr errors]

House
Barn
Milk-house
Meat-house
Granary
Potato-house and cellar
Chicken-house
Two board flumes
Two water-dams
Honey-house
Wire fencing
Other fencing
One hundred and seventy fruit trees (mostly bearing this year)
Breaking up sod land and draining land
Amount paid to first white settler for claim (no improvements)

$300.00 150.00 50.00 50.00 50.00 50.00 20.00 50.00 20.00 10.00 300.00 200.00 400.00 200.00 250.00

$2,100.00

On the 1st of June I will have $50 worth of seed-potatoes 'in the ground, and labor, $100. It is necessary to plough the ground three times to properly prepare it for potatoes. This crop in December of the same year is worth $500 to $600 in the markets. Have about seventy stands of bees, worth, say $300, which if I am moved will be a dead loss.

EXHIBIT P.

THE PAUMA RANCH.

The Pauma Ranch lies on the San Luis Rey River, between the Rincon and Pala Reservations. It contains three leagues of land, largely upland and mesa, good for pasturage and dry farming. It can be irrigated by bringing water from the San Luis Rey River. There is some timber on it; also some bottom-lands along the river and along the Pauma Creek. The ranch is the property of Bishop Mora, who made to us the following proposition for its sale :

For the sum of $31,000 in gold coin of the United States of North America, I am disposed to sell to the Government of the United States, for the benefit of the Mission Indians, the ranch called “Pauma Ranch, in the County of San Diego,” containing three leagues of land, more or less, reserving to myself and to my assignees, 1st, two acres of land whereon the present Indian chapel stands; 2d, 320 acres on one half-section on the south side of the public road leading to Pala, whereon the frame house stands formerly belonging to Joaquin Amat. Terms, cash on delivery of deed of sale. This offer is made with the proviso that the transaction is to be concluded on or before the 31st day of October of the present year.

FRANCIS Mora,

Bishop of Monterey and Los Angeles. Santa Ynez, Santa Barbara County, May 14th, 1883.

Upon being informed by us that this condition of time of sale would make it impossible for us to secure these lands for the Indians, the Bishop, in the following note, waived that condition :

San Luis Obispo, May 21st, 1883. Mrs. William S. Jackson :

Dear Mrs. JACKSON, – Your favor of the 17th instant has been received. I feel heartily thankful for the interest you take in behalf of our Indians, and do with pleasure waive the condition as regards to the time, and will let the offer stand until the proposed bill has been voted on by Congress; provided, however, that the purchase can be brought to a close during spring or summer

of the year 1884, and subject to one year's lease, which will conclude December 31st, 1884, because I must try, pendente transactione, to get enough to pay taxes. Hoping you will reach home in good health,

Yours, affectionately,

FRANCIS MORA, Bishop of Monterey and Los Angeles.

It should be distinctly understood that Bishop Mora in making this offer, and generously allowing it to stand open for so long a time, is influenced by a warm desire for the welfare of the Indians.

EXHIBIT Q.

PROPOSITION FOR THE SALE OF THE SANTA YSABEL RANCH TO THE

UNITED STATES GOVERNMENT.

Los Angeles, Cal., May 19th, 1883. Mrs. Helen Hunt Jackson and Abbot Kinney, Esq.,

Special Commissioners to the Mission Indians : Should the U. S. Government wish to purchase the Santa Ysabel rancho, in San Diego County, California, containing 4 leagues of land, or about 18,000 acres, we will sell said rancho for the sum of ninety-five thousand dollars ($95,000), gold coin.

Respectfully,

HARTSHORNE & Wilcox,

By E. F. SPENCE, Agent.

EXHIBIT R.

An Act for the government and protection of Indians, passed by the Cali.

fornia State legislature April 22d, 1850. Section 1. Justices of the peace shall have jurisdiction in all cases of complaints by, for, or against Indians in their respective townships in this State.

Sec. 2. Persons and proprietors of lands on which Indians are residing shall permit such Indians peaceably to reside on such lands unmolested in the pursuit of their usual avocations for the maintenance of themselves and their families; provided the white person or proprietor in possession of such lands may apply to a justice of the peace

« PreviousContinue »