The Infamous Black Bird Southern Oregon History, Revised

Correspondence of the Oregon Superintendency
Southern Oregon-related correspondence with the Oregon Superintendency for Indian Affairs.

Click here for Superintendency correspondence 1844-1900.

Klamath Agency Notes.
(Salem Statesman.)
    Our school boys having exhibited remarkable musical talent, they have been permitted to organize a band of eight, and the Indian Department has kindly furnished them with instruments. For the time spent in drill they have made very commendable improvements, under the instructions of the agency clerk, Mr. Willie Nickerson, assisted by his brother Roscoe. Their first performance in public was on our last Thanksgiving Day. Without the assistance of their teachers, the boys won for themselves the applause of the audience, whose voices mingled enthusiastically and harmoniously with the trumpet notes in the closing tune of "Old Hundredth." The girls are also being trained on the organ and are learning rapidly.
    Our new and commodious industrial boarding houses, both here at the Agency and at Yainax, are being still further enlarged and improved so that the former covers now an area of 100x118 ft. including their porches, and six additional rooms on the lower floor; also a newly finished attic, or third story, with six gables and two dormer windows. This gives a large laundry drying room, and increases the capacity of our dormitories, so that we can now accommodate one hundred pupils instead of seventy-five as heretofore. That at Yainax has been proportionately increased and is rapidly filling up with pupils.
    Immense woodsheds connected with these boarding houses were filled to their utmost capacity with the best of stove wood, for winter use. The school boys were required to provide all the wood, as well as hay, for all department purposes early in the summer.
    The report to this Indian department from the seamstress, for the month of January, shows that the girls in her department manufactured one hundred and forty-five articles of clothing, as dresses, aprons, drawers, nightgowns, underskirts, flannel shirts, pants, &c., &c., from five hundred and fifty-four yards of cloth of various kinds.
    They also knit by hand eight pairs of stockings, besides doing all the housework, cooking, scrubbing, washing, mending, ironing, &c., and attending school one-half of each school day.
    The boys receive instructions out of school under the employment of Mr. Geo. Gilbert Anderson in farming, butching, caring for livestock and managing the teams, varying in capacity from the light two-horse hack team to the heavy logging team of eight horses, and use of six yoke of enormous oxen.
    Mr. George Loosley, assisted by Mr. Reinchel in carpentering, by Logan Pompey (Indian) in blacksmithing, and Wilbur Jackson (Indian) in the sawmill, give the boys instruction in all kinds of wood and iron work required on the reservation.
    The work in the harness and shoe shop is all done by our trained Indian boys.
    The Indians at Williamson River are repairing, finishing and furnishing their church, all at their own expense except for nails and paint. Those at Yainax are preparing to build a church soon. They have voluntarily contributed with remarkable liberality in labor and hauling toward the erection and enlarging of their school buildings. They came down here a distance of forty miles, and cut and hauled logs to the mill, and assisted in sawing them through the winter season, and in summer they haul the lumber home, for their own use, and for the school. The amount appropriated by the department for the erection of these two boarding houses does not cover one-third of the actual expense. Such is the interest these Indians are taking in their own welfare.
    During the Christmas holidays an unprincipled man sold whiskey to a few of our Indians, who became intoxicated. For the crime of selling whiskey to Indians the perpetrator is held in durance vile.
    For the crime of drunkenness, the guilty parties both men and women were tried before a court of their own people, found guilty and sentenced to two months imprisonment and hard labor. This is the full extent of the penalty for the first offense. A second will be punished with double, and so on doubling for each additional drink. Can the whites beat that?
Ashland Tidings, March 13, 1885, page 1

    A change has been made at the Klamath Indian Agency, Rev. Joseph Emery of the State Agricultural College at Corvallis succeeding L. M. Nickerson as agent. Rev. Emery is of the M.E. Church, South, and will soon take charge.
"Local Items," Oregon Sentinel, Jacksonville, August 15, 1885, page 3

Aboriginal War Paint Pit.
Coos Bay News.
    J. E. Rose lately discovered on his place the original pit dug by the Indians to get their war paint. The pit is on a corner of the extensive bank of mineral paint, the discovery of which was mentioned a short time since. Close to the edge of the slough, where the late high tides made encroachments on the bank, can be seen a quantity of blue clay, which some say was also used by the siwashes in years gone by, but if it was, it need never be used by them again, as, since the advent of the whites, poor Lo looks blue enough without paint. It would be interesting to know just what the noble red man did do with these varieties of clay, but Coos Bay whiskey has made such inroads in their ranks that Indians who were old enough to drink it when the bay was first settled have long ago departed to the happy hunting grounds, or some other place, and the process by which they converted the clay into paint is liable to remain a mystery.
Morning Oregonian, December 8, 1885, page 3

Last revised November 21, 2021