Alsea Sub-Agency cont.

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Twelve years after the Alsea Sub-Agency opened, Samuel Case became the Agent. He appeared more benevolent, as did George Litchfield, and certainly more agriculturally astute, allowing the Coos and Lower Umpqua to develop agricultural plots away from the ocean up the Yachats River. In 1872, less than three years before the Alsea Sub-Agency closed, agent Case wrote, “Last spring, the Coos and Umpqua opened a road ten miles in length to a prairie up the Yau-hants (a small stream emptying into the ocean at the south end of the agency farm). Here they planted and sowed small quantities of potatoes, oats, wheat and corn.”59 Howard Howell, whose father homesteaded their tract of land up the North Fork of the Yachats River acknowledged that there was an old Indian trail along the Yachats River on which his family and other settlers depended to reach their homesteads miles up the Yachats River.60

The Indian people at the Alsea Sub-Agency began to subsist. Crops were able to grow up the Yachats River. They were able to return to their hunting. They began to build adequate homes as a result of trade for their goods with settlers, not from any help from the United States Government.61

As the Indians at the Alsea Sub-Agency were slowly building a new life against incredible odds, the United States Government wanted to close the Alsea Sub Agency and open the area for homesteading. However, Annual Reports written by both Case and Litchfield initially advocated that the Alsea Sub-Agency should not be disbanded.62 In addition, an Act of Congress (1875) decreed, “Indians shall not be removed from their present reservation without their [Indians] consent.”63

on June 17, 1875, J.H. Fairchild, Agent at Siletz and George Litchfield, Agent at Yachats met with all leaders of the Alsea, Coos, Umpqua, and Siuslaw at Yachats to ascertain their response to closing the Alsea Sub-Agency. The Indians were given the promise that if they were removed to Siletz, each family or single man would be given a farm and agricultural implements. Each leader spoke. The following are examples of what the Indian leaders said:

Jack Rogers, Coos Chief:

“We want you to give us help that we can improve our lands, and not give us any trouble about leaving our country. We do not want any more agents to come and talk to us about our leaving this country, as we will never give up this country.”

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