Kancoll: The Kansas Historical Quarterlies

A Fragment of Kansas Land History:
The Disposal of
the Christian Indian Tract

by Paul Wallace Gates

August, 1937 (vol. 6, no. 3, pages 227 to 240)
Transcribed by lhn; digitized with permission of
the Kansas State Historical Society.

THE key to much of the early history of Kansas is to be found in the competition of squatters, speculators and railroads for ownership of its fertile acres and in the land policies established by the federal government for that territory. In Kansas, land disposal was not so completely determined by what are generally known as "public land policies" as it was in many other states, since much of the land in eastern and southern Kansas never became part of the public domain and therefore was never subject to such land policies as preemption and homestead. In this part of the state lay the Indian lands which, when ceded by their original owners, were transferred directly to individuals or to companies rather than to the United States, or were ceded to the United States in trust to be sold for the benefit of the Indians under conditions differing from those applicable to the sale of public land, or were allotted in severalty to individual Indians. It is the purpose of this paper to discuss the struggle for possession of the Christian Indian tract, a struggle which serves to illustrate on a small scale the many land controversies of this period of Kansas history.

     The Indian intercourse act of 1834 was designed to create a definite Indian territory in which unlawful settlement was proscribed by heavy penalties (section 11) and any attempt to acquire by "purchase, grant, lease or other conveyance of lands, or of any title or claim thereto, from any Indian nation or tribe of Indians," save by properly constituted public officials was strictly forbidden (section 12). [1] The present area of Kansas was included in the Indian territory and the passing of the KansasNebraska act did not suspend the operation of the intercourse act within the Indian reservations in Kansas. [2] Unfortunately for the Indians, the opening of Kansas territory, from which settlers had hitherto been excluded, was like opening the flood gates of an angry river; hordes of land seekers



poured across the Missouri river in their search for homesteads and speculative opportunities. These people, completely disregarding the intercourse act and the warnings of Indian agents, penetrated into the Indian reservations, squatted upon their choice lands, stole their timber and seduced the Indians into signing away their lands. Efforts to enforce the intercourse act by expelling the intruders and punishing those violating section 12 of the act were largely fruitless. [3] The prevailing contempt for the law was the result in no small degree of the violation of section 12 by practically all of the territorial officials and military officers stationed at Fort Leavenworth. [4]

     The lands of the Christian or Munsee tribe of Indians consisted of 2,571 acres, located two miles from the town of Leavenworth. [5] These Indians [6] had been moved from frontier to frontier by a government which was endeavoring, most unsuccessfully, to keep the Redmen away from the demoralizing influence of white civilization. A small band of these Indians eventually settled on the Delaware reservation in Kansas and in 1854 they were authorized to purchase from the Delawares four sections of land near Leavenworth, which included the small improvements they had made. [7]

     By the same treaty in which the Christian Indians acquired their tract, the Delaware Indians also surrendered their lands about Leavenworth and retired to a tract more remote from settlement,


leaving the Christian Indians quite surrounded by the hordes of immigrants who poured into the Delaware lands after the passing of the Kansas-Nebraska act. Despite the removal of the more powerful Delawares from their neighborhood and the opening to settlement of land surrounding their now isolated reservation, Indian Commissioner George W. Manypenny was optimistic that the Christian Indians would succeed upon their reserve which was "well adapted to agricultural uses." [8] Manypenny believed that the reduced reservations into which the Indians in Kansas were being crowded by a series of treaties, adopted principally in 1854, must be regarded as "their permanent homes. They cannot again be removed. They must meet their fate upon their present reservations and there be made a civilized people, or crushed and blotted out." [9]

     The Christian Indian tract being adjacent to the Missouri river was certain of squatter penetration, the more so as it was for a number of reasons especially desirable. It was close to Leavenworth, for long the most rapidly growing community in Kansas; the chief commercial route into the interior of Kansas passed through the center of it; part of it was fertile and suitable for farming and had the advantage of being close to a growing market; and finally, in a territory where timber was scarce and consequently highly prized, this tract, being heavily forested, was certain to be coveted.

     The attack upon the Christian Indian tract began with the opening of the territory. In May, 1855, the resident Indian agent warned the squatters to cease their intrusions, only to "excite against Commissioner Manypenny and myself angry threats." [10] Warnings and orders had no effect; the intruders remained upon the tract, steadily despoiling it of its commercially valuable timber. The use of troops to expel the intruders was sought but was not granted, the administration contenting itself with issuing orders and tacking up notices directed against violations of the Indian intercourse act. By 1857 at least fifteen families were squatting upon the tract." Many of the early Kansas squatters were speculators, bent on establishing claims to resell to others. One of the more fortunate squatters sold


his claim to the chief justice of the territory, Samuel D. Lecompte, for the extraordinary price of $1,900 for 160 acres. [12] This was for a mere squatter's claim, the government title or Indian title not being included and, in the light of subsequent developments, it was a hazardous investment. At the time, however, it was thought that squatters on the Christian Indian lands would be treated in the same way as squatters on the surrounding Delaware lands, who hoped that preemption privileges would be conceded to them either at the government minimum of $1.25 per acre or at appraised valuations, regardless of improvements of squatters. Two other purchases of 160 acre claims were made for $1,500 and $1,000 respectively. [13] Such prices were calculated to whet the appetites of larger speculators who now began to look upon the tract with much interest.

     The chief income of the Christian Indians, meager as it was, came, after the white invasion, from the sale of the timber on their lands. [14] Probably but a small proportion of the timber taken was actually paid for, but nevertheless it did provide a small source of income. This easy money and the continued demoralization resulting from contact with whites, so lugubriously pictured by the Indians' missionary friend, Gottlieb Oehler, [15] made them ready listeners to white men's schemes for purchasing the entire tract. The Indians soon became aware of the value of their tract and it took little urging to induce them to part with it in return for the money which, they hoped, would give them immediate pleasures and permanent freedom from the drudgery of work.

     When, therefore, the Christian Indians were approached by Dr. Charles Robinson, one-time agent of the New England Emigrant Aid Company and of its land investing affiliate the Kansas Land Trust, [16] and by Samuel C. Pomeroy, also an agent of the New England interests in Kansas, they were in an agreeable mood for action. Robinson had previously shown little regard for the Indian intercourse act which he had openly flouted in a contract made with cer-


tain Delaware Indians, for the purchase of logs. [17] Furthermore, Robinson had sought to purchase for the Emigrant Aid Company 1,280 acres of the extremely desirable Kansas half-breed lands located across the Kansas river from Topeka adjacent to the tracts fraudulently purchased by Gov. Andrew Reeder. [18] When legal difficulties prevented him from carrying out his scheme, which was also in violation of the intercourse act, he denounced the Missouri Proslavery party for raising such obstacles in order that they might monopolize the half-breed lands. [19] Pomeroy, although a New Englander, had quickly acquired the frontiersman's disregard for laws and treaties affecting the Indians and had been associated with Robinson in the above-mentioned enterprise. These were the men who offered the Christian Indians $37,000 for their entire tract, a sum calculated to take away the breath of the owners, who accepted with alacrity. [20]

     News of the sale was quickly spread about and came to the ears of Benjamin F. Robinson, government Indian agent to the Delawares. Agent Robinson had the interests of the Indians sincerely at heart and raised immediate objections to the sale. It was contrary to the intercourse act; it did not adequately compensate the Indians for their land; and it created a new problem as to the future policy to be followed towards the Christian Indians. [21] Furthermore, though this may have mattered little to Agent Robinson, Dr. Charles Robinson and Samuel C. Pomeroy were of the despised "abolitionist" school of politicians and the choice speculative plums were not for them.

     George W. Manypenny, Indian commissioner and a man who really sought to do his best for the Kansas Indians, agreed that the sale was illegal and declared that the participants in this attempt to violate the law should be prosecuted. [22] He further stated that. the Christian Indians could not sell their lands except in accordance with the provisions of the treaty with the Delawares and then only


to the United States. [23] Mere violators of Indian rights, despised political opponents though they might be, were not, however, to be punished, except that the sale was not recognized as legal. Robinson and Pomeroy were for the time being on the wrong side politically and had to wait for a number of years before their share of governmental favors was handed out.

     The same day that Manypenny sent his refusal to Robinson and Pomeroy, a second group consisting of Leavenworth magnates at the head of which was William H. Russell, submitted a bid of $20 per acre for the tract, or $51,200. [24] Russell was one of the most prominent business men in Kansas, being a member of the firm of Russell, Waddell and Majors which in 1856 secured from a friendly administration the lucrative freighting contract for the transportation of government supplies across the plains. He had strong financial as well as political support through his connection with Luke Lea [25] and one would suppose that the bid offered by a syndicate headed by Russell would receive serious consideration. Nevertheless, it also was refused.

     In quick succession, three more offers were made for the purchase of the tract. James W. Hughes, of St. Louis, on April 23, 1857, offered a straight $50,000; [26] Ben Holladay offered $50,000 for the land, $1,500 for improvements thereon, and $4,000 for the chiefs; [27] and, finally, a group of associates headed by A. Titlow, M. S. Reyburn and Lucy Powers offered $55,000. [28] Titlow and his associates were claim owners residing on the tract who had purchased their claims for substantial sums. Ben Holladay made a special trip to Washington to negotiate the sale but to no avail. The acting Indian commissioner stated to him that the "Secretary of the Interior has declined to entertain any proposition in regard to the sale of the lands . . . ." [29]

     Still another communication concerning the Christian Indian tract was received by the Indian office. This was the petition of T. Y. Chevalier and fourteen other heads of families squatting upon


the tract who demanded the right to buy their farms at a fair appraisal,30 a privilege which the settlers on the Delaware lands had in effect extorted from the government. They pointed out that there were fifty-four persons in their families, that they had been on the tract from one to four years and had made improvements to the aggregate value of $7,200. All these offers were refused with equal firmness and it seemed that the department had the fullest intention of safeguarding the homes of the Indians against white encroachment.

     While Russell, Hughes, Holladay, the combination of claim purchasers, and the squatters were endeavoring to purchase the Christian Indian tract through negotiations with the Indian office, another Kansas politician determined to make an effort to buy the tract directly from the Indians. This man was Andrew Jackson Isaacs, formerly of Louisiana, who, in 1854, had been appointed by President Pierce attorney general for Kansas territory. Like most of the early Kansas politicians, Isaacs had his eye out for the main chance and was more interested, apparently, in his land speculations than in his political preferment. He was an incorporator of the Proslavery town of Tecumseh [31] once promoted as the territorial capital of Kansas, and he cooperated with other territorial officials in an attempt to purchase, illegally, 2,300 acres of Kansas half-breed lands located on the north bank of the Kansas river. [32] He was also a member of the Pawnee association which sought to establish the territorial capital on a military reservation at Pawnee. [33] President Pierce refused to confirm the Kansas half-breed sale, branding it as a violation of the intercourse act, and the territorial legislature refused to remain at Pawnee, but adjourned to Shawnee mission.34 For their participation in these obviously fraudulent activities Governor Reeder and Judges Elmore and Johnston were dismissed by the President, but Isaacs retained his position. As subsequent events were to prove, Isaac's illsuccess in these early deals was not to deter him from similar illegal efforts later. It is not unfair to state that the illegal Kansas half-breed sale was used by the Pierce ad-


ministration as a pretext to drop Governor Reeder whose antislavery views were unacceptable to it. Isaacs need not feel then, that another sale in which only administration supporters were involved would be so treated.

     Isaacs was intimately associated in a business way with the most important group of capitalists in Kansas: William H. Russell, Alexander Majors, Amos Rees and Hugh Boyle Ewing. Russell and Majors were in the freighting business; Rees and Russell had been active in organizing the city of Leavenworth and in the squatter association which dominated the public sale of the Delaware trust lands in 1856 and 1857. Russell, Rees, Isaacs and others organized the Leavenworth Fire and Marine Insurance Co., with a capital of $50,000, the Kansas Valley Bank, and were participants in promoting the towns of Tecumseh, Louisiana, and Wewoka. [35] More important, this group organized the Leavenworth, Pawnee and Western Railroad which was projected as a possible transcontinental road and which, it was hoped, might receive a generous subsidy from congress. This railroad, later known as the Union Pacific, Eastern division, and still later as the Kansas Pacific, was to receive from the federal government during the years 1860 to 1865 the most generous treatment of all the railroads seeking bounties at its hands. The road was chartered in 1855 by the Kansas legislature. [36] but was not organized until December, 1856. It then elected Hugh Boyle Ewing, son of former Sen. Thomas Ewing of Ohio, president, and instructed him to proceed to Washington, there to lobby for a grant of public land. [37] Isaacs and Ewing were in Washington at the same time and were probably mutually helpful in their efforts to secure the concessions they sought. It appears that the Christian Indian tract was desired by Isaacs' friends for the railroad they were promoting, and it is quite probable that their opponents, Robinson and Pomeroy, also wanted to obtain the tract for the Missouri River and Rocky Mountain Railroad or some other of the railroad schemes in which they were already deeply involved. [38]


     Isaacs went to Washington in March, 1857, where he submitted his resignation as attorney general for Kansas and then set out to secure confirmation of a sale he had previously negotiated with the Christian Indians for the purchase of their lands. [39] But before seeking confirmation of the sale, he thought it advisable to put his proposed purchase in a better legal position than that of Robinson and Pomeroy. Consequently, steps were taken to have the title to the four sections vested in the Indians, and this was done on May 21, 1857. [40] Article 13 of the treaty of 1854 with the Delawares stated that the four sections "shall be confirmed by patent to the said Christian Indians, subject to such restrictions as congress may provide . . ." As no restrictions were imposed, it would appear that the Indians, now having the patent to their tract, might dispose of it if they so wished, and that section 12 of the intercourse act would no longer be applicable to it. True, Jacob Thompson, Secretary of the Interior, subsequently implied in a letter of April, 1858, that the Indians could not dispose of the tract without the consent of congress, [41] but Isaacs could at least feel that he was on stronger ground than others who had previously sought to purchase it. Eight days after the patent was issued, Isaacs concluded a new contract with the Christian Indians for the purchase of their 2,571 acres for $43;400. [42] Gottlieb Oehler, Moravian missionary to this tribe, tells how Isaacs secured the consent of the Indians to this sale; he got them drunk, debauched them, bribed three of the leaders and induced them to sign his document when they were not in a state to know what they were doing. [43]

     One further step was necessary to pave the way for favorable


action by congress, and this was to prevent ratification of a treaty then before the senate which provided for the sale of 120 acres of the Christian Indian tract to the Church of the United Brethren. This treaty [44] was drawn up on December 16, 1856, by Benjamin F. Robinson, representing the United States, three chiefs of the Christian Indians-including Joseph Kilbuck-and Gottlieb Oehler representing the United Brethren. The treaty authorized the sale of 120 acres "now occupied by the agents" of the church "and embracing their improvements" for the sum of $1,440. It had been sent to the senate early in 1857 with the approval of Commissioner Manypenny, but was permitted to slumber in committee for more than a year. To clear the records for Isaac's purchase, it was advisable to dispose of the treaty and on March 30, 1858, Senator Sebastian reported it back to the senate adversely. On April 7 the treaty failed [45] of ratification and the way was now clear for Isaacs to press his claims.

     Before the news of the methods employed by Isaacs in dealing with the Indians reached Washington, Isaacs besieged the officials of the general land office and the Indian office to get them to confirm the sale. J. W. Whitfield, Kansas delegate to congress, was induced to support the sale, and in a letter to the Indian office of April 1, 1857, he stated that $40,000 was a fair price for the land and that Isaacs' offer should be accepted. Somewhat earlier, Norman Eddy, chosen by the government to administer the sale of the Delaware trust lands in Kansas, had stated to Isaacs that the lands were worth $16 per acre or a total of $40,960 [46] This statement was now passed on to the proper officials. Gen. James W. Denver, recently appointed commissioner of Indian affairs and later territorial governor of Kansas, was favorable to Isaacs' purchase of the tract, so much so, indeed, that he misrepresented to the Secretary of the Interior the views of Gottlieb Oehler. [47] Denver's support is better understood in the light of a letter of Madison Mills to J. A. Halderman, [48]


prominent Leavenworth attorney and townsite promoter, dated November 23, 1862, wherein it appears that General Denver owned a share in the tract he aided Isaacs in purchasing.

     When news of Isaacs' purchase became known, the Department of the Interior was deluged with letters from local Indian agents, missionaries, some of the Christian Indians, the squatters and claim owners on the tract and other persons seeking to acquire the lands, all protesting against confirmation of the sale. The purport of the letters was that Isaacs had debauched the Indians to secure their consent to the sale, that he had made the sale at distinctly less than the market value of the tract, and that the Indians actually did not. wish to move from their tract, but preferred to have it allotted in severalty. In his annual report for 1857, which was published in the Report of the Secretary of the Interior, Benjamin F. Robinson condemned the sale to Isaacs without mentioning the latter's name. "Under bad council," he said, a few of the Indians had been induced to sell the tract against the wishes "and to the prejudice of the larger portion of these people," and he recommended that legislation be adopted to keep the lands from "the grasp of the speculator." [49] Elsewhere Robinson pointed out the Indians themselves wished to have the lands allotted in severalty as did the intruders on the tract who could then acquire them from the Indians, but he seemed to feel that a sale to the highest bidder should be made. [50]

     Before Isaacs' purchase was confirmed Gottlieb Oehler made yet another suggestion for the disposal of the tract. He proposed that Judge Lecompte and other claim owners on the tract be permitted to purchase their 835 acres for $26,000 and that the remainder of the tract be put up at auction from which at least $80,000 should be expected. [51] Such prices reflect the high value commonly placed on this land.

     Isaacs was not easily deterred by the clamor raised against his purchase. He denied that there was any illegality in it, contended that the intercourse act did not apply in this case, stated that he had actually paid $40,000 of the purchase price to the Indians and claimed that the title received from them was good. He further stated that the opposition to and criticism of the sale came from "selfish grasping people" who hoped themselves to have a share in the lands. [52]


     Isaacs' purchase could have no validity until it was recognized by the Department of the Interior and, on the face of things, it seemed that its consent would not be forthcoming. Commissioner Manypenny had earlier committed himself by denouncing the sale to Robinson and Pomeroy as being a violation of the intercourse act and it was difficult to see how the bureau could reverse itself now that a loyal Democrat was the violator instead of Republican abolitionists. The Secretary of the Interior had likewise declined to consider the sale of the lands. [53] Also, Commissioner Mix on April 31, 1858, inferred that no sale of the tract need be recognized by the government. [54] On April 12, 1858, the Secretary of the Interior expressed the view that congressional action was necessary to validate the sale. [55] This gave the friends of Isaacs their opportunity, and three weeks later Congressman Greenwood of Arkansas reported out a bill [56] to give validity to Isaacs' purchase and a similar measure was introduced into the senate by Sebastian. [57]

     The senate measure was slipped through without any consideration, but subsequently a move to reconsider was made by Preston King, Republican of New York. King had been impressed by the widespread participation in land speculation by the territorial officials which Pierce and Buchanan had sent into Kansas and he was curious enough to look into Isaacs' land venture. The fact that he went to Marcus J. Parrott, Free Soil representative from Kansas, for information suggests that he was not loath to unearth unsavory information damaging to his Democratic colleagues, but this does not vitiate the value of the information he presented, which was in harmony with the letters the Indian office was receiving from Kansas. Senator King argued that haste was unnecessary and that it would be well to look into the matter before confirming what, on its face, was obviously an illegal sale. He pointed out that Parrott was opposed, that the Indians themselves were opposed, as were the people in the vicinity of the lands, that the price was distinctly less than the market value of the lands, and that the Indians wished to retain their lands. It also troubled King that "personages intrusted with the charge of these matters" should be speculating "in the property of the Indians, who are, in some extent, under their care." In conclusion, he said, "The more I have seen of it, and the more I have heard of it, the more I have come to the belief that it is one of those


land speculations in the neighborhood of Leavenworth that are not entitled to the sanction or consideration of congress." [58]

     When Senator Sebastian rose to defend the measure, Stephen A. Douglas, a friend of Isaacs, confident that the latter's supporters had a safe majority, impatiently urged Sebastian to give no further explanation, saying "I take it for granted that the senate will vote down the motion for reconsideration without further explanation." [59] Such arrogant treatment of the opposition to a measure so patently questionable was too much for old Sam Houston, of Texas, who entered into a rambling discourse on the matter to justify his support of the sale. He made no attempt to meet the objections of Senator King, but was mainly concerned with the opposition, a "Moravian missionary"-doubtless Gottlieb Oehler-who, he said, had demanded compensation to the amount of $2,300 for improvements put upon the lands by his church. Houston infers that all such opposition ceased when Isaacs agreed to pay this compensation. This ended the debate; the vote to reconsider was not agreed to and two days later the house accepted the senate bill without opposition, [60] and it was signed by the President on June 8. [61] The measure recited that Isaacs had agreed to purchase the lands for $43,400, "which sum was a fair consideration . . ." and the sale was confirmed. The sum was paid by Isaacs within the ninetyday time limit prescribed by the law and the lands then passed into his hands. [62]

     Meantime criticism of the sale did not diminish. Oehler remained opposed though he recognized that the action of congress in confirming the sale, "arbitrary" as it was, must end the matter. [63] The squatters on the tract kept up their oppositions [64] and, indeed, so vociferous did the clamor become that James W. Denver, now governor of Kansas territory, to quiet fears in Washington, induced Job Samuel, one of the Christian Indians, to sign a statement dated October 13, 1858, in which he declared his approval of the sale to Isaacs and maintained that the opposition to the same among the Indians came from members whose lives were threatened unless they expressed their opposition. As witnesses of this remarkable paper, appear the names of Oehler and Governor Denver, the latter protesting


that the Indian signatures were made voluntarily and that he himself prepared the statement!- [65]

     The later history of the Christian Indian tract is beyond the bounds of this story. [66] Its importance is not so much in the ultimate ownership or use of the tract but rather in the way in which the tract was sold. The sale to Isaacs was the first instance of the transfer of an important tract of Indian land directly to an individual or group. It marked the end of the Manypenny influence in the Indian office, an influence which may have been inopportune, but was certainly sympathetic to the Indian problems, and the substitution therefore of forces more friendly to the "Indian Rang," socalled. The sale also opened up a new avenue for speculators and railroad promoters to get control of Indian lands before they became a part of the public domain, an avenue which was used liberally between 1860 and 1868 and by means of which some of the best Kansas lands passed directly to influential groups without becoming a part of the public domain. The precedent bade fair to break down the entire land system until brought to a halt by the land reformers.


     *The gathering of material for this article was made possible, in part, by a grant-in-aid from the Social Science Research Council. If it were customary and proper the writer would dedicate this article to the memory of Frank Heywood Hodder whose famous article on "The Genesis of the Kansas-Nebraska Act" (Proceedings, Wisconsin State Historical Society, 1912, pp. 69-86) provided a more intelligent approach to the history of the pre-Civil war decade. Mrs. Lela Barnes and especially Miss Martha Caldwell of the Kansas State Historical Society were of great assistance in searching for material in the rich archives of the Society.
     1. 4 U. S. Stat., 730.
     2. 10 U. S. Stat., 277 Passim.
     3. The correspondence of the officials of the office of Indian affairs contains frequent allusions to efforts to oust the squatters. The commissioner of Indian affairs in a letter of October 8 1855 (Pratt MSS., Kansas State Historical Society) said the President had decided to order the troops to cooperate with the Indian agents in removing intruders. Public notice was to be given and then a written or printed notice was to be served on each intruder. After a reasonable time the troops were to be called in to evict those who refused to leave voluntarily. George W. Clarke, agent to the Pottawatomie Indians, relates the difficulties in removing squatters from the Kansas half-breed lands in a letter to B. F. Robinson, August 6, 1856, Pratt MSS. When driven off by the troops the squatters moved to the adjacent Delaware reservation and camped there until the troops were withdrawn. Then they returned to the half-breed lands. See, also, letter of B. F. Robinson, Delaware agency, September 29, 1857, to the superintendent of Indian affairs, and J. W. Denver, commissioner of Indian affairs, Westport, Mo., October 3 1857, to B. F. Robinson, Pratt MSS.; Lawrence Republican, November 8 180, quoting Mound City Report. Robinson warned the squatters off the Delaware lands by an advertisement in the Leavenworth Weekly Kansas Herald, January 8, 1859.      4. Reeder, Lecompte, Isaacs (spelled variously, "Isaacs," "Isacks," "Isaacks"), Elmore, and Johnston of the territorial officials, Majors Macklin and Ogden of Fort Leavenworth, and Pomeroy and Robinson of the Emigrant Aid Company all were guilty of violating the intercourse act.      5. The location of the tract is shown on map No. 27, Eighteenth Annual Report, Bureau of American Ethnology, 1896-1897, Part 2 (Washington, 1899). The land office description of the tract as recalled by M. Mills (letter to J. A. Halerman, November 23, 1862, Halder man MSS., Kansas State Historical Society) was as follows: E½ sec 1, T. 9 S., R. 22 E., of the 6th p. m., 275.10 acres; E½ and E½W½ sec. 12, T. 9 S., R. 22 E., 480 acres E½ and E½W½ sec. 13, T. 9 S., R. 22 E., 480 acres; fractional secs. 6 and 7, T. 9 S., acres; E½ 23 E., 598.10 acres; fractional sec. 17 and sec. 18, T. 9 S., R. 23 E., 738.37 acres, the total being 2 571.57 acres. Miss Annie Heloise Abel in her admirable study: "Indian Reservations in Kansas and the Extinguishment of Their Title," The Kansas Historical Collections, v. VIII (1904), pp. 72-109, especially 86, only mentions the sale of the Christian Indian tract.
     6. Joseph Romig, "The Chippewa and Munsee (or Christian) Indians of Franklin County, Kansas, The Kansas Historical Collections, v. XI (1910), pp. 314-323.
     7. Article 13, treaty of July 17 1854, 10 U. S. Stat., 1051. It is interesting to note that the framers of the treaty feared strong opposition would be shown to article 13 because it left the Christian Indians in possession of a tract of great value. Article 17 was therefore included which stated that "should the senate of the United States reject the thirteenth article hereof, such rejection shall in no wise affect the validity of the other articles."
     8. Report of Commissioner Manypenny for 1856, House Executive Documents, 34th Cong., 3d sess., 1856-1857, v. 1, part 1, p. 560.      9. Ibid., p. 573. Manypenny's sympathy with the Indians and disgust with the squatters and speculators who were violating the treaties and the reservations is brought out clearly in his correspondence with his superior, R. w. McClelland, Secretary of the Interior. See, especially, Manypenny to McClelland, September 22, 1855, "Old Files," office of Indian affairs, Department of the Interior, Washington, D. C. (Hereafter cited as I. O.)
     10. Letter of B. F. Robinson, May 11, 1855, Pratt MSS.
     11. Petition of T. Y. Chevalier and others, Leavenworth, Kansas territory, July 29. 1857, "Delaware File." I. O.
     12. Samuel D. Lecompte, Leavenworth, February 13 1867, to Doctor Eddy, commissioner for the sale of the Delaware lands; petition of Lecompte and six others, dated February 24, 1857 demanding the right to purchase the government title to their claims; Lecompte to Jacob Thompson, May 23, 1857, "Delaware File," I. O.
     13. Lecompte to Jacob Thompson, May 23, 1857, I. O.      14. The Christian Indian annuity was a paltry $400 per year. Act of August 18. 1856, 11 U. S. Stat., 69.
     15. Undirected letter of Gottlieb Oehler, Moravian mission, Kansas, February 18, 1857 ; same to James W. Denver, commissioner of Indian affairs, June 20, 1857 ; John C. Jacobson, Bethlehem, Pa., March 9, 1857, to Geo. W. Manypenny; same to James W. Denver, June 9, 1857, I.
     16. Russell K. Hickman's admirable article on the "Speculative Activities of the Emigrant Aid Company" (The Kansas Historical Quarterly, August, 1935, v. IV, pp. 235-267), is a mine of valuable information.
     17. Thomas H. Webb, Boston, December 21, 1854, to Dr. Chas. Robinson, Emigrant Aid Co., "Letter Book," I; "Records of the Executive Committee," Emigrant Aid Co., January 13, 1855, Kansas State Historical Society. Webb remarked that the 25 cents a cord for standing timber which Robinson has agreed to pay "seems hardly credible" in view of the great scarcity of timber in Kansas.
     18. "Records," Executive Committee, March 17, 1855.      19. Ibid., January 13, 1855.      20. Benjamin F. Robinson, Delaware agency, January 23, 1857, to George W. Manypenny, I. O.
     21. Ibid.
     22. George W. Manypenny, February 7, 1857, to Benj. F. Robinson, v. 56, I. O. Roy F. Nichols, who has studied most intensively the Pierce administration, is convinced that the Secretary of the Interior, Robert McClelland, and Manypenny were honest and well meaning in their management of the Indians. See his Franklin Pierce, Young Hickory of the Granite Halls (Philadelphia, 1931), pp. 274, 319, 407, etc.
     23. C. Robinson to Amos Lawrence, January 23, 1857, Lawrence MS'S., Massachusetts Historical Society.
     24. The other members were Fred Emory, E. C. McCarty, George W. Ward, Simon Scruggs and John H. Day. See letter of Russell and others, Leavenworth, February 7, 1857, to B. F. Robinson, I. O.
     25. There is a mass of information on the financial relations of Russell with Luke Lea and others in House Reports, 36th Cong., 2d sess., No. 78, "Abstracted Indian Trust Bonds," pp. 49 and elsewhere.
     26. James W. Hughes to James W. Denver, April 22, 1857, I. O.
     27. Ben Holladay, Washington, May 6, 1857, to Jacob Thompson, I. O.      28. Titlow, Reyburn and Powers, Leavenworth, May 25, 1857, to Jacob Thompson, I. O.      29. Charles E.Mix, June 15,1857,to Benjamin Holladay,"Letter Book,"57, I.O.      30. Petition of Chevalier and others Leavenworth, July 29, 1857, I. O. The petitioners claimed that they had settled upon the tract at the invitation of the Indians.
     31. Statutes of Kansas Territory, 1855, p. 818.
     32. The Indian agents who were seeking to expel squatters from the Kansas half-breed lands found that Isaacs, then attorney general, was actually opposing their efforts by advising the squatters to remain on the tracts, and maintaining that they had a right to settle upon the lands.-Geo. W. Clarke, Indian agent, Pottawatomie agency, August 6, 1856, to B. F. Robinson, Pratt MSS.
     33. A. J. Isaacs to J. A. Halderman, March 1, 1856, Halderman MSS.
     34. For these episodes see House Executive Documents, 33d Cong, 2d seas., Doc. 50. It is interesting to note that Isaacs concurred in a decision of Judge Lecompte which held that the territorial legislature's action in removing from Pawnee to Shawnee mission was valid.
35. Statutes of Kansas Territory, 1865, passim.
36. Ibid., p. 914.
37. H. Ewing, Leavenworth, December 26, 1850, and January 5, 1867, to his father, Hon. Thomas Ewing, Ewing MSS., Library of Congress.
38. Robinson and Pomeroy were promoting the town of Quindaro on the Missouri river south of Leavenworth and in this town they had invested a part of the funds of the New England Emigrant Aid Company entrusted to their charge. Robinson was a director of the Missouri River and Rocky Mountain Railroad which was projected as a rival of the L. P. & W. and in the years 1857 to 1860 he was bending all efforts toward getting government aid for the line. He was especially concerned with the rich lands of the Delawares and Christian Indians and sought to win the right of purchasing them, as did also the L. P. & W. Robinson's correspondence in the Pratt MSS. and in his own collection in the Kansas Historical society and his letters in the Lawrence MSS. are full of reports on his efforts to secure these lands. Indeed, judging by them one would almost conclude that he was more interested in his railroad and land ventures than in the slavery question.
     39. The sale to Isaacs is described in a letter of G. F. Oehler, Moravian mission, February 18, 1857, unaddressed, I. O. This was just eleven days after Manypenny, incensed at the efforts of Doctor Robinson and S. C. Pomeroy to buy the Christian Indian tract, instructed Benjamin F. Robinson, Indian agent, to get all possible information on their negotiations as grounds for prosecution under the intercourse act.Manypenny to Benjamin F. Robinson, February 7, 1857, Pratt MSS. No mention of prosecuting Isaacs for his violation of the act was found in any of the numerous letters dealing with the business.      40. There is considerable correspondence in the Indian office from Joseph Kilbuck and other representatives of the Christian Indians, concerning the title to their lands. Kilbuck had earlier opposed the sale of the tract, maintaining that to return to dwelling with the Delawares, which the sale of their tract would necessitate, would be a "return to heathenism."-Kilbuck, January 8, 1857, to George W. Manypenqy. Kilbuck was an uneducated Indian who was easily influenced. Probably his earlier attitude better reflected his real feelings although the hand of Oehler is apparent. Kilbuck received $100 from Isaacs and two other Indians received $50 each for their part in making possible Isaacs' purchase. B. F. Robinson on June 2, 1857, said that Kilbuck now repudiated his signature to the sale contract, claiming that he was drunk at the time and therefore unaware of what he was signing. Congressional action to give legality to the same may have been prompted by the repudiation of Kilbuck and others.      41. To A. B. Greenwood, chairman, committee on Indian affairs, house of representatives, I. O.
     42. See act of June 8, 1858, 11 U. S. Stat, 312. Oehler reported on February 18, 1867, that the sale price was $48,000.-Unaddressed letter, I. O.
     43. Oehler to James W. Denver, June 20, 1857 ; B. F. Johnson to Col. A. Cummins, June 2, 1857 ; John C. Jacobson, Bethlehem, Pa., March 9, 1857, to James W. Denver, and Jacobson to Geo. W. Manypenny, June 9, 157, I. O.
     44. Because the treaty was not ratified it was not made public at the time. The senate ordered it printed in confidence for the use of the senate."-Confidential Executive Document No. 7, 34th Cone., 3d sess. The Department of State furnished the writer a photostat copy of this treaty from 44 Regular Confidential Documents.
     45. Journal of the Executive Proceedings of the Senate, v. X, 1855-1858, pp. 354, 357; National lntelligencer, Washington, April 8, 1858.
     46. Norman Eddy, Washington, March 15, 1857, to Col. A. J. Isaacs, I. O.
     47. J. W. Denver, May 11 1857 to Jacob Thompson, "Report Book," No. 10, I. O. Oehler in a letter of ebruary 18 1857, had told how Isaacs had debauched the Indians to get them to sign the sale papers. Then when informed that Kilbuck a leader of the Christian Indians on whom he relied in his work, had consented to the sale, Oehler wrote on February 23, that although he felt the sale unwise and unfair, "since" Joseph Kilbuck now favored it he would no longer raise objections. When Oehler learned that Kilbuck had been bribed to favor the sale and later repudiated his action, he resumed his denunciation of it. In the meantime, however, Denver had distorted the meaning of his letter of February 18 in such a way that the Secrtary of the Interior was given to understand that Oehler favored the sale to Isaacs.
     48. Halderman MSS.
     52. A. J. Isaacs to Charles Mix, March 31, 1858, I. O.
     49. Senate Executive Documents, 35th Cong., 1st sess., 1857-1858, v. I, p. 454.
     50. B. F. Robinson, January 29, 1858, to Mix, I. O.
     51. Gottlieb Oehler, Washington, D. C., March 15, 1858, to Charles Mix, I. O.
     53. Mix to Benjamin Holladay, "Letter Book," 57, I. O.
     54. Mix to Jacob Thompson, April 3o, 1858, "Report Book," No. 10, I. O.
     55. Jacob Thompson to A. B. Greenwood, I. O.
     56. Congressional Globe, 85th Cong., 1st sess., 1857-1858, p. 1948.
     57. Ibid., p. 2016.
     58. Ibid., p. 2628.
     59. Ibid., p. 2628.
     60. Ibid., p. 2714.
     61. 11 U. S. Stat., 312.
     62. Mix to Isaacs, September 2, 1858, v. 59, I. O.
     63. Oehler to Mix, August 18, 1858, I. O..
     64. Wm. Kimberland, Leavenworth, November 18, 1858, to Charles Mix, I. O.
     65. Indian office.
     66. A little over a year later Isaacs and M. Mills of Leavenworth were advertising the 2,571 acre tract for sale in lots to suit purchasers.-Leavenworth Weekly Herald, March 3, 1860. The tract remained undivided at least until November, 1862, at which time proposals were made for its division among the four owners, one of whom was General Denver. Isaacs' name does not then appear among the owners.-M. Mills, St. Louis, Mo., November 23, 1862, to J. A. Halderman, Halderman MSS.

Go to previous article     Go to next article     Go to cover page for this issue     Go to KHQ main page