Text for Letter from Edward F. Beale to Luke Lea, 1852


California B131

E. F. Beale
San Francisco Sep 30 1852

Reporting accounts of agents McKee & Wozencraft for board & traveling expenses--accounts of Adam JOhnston--Encloses copy letter of  Genl. Hitchcock against agent McKee accompanying the troops moving against northern Indians--also copies of statements relative to  frauds in the space of beef cattle. asks for advice as to collecting those that have [escaped?] &c

Recd 1 Nov '52
1 Corre

[Letter P. 1]

Office Sup. Ind. Affs.
San Francisco, Sept. 30th, 1852.


I find agents Wozencraft and McKee are both under the impression that their board expenses, even while not travelling on the  business of their agencies, will be allowed. They allege that it is impossible to live in this country without such allowance being  made; but while my own experience fully confirms all they say on this subject, I cannot find any provision of law for the admission  or their claims. I therefore shall be obliged to disallow that part of their accounts when they come before me, unless otherwise  instructed by the department.

Adam Johnston, late Indian sub-agent, called on me a few days ago, with the verbal request that I would settle his accounts. It  appears he was dismissed from the service in January, and has nevertheless failed since that time to forward his accounts for  settlement. As the date of his dismissal was previous to my appointment, and the fault that his accounts remained unsettled his own,  I certainly did not feel that he had any claim on me. I replied to him, however, that if he brought the subject before me in an  official manner, I would give it my attention. I believe he has since sent them to Washington.

It was my desire that agent McKee should accompany the troops now moving against the northern Indians. I thought it of great  importance that one of the agents should do so, as 

[P. 2]

otherwise it would be impossible to keep the department properly informed in relation to our position here. With this view I  addressed the commanding general a letter, asking that agent McKee might join the detachment then on its way. Enclosed I send his  reply. 

For reasons which I will give hereafter, I do not feel authorized to employ agent Wozencraft on that service. I regret to say that  the confident anticipations you indulged, that I would, on conference with the agents here, be placed in possession of much valuable  information, was misplaced, as neither of them has been to the Indian country for some six months; and this is the more to be  regretted, as during that time cattle to an enormous amount have been placed in the hands of traders for the Indians, and a  temptation to all kinds of frauds held out to them by tbe prolonged absence of those whose duty it was to be vigilant in  superintending these issues.

The excuse alleged for this neglect is want of funds with which to travel. I cannot but regret, that after having involved the  government to a large amount to furnish these supplies, they should have felt themselves unauthorized in creating a small further  liability, which would have enabled them, by personal observation, to see so much public property properly disbursed.

The result of this is, if statements which are before me are to be credited, that government property, for which drafts have been  given and various liabilities contracted, placed in the hands of irresponsible men, has been squandered in every direction but that  in which it should have gone. The accompanying statements will show my meaning 

[P. 3]

too clearly to need further explanation.

This matter raises also a nice point on which I wish to take the advice of the department, though I fear that long ere the advice  comes it will be too late to be followed with effect.

It appears by the statement enclosed that the traders to whom the beef was furnished by Messrs. Wozencraft, Barbour, and McKee, have  allowed it either to remain unissued to the present time, or in somecases to escape in large droves. Now if I send and collect them,  there will be altogether nearly a thousand head of cattle for which drafts on the government have been given, or liabilities  contracted; but as the department does not recognise the transactions of these gentlemen, and has protested the drafts, if I take  the cattle I place the government under some additional obligation to pay the contractors, and may, by that means, put myself in the  same position as those gentlemen now are. On the other hand, if I do not collect them, and the government should at any subsequent  period conclude to pay these drafts, it will be the loser to the amount of this one thousand head of cattle, which in the mean time  will have passed entirely out of the reach of the agents of the department. 

And again, there being no appropriation to meet such contingent expenses as would be incurred, I have not the power, even if I were  clear as to the right, to collect these cattle. It was in anticipation of many such unforeseen cases that I made an estimate of  contingent expenses large enough to make this office properly efficient ; but as Congress has thought fit to strike out that  estimate, the country must suffer by their economy.

Very respectfully
Your obd. servt.
E. F. Beale
Sup. Ind. Affs.

To the Hon. Luke Lea
Comm. Ind. Affs. 
Washington, D. C.

[P. 4]


On or about the middle of November 1851 cattle were driven to the North by Gen. Estell, he has told me frequently, that they  belonged jointly to himself and Mr. John McKee, son and secretary of Reddick McKee esq. Indian Agent. The cattle were destined for  the tribes of Scotts & Shasta VAlley or the Northern Indians.

I believe this Mr. John McKee to be the same gentleman appointed about that time by his father as temporary Ind. Agent for Scotts  VAlley. I was told by Col. McKee himself that Gen. Estell had taken in his son into partnership or made him interested in this  cattle speculation, and was also told that they had made a very handsome amount of money out of the operation.

Col. McKee appointed a man named Gen. P. Armstrong to receive certain cattle and deliver them to the Indians. I delivered a drove of  cattle seventy two head in May last. I know of my own knowledge that very few of them have been given to the Indians.

I could recover them if seem on that duty.

Signed. H. C. Logan

San francisco
Sept. 21st 1852

I certify the above is a correct copy of the original in my posession.

E. F. Beale
Supt. Ind. Affs.

[P. 5]

[Official statement of Joel Brooks to Superintendent Beale, dated.]

On or about the 29th of August 1851. I was appointed by Major James Savage, the Indian trader on the Fresno, to take charge of  nineteen hundred (1900) head of cattle, that were delivered to the Indian Agents Barbour and Johnston, by Col. J. C. Fremont on the  River San Joaquin.

My instructions from Savage were, that when I delivered cattle on the San Joaquin, King's River and to other more southern Indians,  I was to take receipts for double the number actually delivered, and to make no second delivery, in case any should return to the  band, and when to Indians on the Fresno, to deliver one third left than were receipted for. I also had orders to sell all but I  could, to mind, which I did to the amount of about $120 or $130, and to deliver cattles to his clerks to be sold to the Indians on  the San Joaquin, at twenty five cents per pound, and I know that such value were made to those Indians.

In October, I received a written order from Savage, to deliver to alexander Godey, seventy eight head of cattle, to be driven to the  mines and there there sold to miners and others. I was also requested, in the same communication, to destroy the order as soon as  read, which was done after I read it aloud in the presence of Godey, P. Rainbott, Jose De Soto and Theodore McNatt. 

In November 

[P. 6]

I received a similar order to deliver to Godey, four hundred and fifty head, which was done. The best of these were to be sold, as  soon as possible, and the remainders to be herded by Godey elsewhere. About the last of November, or first of December, I moved the  cattle in my posession on  to the River Fresno, and delivered to P. Rainbott, a person appointed by Savage to receive them, eight  hundred head. I also gave to Savage receipts to the number of seventeen hundred heads which I had taken from the Indians. After the  cattle were on the "Fresnos", none were ever delivered to the more Southern Indians, although I know that "Tom Kil", the chief of  the tribe on the San Joaquin, frequently sent after them. Some were sent to the Indians working for Savage on the "Coarse Gold  Dutch", and others to stock his ranchs on the San Joaquin.

Utia had charge of that ranches and was a partner of Savages, and I have seen some of the cattle I had charge of in their coral.

I give the above account to E. F. Beale, Superintendent of Indian Affairs and intendit as an Official statement.

San Francisco
September 21st, 1852

Signed, Joel H. Brooks.

I certify that the above is a correct copy of the original in my possession.

E. F. Beale
Supt. Ind. Affairs

[P. 7]


Head Quarters Pacific Division
San Francisco, Sept. 21, 1852


I have received your communication of the date requesting such information as may be able to furnish you, likely to be of service in  the execution of your duties as Supt. of Ind. Affs. in this country; and asking transportation for Agent. R. McKee with the troops  about to proceed to the Northern boundaries of the State.

Our duties will necessarily have much influence upon each other, and it will afford me the greatest pleasure to furnish you any  information I may chance to pave which may promise to be useful. I regard to Agent McKee, I regret to say, but do so from a sense of  duty, that his presence iwth the troops will notice my opinion be productive of any advantage to the public. Information to some  extent and surrounds to a much greater extent have impaired my confidence in Col. McKee's usefulness that he may not be directed to  accompany the troops. 

I'm saying this I do not aim to control your 

[P. 8]

independent action, but am quite willing to bear all the responsibility of the opinion. I give above which has in view only the  public interests.

Very Respectfully
Yr. obdt. servt.
(signed) E. A. Hitchcock
Col. 2nd Infantry. B. B. General 

E. F. Beales
Supt. of Ind. Affs.
San Francisco

I certify that the above is a correct copy of the original one in my possession.

E. F. Beale
Supt. Ind. Affs.

[P. 9]


I was in charge of the government train which accompanied Mr. McKee to the North. Before we started Mr. Marshall bought a number of  American cattle which were driven along with us, and served out to the Indians at various places.

Mr. Marshall told me that Mr. John McKee, was his partner & that he and General Estell were equally concerned in the cattle. It is  generally understood in the North that John McKee was a partner of these gentlemen, Marshall & Estelle.

Mr. John McKee was secretary to his father at the time.

signed, Levi Wells
San Francisco Sept. 30th, 1851.

I certify that the above is a correct copy of the original in my posession.

E. F. Beale.
Supt. Ind. Affs.

[P. 10]

Memorandum of Conversation with Agent O. M. Wozencraft. San Francisco September 14th, 1852

Question 1st. With whom were your contracts for beef made?

Answer. The first with Mr. S. Norris.

Question 2nd. By whom were they issued to the Indians?

Answer. By the traders appointed by myself.

Question 3rd. What proof had you that they were issued to the Indians?

Answer. No other proof than the word of the traders themselves.

Question 4th. How were the weights estimated?

Answer. By asking any persons who might be on the ground to say what they thought the average weight of the drove to be.

Question 5th. Have you any further proof than the mere word of the traders, that the Indians ever received the beef without paying  for it?

Answer. None. I have not any. I generally saw the beef which was issued during the negotiation of the treaties. It was not weighted.

Question 6th. Have you not given dfts on the government for cattle which are not yet delivered?

Answer. Yes.

[P. 11]

Question 7th. Have you not ordered beef to the amount of fifteen hundred head, to be delivered between the Fresno & Four Creeks,  without ever having been in the Four Creek region?

Answer. I have never been to the Four Creek region, but have ordered the beef.

Question 8th. How many Indians do you suppose the Four Creek country to contain?

Answer. I do not know.

Question 9th. If you did not know, how could you determine the amount of cattle necessary for their subsistance?

Answer. From what was promised them by the treaties.

Question 10th. How do you know that the Indians of the Four Creeks ever received any of that beef?

Answer. Nothing further than that I was told so by the traders at the Fresno. I have no proof of it.

Question 11th. How far is the Fresno from the Four Creeks?

Answer. Eighty miles.

Question 12th. Do you not know that in some instances that traders who issued and contracted for the supply of the beef were the  same men?

Answer. I do.

[P. 12]

Question 13th. Were the contracts made by you verbal or written?

Answer. With Mr. Norris my contract was simply a verbal one. With Messers. Savage and Stater it was on my part the acceptance from  them of a proposition, which I understand was the same as a contract.

I have sometimes, when on a visit to the reservations seen the traders killing beef for the Indians, but do not know whether it as  the beef furnished by me or not. It was the impression on my mind however that it was the beef of the government. I was told it was  so.

I acknowledge the above answered as those made to E. F. Beale in reply to questions put by him in his official capacity as Supt.  Ind. Affairs for California.

Signed. O. M. Wozencraft.
U.S. Ind. Agent

I certify that the agove is a true copy of the original in my posession.

E. F. beale
Sup. Ind. Affs.