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MONTANA, 18 T 9 .
Report of Surveyor-General Mason to the Department of the Interior, Washington. United State« Surveyon-General's Office, ) Helena, Mont., October », 18T9./ **•••**••••* The Territory of Montana, comprising an area of more than 92,000,000 acres. !■* interspersed with moun tain ranges, spurs, and isolated peaks throughout its entire extent- The headwaters ot the Missouri and the Columbia rivers lie within its borders, and it is well watered by these rivers, the Yellowstone, Milk, Marias Muscleshell, Tongue, Big Horn, and Powder rivers and numberless smaller streams and tributaries. SOIL. In the western, central and southern portions of the the Territory the land along the valleys, adjacent to the streams,- is rich and well adapted to agriculture, large crops of grain, vegetables, etc., being produced with little or no irrigation. The soil of the table lands is generally good, only requiring irrigation, for which abundant water can be had, to produce largely, while the foot-hills ure covered with an abundant growth of nutritious grasses extending to the timber line. In •the northern and eastern portions of the Territory are vast tracts of so-called bad lands; but even these, in many portions, are covered with grasses more or less abundant, and affording grazing to large herds of buf falo, antelope, etc. timber. The Territory is well timbered throughout, the mountains being covered with a dense growth of pine fir and spruce, some of which attain very large propor tion«, while cottonwood« and willows border the streams. There are some small groves of ash, and I am informed that large bodies of oak have recently been found on the headwaters of Tongue river, near the southern boundary. The forest« in the immedi ate vicinity of settlements have suffered somewhat from the wanton depredations ef settlers, who often destroy half a dozen small trees in obtaining one of the requisite size for their purposes; but even in those portions where the hillsides have been stripped entire ly bure I have noticed a sturdy and flourishing second growth. The loss from forest fires is far greater than from any other source, but as the country becomes more settled, and the Indians, who are most careless with fire, are kept upon their reservations, these wil 1 become less frequent. climate. Montana is blessed with a delightful and healthful climate. The temperature is generally mild and even, and although severe cold weather it sometimes expe rienced it is never long continued. The rain-fall has increased during the past few years, and the snow upon the mountains lies deep, but the proportion of stormy days is small, and the glorious suushine and pure air throughout the greater portion of the year render mere existence a delight. AGRICULTURE. The amount of land under cultivation 1« limited by the demand tor the products, as no facilities exist tor export, but the yield per acre of grain, vegetables etc., is very large, and the quality is of the beet Montana wheat especially is unexcelled. As the population in creases so will the supply, and the area of arable land is so great that the Territory will not only be always self-sustaining in this respect, but will also have a large surplus to export whenever cheap modes of transportation are afforded. MINERAL WEALTH. No reliable estimate can be made of tbe value of the vast mineral resources of Montana. The richest placer mining ground in the comparatively settled por tions of flic Territory has been worked out, but new diggings are constantly being discovered and there are immense areas of placer ground which will pay a handsome profit whenever labor can be procured at from *1 B0 to $2 per diem. Quartz mining is still in its I infam y, and it is only within the last year that suffi [ cient developments have been made at several of the most prominent mining camps-notably Butte and Phil lpsburg—to prove the permanence and value of the ore deposits. Considering her isolated position and the great/expense of reduction of ores and transporta tion, Montana's product of precious metals has been Jrery large. In the near future it will be greatly in creased, and it is not an extravagant prediction to say that within ten years it will equal that of Nevada. STOCK. According to the most reliable estimates the num ber and value of stock in Montana has doubled within the. past three years. The natural increase is very urge, and In addition to this there has been a steady id increasing importation of cattle, sheep and horses. Stock breeders are paying more attention to the im ovement of the quality ot all kinds of stock, many koroughbred stallions, bulls and rams having been iported within the last year. Cattle and horses roam t will over the foot-hills throughout the entire year, sheep require shelter and food for a few weeks ,y in the winter season. he value of the export of cattle, hides and wool 1, in a few years, rank second only to that of pre s metals. THAN SPORT ATION. uring the season of navigation, steamboats come the Missouri river to Fort Benton, the present head avigation, and np the Yellowstone to a point at, during the high stage of the water above, the th of the Big Horn river. The Missouri 1« navig to the Great Falls, about forty miles above Benton, and at slight expense can be made so e the falls nearly if not quite to the junction of three forks, the Madison, Jefferson and Gallatir Tbe improvement ot this portion of the river e commenced early next season, under an appro on by Congress, and a light-draught steamboat, :n abo^'c the falls, will be put on the river at the time by a Montana company. The Yellowstone is also being surveyed with a view to its im minent. Utah & Northern (narrow gauge), running erly from Ogden, has now reached our southern at Pitas ant valley, on the main divide of the Zy Mountains, and in a few weeks will be at the of the divide. This insures us. for the first time, nuoue transportation throughout the entire year, terminus will probably remaiu at the foot of ivide for some time to come, but eventu \e road will be extended into the central portion Territory. The Northern. Pacific Railroad has reached our eastern boundary, and early next er will have its terminus at, or near, Mile« City, Yellowstone river, at the mouth ot Tongue Upon the completion of this road, passing h the richest portion« of tlio Territory, from tern to the western borders, and affording am ans of transportation for imports and export«, na will enter upon a career of prosperity per nexampled in the history of the the Territories, ure to expreee the hope that Congreaa will see ercise a wise liberality, extend the time for the tion of this railroad, which 1« of vital 'jnpor M on tana, and confirm its land grant POPULATION. e early day« of Montana, her popolation was almost entirely of men, attracted by the er mines, and when these became exhausted, her of settlers decreased for several years, overy of quartz leads caused a steady Influx, that her natural resources are becoming dely known and utilized, immigration Is in yearly, and is of a permanent character. The are intelligent industrious, peaceable, and ng. respectfully, your obedient servant ROSWELL H. MASON, mted States Surveyor General for Montana. THE PIEGAN WAR OF 1870. An Unpublished Chapter. BY COLONEL WM. F. WHEELER. The campaign of Major Eugene M. Baker, Second U. S. Cavalry, against the Piegan Indians (a band of the Blackfeet tribe) in Northern Montana, in January, 1870, al though denounced at the time by the Eastern press as a wanton massacre, was one of the most necessary punishments, as it was one of the most important events, that has ever transpired in the annals of border warfare. It is the object of this paper to briefly relate why and how it occurred. In the summers of 1808 and 1869, as everybody then resident of the Territory well remembers, murders of white men by the Blackfeet (Piegans) were almost of daily occurrence, and the stealing of horses of settlers was carried on by whole sale. It was unusual if the daily papers did not record some Indian deviltry in nearly every issue. The people of Choteau, Meagh er, Lewis and Clarke, and those residing on the borders of Deer Lodge and Gallatin counties, were the principal sufferers. Al most every freight train between Helena and Benton during the summer of 1869 was at tacked. Garrison's herders were killed by the Indians within three miles of Fort Ben ton, and McQuail and his partner were mur dered while working their mines in sight of Silver City. Horses were stolen from the valley in sight of Helena in broad daylight, and the whole herd was stampeded from Boulder Bar, within half a mile of Diamond City, at daylight one morning, and the yells of the Indian horse thieves were heard by the citizens of town as they were driven away. Hugh Kirkendall's whole train of thirty-two splendid mules were stolen early one morning while camped at the Dearborn. Every stage passenger, freighter, traveler, or prospector on the road between Helena and Fort Benton and through Meagher county was compelled to carry his rifle and revolver, not withstanding which fifty-six white men were murdered during the year 1869 by sav ages who mostly ambushed and killed with out warning. On the 23d of August, 1869, these Indians (Piegans) came to the ranch of Malcolm Clark, who lived near the mouth of Prickly Pear Canon, on the place now owned by James Fergus, twenty-five miles from Helena, and by lies abeut returning his stolen horses, drew him out of his house in the night and shot him dead. They also shot his son Hor ace through the face and left him on the ground for dead, but he subsequently recov ered and is now living at Highwood in Cho teau county. They intended to carry of Clark's wife and three daughters, but were too busily engaged in securing the thirty or forty head of horses, owned by Mr. Clark, to do it that night. The next morning Miss Ellen P. Clark, his eldest daughter, (now and long an honored teacher in the public schools of Helena,) gave the news of the murder of her father to the white men at King & Gillette's toll gate, and the survivors were brought into Helena and cared for by tha citizens. Major Clark had lived among the Blackfeet twenty-eight years and had married into their tribe, which ren dered his murder remarkable, as be had spent a fortune in administering to their wants and was always their great friend and counsellor. Private revenge was supposed to be the cause of his sacrifice. Major Clark was'personally known to nearly every settler of Montana, and had displayed hospitality with a libera hand to many weary immigrants, who were out of means, on their way from the States to the rich gold fields of the Territory. His murder, in the centre of the most populous county in Montana, and so near the largest town in it, awakened the people to the neces sity of some prompt action by themselves or the Government, and letters were sent by scores to the military and civil authorities in Montana and at Washington, giving de tails of the murders committed by the In dians. The newspapers teemed daily with articles setting forth the dangers of our situ ation and demanding protection. of I had been qualified as U. S. Marshal on thé fifth day of July of that year, and pro ceeded at once to procure the evidence neces sary to indict and convict the murderers in the numerous cases which had occurred dur ing the year. The only case in which the murderers could be identified personally, or where they could be indicted for the murder, was that of Malcolm Clark. His daughter Ellen and son Horace knew personally and by name five chiefs who had participated in the killing of their father. With their evi dence I went before the U. 8. Grand Jury at the October term of the Third Judicial Dis trict Court, which met in Helena, and there the five leaders were indicted for the willful murder of Malcolm Clark. They were as lia ble to personal punishment by the civil au thorities as white men would have been for the same offence. Before the meeting of the Grand Jury I had searched through every number of the Daily Herald from the first of January to the day court met, and the Grand Jury was informed of the exact number of white peo ple killed and the number of horses stolen by the Indians, and as near as I can remem ber, I found that fifty-six whites had been murdered and over one thousand horses had been stolen by the Blackfeet in 1869. At the request of the Grand Jury I drew up a report of these facts for the use of the court, which every member signed, with a request to the court that certified copies should be sent to all military and civil authorities having any ju risdiction or authority to punish the Indians for their misdeeds. 1 forwarded copies to President Grant, the General of the Army and acting Secretary of War, General Sher man, the Secretary of the Interior, General J. D. Cox ; to General Sheridan, at Chicago ; General Hancock, at St. Paul, and General De Trobriand, commanding the U. S. forces in Montana, at Fort Shaw, and wrote letters to each, setting forth oar perilous situation. I also gave General Alfred Sully, then U. 8. Superintendent of Indian Affairs for Mon tana, copies of the warrants of arrest for the five murderers, and made a demand for their surrender. He acquainted the President and Secretary of the Interior with these facts, and asked for instructions. Upon this in formation a Cabinet meeting was called, at which our then Delegate, Hon. Jas. M. Cav anaugh, was invited to be present. The con dition of Montana was fully discussed. Mr. Cavanaugh wrote me that General Sully was instructed to demand the murderers from their tribe, and if they failed or refused to surrender them on his demand, they were to be by him notified that the Government would send its soldiers and take them by force or make war on the Indians. Attorney-General Hoar was the only Cabinet officer who dis sented from this decision, and he called him a Massachusetts humanitarian! Cavanaugh himself was a native of Massachusetts. General Sheridan was instructed by General Sherman, then Acting Secretary of War, to detail the otÇcer in Montana best fitted for tbe purpose of conducting an Indian campaign, to proceed against them in case they refused to comply with the demands of General Sully. He promptly chose Major Eugene M. Baker, Second U. S. Cavalry, then in command of Fort Ellis, and assigned him to this duty. He was chosen for his brilliant campaign against the Indians in Oregon. His instruc tions were to the point. Sheridan's telegram to Major Baker said : "If you have to fight the Indians, hit them hard." The sequal will show that he fulfilled his instructions literally. All Montanians agree that no better com mander could have been selected for the pur pose. I accompanied General Sully to Fort Shaw to make a demand of the Indians for the sur render of the five murderers of Malcom Clark. We happened to arrive there on Christmas day, 1869, and were invited by Capt. Cutter, post sutler, to a magnificent Christmas dinner given by him to the officers of the post. The next morniDg, December 26th, runners were sent off to notify the chiefs of the Piegans to meet Gen. Sully in general council. In a few days the council met at the Black feet Agency, on the Teton, and Gen. Sully informed the council of the object of his visit. After a long consultation the council agreed to deliver the murderers to General Sully at Fort Shaw within twelve days. General S. waited for the fulfillment of this promise, but soon found that the murderers had been sent north of the British boundary, and the inter preters said that the Indians laughed at the idea of surrendering their brethren tobe hung by the whites, and the soldiers they did not fear. They had never come in contact with them yet. As soon as General Sully became satisfied that the Piegans were acting in bad faith, he notified General DeTrobiand, com manding the district of Montana, who in turn communicated the order of Government to Major Baker to march at once against the Indians. He accordingly marched from Fort Ellis, a distance of 190 miles, to Fort Shaw, with five companies of his glorious 2d cavalry. His force was about 250 strong. At Fort Shaw he was joined by a company of the 13th U. S. Infantry. After a short rest, Major Baker with his whole command, about 300 men, in tbe mid dle of January, 1870, the mercury indicating nearly 40 degrees below zero, made a march of two nights and one day against the Regans, who were encamped in their winter village on the Marias river, 80 miles from Ft. Shaw. Major B. surrounded the village just at daylight on the morning of the second day, January 23d, I believe, and got between their camp and herd of horses before an Indian was seen. A soldier, a little in advance of his company, rode near to a teepe, when an Indian, hearing the tramp of horses, stepped out with his gun across his arm, and without any warning shot the soldier dead off his horse. At this Major Baker ordered his men to fire as long as there was any resistance. In an instant every warrior was out of his teepe, firing at the soldiers. Being completely sur rounded the Indians sought shelter inside their teepes, and with their knives cut holes through their sides and fired from within. A 9 long as they kept this up the soldiers fired into the teepes. When the Indians ceased firing Major Baker ordered his soldiers to cease, and called upon the Indians to surren der, which they did at once. The resalt of the fight was 900 ponies cap tured, and 173 Indians killed and some wound ed. About 150 women and children were left alive, and eight warriors escaped. Un fortunately abont fifty women and children were killed. Bat this was unavoidable, as the Indians fought from their teepes, where their families were, and the soldiers had to fire into them until resistance ceased. Not one of the murderers was found among the dead Indians. When inquired for the captives answered that they were living north of the line, thus proving that the Indians did not in tend to surrender them, and had acted in bad faith towards General Sully. It was found that the Indians were suffer the all ju to ; 8. in at to to or to of ing severely from the small-pox. So Major Baker left Lient. Doane, with one company, with instructions to attend to the wounded, to leave them sufficient teepes, provisions, robes, and camp equipage for their comfort, and to burn the rest of the infected camp, with all its contents, including the dead, while he immediately marched to another Indian village 15 miles away. When he arrived there every Indian had fled, having been notified of his approach by those who escaped from their first village. Their teepes were standing and with their contents were all burned, to pre vent the spread of the small-pox. After this the command returned to Fort Shaw. The soldiers suffered severely from the intense cold, and conducted themselves most gallantly in the battle and on the march. A great number of vagabonds, regular camp followers, accompanied Major.Baker's expe dition from Fort Shaw. As soon as the fight ing was over they at once commenced to plunder the Indian camp of buffalo robes, of which there was a large number, all infected by the small-pox. Major Baker observed this and immediately ordered Lieut. Doane to seize and destroy the last one, to prevent the infection from being sent abroad. This order was carried out most faithfully by Lieut. Doane, and the scavengers were sent back to Sun River and Fort Benton empty-handed. They and their friends and backers at once raised the cry that Major Baker had wantonly murdered a large number of defenseless wo men and children, and flooded the East with their letters, in order to be revenged on Major Baker and his command and bring them into disrepute. The Eastern press and the human itarians took up the cry, and Major Baker and his gallant soldiers were denounced as fiends and worse than murderers. The result was that the control of and management of Indians affairs was taken away from the offi cers of the army and turned over to various religious bodies, with such results since as have culminated in the massacre of the gal lant Custer and his entire command, the Nez Perces war of 1877, the murder of Major Thornburg and bis gallant soldiers, and of Agent Meeker and his employees. The people of Montana felt indignant at the abuse and injustice done Major Baker and the Second Cavalry, and the citizens met spontaneously in every town and mining camp in the Territory, and with an unanimity unequaled and in burning language thanked their gallant soldier friends for their heroism in fighting and subduing the cowardly mur derers of their friends and neighbors, and the despoilers of their homes and pilferers of their property. His Excellency, President Grant, General Sherman, General Sheridan, and all the principal military authorities of the government fully sustained Major Baker and his gallant command in all the efforts that were made to displace the one or to dis grace the other. The Second Cavalry are still serving in Montana, and in connection with the brave Seventh U. 8. Infantry, Col. John Gibbon, are now and always will be re membered for their uncomplaining, unrequit ed and gallant services in our defense during the past ten years. The results of Major Baker's campaign are not underrated by the people of Montana and cannot be appreciated by Eastern people, for they do not know the danger which was avert ed in our case, and have forgotten their own Indian wars. Ever since January, 1870, the Blackfeet tribes, who, from the descriptions of Lewis and Clarke, were then (and until subdued by Major Baker) the most treacherous and blood thirsty of all the Indians they en countered from the mouth of the Missouri to the mouth of the Columbia, have been peace able and quiet, and it has been safe to travel all over their country. Very few white men have since been murdered by them, and they were generally whisky traders and characters dangerous in any community and caused their own calamities. The punishment of the Piegans had a most salutary effect on the conduct of all the other tribes in Montana. The Sioux massacred Custer and his com mand, and the Nez Perces raided within our borders, but their wars originated out of our boundaries. to I have written this article not in defense of Major Baker and his command, nor in de fense of the military management of the In dians by General Sully, for they need no de fense, but to show that by proper efforts to enforce laws against Indians as well as against whites, when fully seconded by the whole power of the government, backed by its brave military force, that the Indians can be subdued, ruled, and probably eventually civilized, and at least protection can be given to our hardy and adventurous settlers on the remotest frontiers. One year of management by military officers has given us far better re sults in Montana than nine of church mis management I also write to show that the Grand Jury in indicting the murderers of Malcolm Clark rendered it necessary for the Government to arrest them by military force, or to punish tbe tribe for refusing to surrender them, or to give up all control over them. They were subdued and peace has been the result among all our Indians. If the Indians were turned over to the man agement of military officers, the salaries of the numerous agents would be saved, and I believe the Indians would be better controlled and their affairs better managed than now. But I did not intend to discuss this question of Indian management, on which many of our best men differ. I have shown why and how the Piegan cam paign originated and how it resulted and its after effects. [Written for the Herald.] THE PUBLIC DOMAIN. BY FRANK P. STERLING. The inducements offered to settlers in Mon tana Territory are greater than those of almost any other locality. While its latitude is such as to indicate a rigorous climate, its seasons com pare favorably with many of the more southerly points on the eastern plains. The rain-fall of this region is slight in comparison with many of the districts on the same parallel, but the snow from our mountain ranges furnishes an abun dant supply of water for purposes of irrigation, which, as a basis of agriculture, is far more re liable and secures better results. The absence of excessive moisture in our atmosphere ren ders it not only less severe in its effects during the cold weather, but also secures for us im munity from the various forms of contagion that arise from the marshes of the lowlands in localities where rain is abundant. Another ad vantage is derived from the peculiar character of our soil, which is not only deep but of suffi cient strength to produce the most hardy growths without the use of fertilizers or the need of renewal except at very long intervals. Without exception our valleys are watered by one or more living streams, ample for all pur poses of irrigation, and perennial in their sup ply. There are over ninety millions of acres of land within the boundaries of Montana, three-fifths of which is available for grazing or cultivation. By reference to the statemen; ap pended it will be seen that only about forty thousand acres of land were filed upon for ag ricultural purposes, and only twenty-one thou sand acres pre-empted for homesteads, while undei all the different acts of Congress a little over one hundred thousand acres have been filed upon and entered during the year ending November 30, 1879, and this is by far the largest year's business since 1874. Having occasion to refer to the maps of the valley of the Muscle shell recently, in the course of busmess, I no ticed that there were eleven townships, or more than one-quarter of a million acres of contigu ous surveyed lands in that most desirable lo cality on which there was not a single filing. To be sure, a portion of the land is occupied as grazing ground for cattle, recently driven there, but beyond this temporary occupancy none of this country referred to is utilized. In the Yel lowstone valley, vast and fertile, there are thou sands of acres that have never been more than looked upon by man. There are plats of 485 townships of surveyed lands, covering say 11, 000. 000 acres, now in this office, and the filings on all lands, under the various acts of Congress, have not equalled the extent of five of these townships during the last year. In many local ities where the lands are unsurveyed, and even unsurveyable for agricultural uses, they contain minerals of far more value than could be real ized from any surface products. Indeed, our minerals will doubtless prove to be one of the Territory's principal resources, though hitherto our mining has been so desul tory and unsystematic as to have hardly yet be come an established industry. Prospecting has been largely confined to the spurs and foot-hills of the mountains, while the Main Range, even within the known limits of mineral belts, has been almost untouched. For years to come our mountain lands will offer to the prospector am ple inducements to enter and search for treas ure, while in the districts now occupied will con tinue to be discovered new wealth to reward the enterprise that secures their development. Appended is a summary of the agricultural and mineral lands sold and filed upon at the U. S. Land Office, Helena, M. T., from December 1, 1878, to November 30th, 1879, inclusive; Acres. Agricultural, cash entries.....3,828 84 Final homestead " 6,089 88 Homestead, " ..... 21,000 56 Desert lands, " 40,939 28 Mineral, " 1,400 09 Number of mineral applications, 77 . 3,025 95 Number declaratory statements, 235 . 37,440 00 The Use of Capital. To that smaller class of intending emigrants who have capital, Montana presents extraordinary induce- ments. Ordinary rates of interest now are from one to one and a half per cent, per month. Retain your means till you have enough information and exper- ience to invest it safely. If as a rule men would wait awhile before investing their capital, meanwhile rid- ing over the Territory to acquaint themselves with the relative value of different sections, the prices of land and improvements and stock, and cost of marketing, they would probably make more than by hasty invest- ments. There are always some getting restless' or losing their grip, who are ready to sell improved lands for less than the improvements cost. By being able to take advantage of such chances a person can save two years of the hardest ond most discouraging labor of the pioneer. - W I »► —■ Profitable Labor. Montana has more good wheat land, and can pro- duce more to the acre, when not molested by grass- hoppers, than any other portion of the country, but at present there would be no market for the wheat when raised. But until that time comes other proflta- able labor can be found in raising stock, keeping a dairy, raising poultry, etc. Notwithstanding pastur- age costs nothing and cows are cheap, the price of butter in tbe larger towns in Montana is now about twice as high as in the States. The same is true of poultry, eggs and all the products of the hog, such as lard, bacon and hams. A day's visit at our markets would show any farmer what he ought to raise. Desirable Immigrants. The peop'e most needed in Montana, for whom the chances are virtually inexhaustible, are those who want to secure themselves a home, cultivate the soil and raise stock. The government offers a homestead to any settler on the public domain, while under the desert and pre-emption laws any quantity of land can be secured. Any kind of stock raising is safe and exceedingly profitable. It is slew to those who begin with nothing, but any one who understands the busi- ness well can usually get plenty to keep on shares, and may soon become an independent proprietor.