On August 25, 1900, Indian Agent Joseph O. Smith reported on the state of the Southern Ute Agency. He noted, “In comparison with other Indian tribes, I believe the Ute to be an exceptionally sturdy, healthy people…”
Agent Smith described “the driest summer seen in Southern Colorado in many years. There was not rain during the months of June, July and August.” The grazing land for livestock was poor and hay fields that did not have access to irrigation were almost barren. A new irrigation ditch had been completed which delivered water from the Pine River to thousands of fertile acres on the high mesas to the west of Ignacio. Two canals were in operation carrying water as far as eight miles.
Miss Gertrude R. Hileman, teacher at the Presbyterian Mission School at Ignacio reported 37 students enrolled with average attendance of 17 students, less than 50%.
Information from the Annual Report of the Commissioner of Indian Affairs, 1900