Government Accounting 1880

Chipeta went shopping in Washington, DC on January 27, 1880. Accompanied by Henry Andrews of the Indian Bureau, she visited Trunnel, Clark & Company located in a market on Pennsylvania Avenue. She purchased $27.99 worth of fabric and sewing notions. The purchase was charged to the Indian Bureau.

Approving the bill for payment involved at least fifteen people dipping pens in ink to complete, sign or initial the required documents: 

January 29, 1880 – Clerk Jesse Arnold noted receipt of the bill by the Office of Indian Affairs. Indian Agent W.H. Berry signed his approval of the charge. Clerk Arnold completed Office Form No. 58 stating the purpose of the appropriation: “Fulfilling treaty with Tabauache, Muache, Capote, Weeminuche, Yampa, Grand River and Unitah Bands of Utes 1880.”

February 2, 1880 – Clerk J.C. Brown noted receipt of the bill by the Department of Interior, Indian Division.

February 4, 1880 – E.J. Brooks, Acting Commissioner of the Office of Indian Affairs, signed a statement (prepared by a third clerk) that the bill was “correct and just; that the articles named were required for immediate use of Mrs. Ouray;” and the goods were “purchased in open market at the lowest attainable rates.” To be perfectly clear, Brooks also noted “I have certified this single voucher only.” In an additional statement in his own handwriting, Brooks further certified “the articles charged for this account were delivered to Chipeta, Mrs. Ouray, in this City.” Someone named Burnett signed the bill as “Examiner.”

February 11, 1880 – The bill was reviewed and approved by William Stickney and E. M. Kingsley, Ex. Commissioner.

February 12, 1880 – Carl Schurz, Secretary of the Department of Interior, signed his name beneath a stamp reading “The action of the Executive Committee is hereby sustained.” Two men initialed the stamp as “J.I.C.” and “W.J.V.”

February 14, 1880 – H. C. Harmon, Acting Auditor of the Treasury Department, approved the bill for the Second Auditor’s Office. The approval was initialed by “T.T.”

On February 20, 1880 – W. Welleton, Second Comptroller, certified the Auditor’s document and it was initialed by “J.D.T.”

A final official Treasury Department document was completed, restating the nature of the appropriation and authorizing payment. This document was signed on February 14, 1880 by Jesse Arnold, Clerk of the Second Auditor’s Office, and on February 20, 1880 by J.C. Brown, Clerk of the Second Comptroller’s Office.

All of the documents prepared in order to effect payment for this purchase became part of Indian Claim No. 629. The documents are preserved in the National Archives (Reg 217, Stack 12E3, Row 8, Comp 27, #629-1880).

And when did Trunnel, Clark & Company receive payment? Ah, those documents are in another file somewhere among Treasury Department records.


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One CommentLeave a comment

  1. This article you have posted here is really helpful, this is good, thank you

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