Safety in Indian Country 1859

Colonel Philip St. George Cooke

The Department of Indian Affairs, New Mexico Superintendency, covered a huge territory and diverse Indian nations in 1859. Superintendent J.L. Collins reported, “Our Indian population numbers nearly four hundred thousand souls. They occupy the country extending from Texas to Washington Territory.”
          Collins noted improvements in the past ten years. “For thirty years before the country [bordering the Gila River] became part of the United States, nearly all communications through it had ceased on account of the Indians. Mining interests were broken up and abandoned, stock farms destroyed, trapping parties…were defeated…
          “When Colonel Cook[e] passed through the country with his command, in 1846, he was in many places unable to follow the roads; they had been so long abandoned and out of use.”
          “What is the condition of the country now? We have a weekly line of stages running through it, with mail stations occupied by two or three men, which remain unmolested. The roads are constantly travelled by men unarmed, in parties of two or three, and often by single individuals.”

From the Annual Report of the Commissioner of Indian Affairs, for the year 1859, New Mexico Superintendency, pages 334-362

Published in: on March 14, 2011 at 6:00 am  Leave a Comment  
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