Note from the transcriber: In most cases I have retained Lawson's spelling (e.g. Hellen) and punctuation (at times heavy on the commas), but in others I have correcting spelling errors for clarity and changed "&" to "and" and "ec" to "etc". Lawson uses dashes as periods sometimes. In most cases, I have deleted these extraneous marks.
Mission Agency, San Bdno. March 2, 1883
Mrs. Helen Jackson
Your letter of the 26 ult. awaited my arrival, yesterday, from Los Angeles. To my surprise, the Indian Office, has not, up to date, apprised me of, or given me any instructions relative to, the Mission upon which you have been sent.
Developments in relation to San Jacinto Indians, made it necessary for me to bring the matter of their removal before the Hon. Comer of Indian Affairs under date of Jany 31" last past, the inclosed letter, which I transmit for you information in this point and which is the answer to my representations and plea in behalf of those Indians--surprised me very much. Having heard, incidentally of the appointment of yourself and someone else as a Commission to investigate and report upon the question of lands for the Mission Indians, I was led to believe that this matter would be referred to you for report and advice. Instead, I am ordered to remove them.
Of course, I know there was no money to purchase the lands in question, till Congress would make an appropriation for that purpose.
The finding of unoccupied public land, suitable for such a settlement of Indians - is out of the question. Whether a place can be found for them in existing reservations is extremely doubtful. In the name of justice and humanity they ought not to be removed from their present homes. Doubtless the land-700 acres--can be purchased at a fair price. And it seemed to me to be exactly in the line of duty of your committee to have this question referred to you, and this partly was my object in bringing the subject before the Indian Office at this time.
The information you desire, preparatory to entering upon the work before you, I prefer to communicate to you verbally ... there is a "land trouble" connected with almost every settlement, the peculiar nature of which I am acquainted with: but which, it would be impossible for me to lay before you satisfactorily by letter. It will be to your advantage either that I confer with you at Los Angeles or that, where ready to go upon the field you come to the Agency.
The services of my Interpreter will be cheerfully accorded if it possible for me to spare him. Just now, he is before the U.S. Dist. Court at San Francisco in the prosecution of parties for selling liquor to my Indians: I hope to be able to go with you myself to see the lands reserved in San Gorgonio Pass-30 miles east of this place. And, as it will become a question with you in the effort to settle upon the best plan of providing for homeless Indians like the San Jacinto, Agua Caliente, and San Ysabel Indians-whether lands must be purchased, or suitable lands already reserved can be found, it would be advisable first, to visit the larger tracts of land set apart for Indians east of the Meridian in Tps 2s 1 e: 3 s 1 e and etc.
It is to this locality only that the San Jacinto Indians can be removed if such a course in made necessary as is indicated in the Commissioners letter.
I may be in Los Angeles next week and if so will call upon you.
S.S. Lawson, U.S. Ind. Agt.
P.S. Inclosed letter I will review when I see you being part of files of this office.
Mission Agency, San Bernardino Cal. Apr 16, 1883
Mrs Hellen Jackson
I am in receipt of notices from the Dept. that the Homestead entry of Armin Cloos has been ordered to be cancelled by the Los Angeles Land Office. And better still, that, the Atty Genl. Has commenced action to set aside the patent of Chat. Helm. Glory hallelujah! Just what I told them in my last letter on the subject, might, and should be done.
I would take special pleasure if I might stand by and see that old reprobate Helm, "take up his bed and walk" out of that village. Hope you are getting on well, and that you like the country (?) life of that paradise (?) [question marks are part of original text]
S.S. Lawson U.S. Ind.Agt.
Mission Agency, San Bernardino May 9, 1883
Mrs. Hellen Jackson and Mr. Abbott Kiney Commissioners:
Referring to your letter of the 8th inst. Touching the conduct and character of Arthur c. Golsh, teacher at Pachingo [Pechanga] about which you say you heard rumors while in that vicinity and suggesting that, "if he will immediately resign" you will make no further allusion to him in your report-I have to say in reply, that, if your instructions are general embracing jurisdiction in such cases, and if, in pursuance of such instructions, you have fully and fairly investigated said rumors and find them well grounded, and authoritavily [sic] request his dismissal-I will of course comply. If otherwise, it is my duty first, to investigate the charges upon your showing of facts, as in any other case, where reliable information of his character comes to me.
I will be glad therefore, if you will communicate the sources of your information-whether you have it from reliable Indians or from white people.
It is not all surprising to me, after an experience of five years in this service to hear anything defamatory of the character of any one connected with the Indian service - especially at this Agency. I have not been exempt, having been charged (invariably by "Madame rumor") with about everything in the catalogue of crimes. And, I am sorry to say it, the Commissioners had not accomplished half their journey to San Diego, till I was compelled by letter to forestall an infamous slander against them that came to me from the mountains.
You can hear anything in those districts without searching for news. And, I can easily conceive how strangers passing through, as you did, should be made the innocent victims of credulity not knowing the animus of the average dweller in those localities.
I am aware that Mr. Golsh was bitterly maligned when he first took the school simply because in the opinion of those whites, it is a disgrace for any of their citizens to do so much as to teach an Indian. It will be a "painful surprise" to me as you suggest, if the allegations prove to be true: for I have always attached a degree of honor to him-coming as he does from the nobility in Germany-which would preclude credence to such rumors. And, I must be pardoned, if I insist on something more tangible than mere "rumors" as a condition of his removal, knowing as I do, the character and animus of people in his vicinity.
When you have had my experience with the lying, thieving, slanderous and murderous gang infesting these mountain districts-you will be very skeptical of much you hear derogatory to the character of any one. Such methods are the stock in trade of the average mountaineer. It is possible, what is charged to Arthur is true of the wild non-compos mentis [Latin for not of sound of mind] brother [Rehitan?] at Pala - and that the former, is made, for a purpose of course, to bear the sins of the latter. Of course I do not know as yet, by what process you have come to consider him guilty of the charges made. It may all be true: for the the morality of the whites in those districts in about as "loose" as you find it among the Indians, with some noble exceptions on each side.
It has been my purpose to relieve Mr. Golsh at the close of the present quarter, for other good and sufficient reasons: but I would not do injustice to him, by summary removal without further proof of guilt than appears upon the showing before me.
As to informing his sister of your action, I think this quite unnecessary. It would only result in will-will toward the Commissioners. You have the same right to bring such information to the notice of an Agent, as any one else interested in the good of the Indian and it will be no detriment to the service, if she remains ignorant of the cause why her brother is not continued in the service. So far as I am concerned, it shall not appear that, his removal.-if this result from further investigation-is on account of any action taken by you. In such cases I assume the responsibility myself-as the rules of the Department require than my action be reported in due form, as well where an employee is removed as where he is appointed-with the cause of my action. In closing, I beg to assure you, that your information and advice will receive due consideration.
S.S. Lawson, U.S. Ind agt
Los Angeles, May 12, 1883, draft of letter from HHJ to S.S. Lawson Esq, Indian Agent
Your letter of May 9th has been received, and its contents duly noted.
The facts as to Arthur Golsh's conduct at Pauma we heard from the Capt. Of the Pauma Rancheria: those at Pala from the Indian who is now bringing up Arthur Golsh's child.
Some of the more respectable whites at Pala also informed us of the same facts.
The only "rumor" connected with the matter was that about what is now taking place at Pechanga.
The accumulation of evidence seemed to us very strong.
The facts in regard to the land from which he drove off four Indian familes were substantiated by affidavits, which have been forwarded to Washington.
We are sorry indeed to learn that there should be "other good and sufficient reasons" for Mr. Golsh's removal.
You will of course act in the matter according to your own judgment. # [insert] We think it just that you should yourself investigate the character of Mr. Golsh especially as you consider our information unreliable. We have no authority in it, except to report upon it to the Dept. which as we have already stated we should be very sorry to do.
We are glad that you think there is no need of Miss Golsh's being made acquainted with this painful affair.
Mission Agency, San Bdno. May 13, 1883
[addressed to Los Angeles]
Mrs. Hellen Jackson
And Mr. Abbott Kinney
Referring to your letter of yesterday just received, I have to say in reply, that, the information you now bring is reliable. The testimony of the Indian Captain and the Indian mother are enough for me on a subject of that kind. I will dispense with his services when he has finished the month and made report therefore. Referring to the land matter, for which I had not space in my other letter, I will say, that the allegations made are doubtless true. It was before my coming: but it seemed to me always that Maj. Lee Utt and the then U.S. Land Agent-were more to blame than he -Golsh- For the rascalities practiced in the matter of lands in that vicinity in almost every instances is to be traced to Maj. Utt. And I would not be surprised of parties who volunteered their affidavits, were not as deep in the matter as he.
As the land long since has passed into the hands of innocent parties it is doubtful whether, that case occupied the same status as that of the Helm case. You overlooked perhaps, a similar instance at or near Pala - where Chauncy Hay[e]s of San Louis Rey, drove an Indian - the old Captain living in the Mission building at Pala - from a 40 acres lot occupied by him for years.
Mission Agency, San Bernardino Cal. May 18, 1883
Mrs. Hellen Jackson
I inclose herewith Dept. letter of the 9" ultimo, referring to the application of one Chapo, an Indian, living at the Rincine [Rincon] in San Diego county-for a homestead in lands reserved for those people by Executive Order-the date of which you will see by reference to my vol. Of Commission's Annual Report 1882.-which I believe you have.
Did the matter referred to for information come to your notice while visiting that locality? If so, and you can furnish the required information I shall be obliged to you.
It is my impression there is nothing in the way of Chapo's entering the quarter section named in the ground of its occupancy by other Indians. The Tp. [township] referred to lies south ["south" is either smeared or intentionally crossed out] and west of the Rincene [Rincon] settlement which is in Tp 10" South-And the sec. 27 referred to, was added in my recommendation, if I recollect aright, upon the representation that if contained a little good land, which it were better to hold for Indians.
This is one of the many cases where information is required and where the absence of authority and means to make a survey-make it next to impossible to furnish the same.
U.S. Ind. Agent
P.S. Return office letter in enclosed envelope with your reply.
Mission Agency, San Bdno, May 21, 1883
Mrs. Hellen Jackson
My request to Mr. Golsh that he resign for the reasons set forth in your complaint, brought him to the Agency on Saturday. A long talk over the matter was the result and while I am not disposed to rescind my action, I am pretty thoroughly satisfied that, the charge that he is the father of the child you refer to-is not true or that he had any improper relations with Indian girls in his school either at Pauma or Pachinjo [Pechanga].
The reputed mother of the child was at the time married and in the absence of the husband was living with a Moravian. He admits that he was charged several years ago with being the father of the child: that it is not uncommon for Indians where a half-breed child appears-in mere form to say, "that is this mans child or that mans child", and in the same way he was charged with being this child's father. He declares that the Indians have laid the paternity of several half-breeds to this and that priest-when he says there is no truth in it, and the Indians themselves know it. That is a method of testing, and several instances have occurred where the mothers of half-breeds have laid their paternity to white men for the purpose of exacting a gift toward the support of the child or children.
I am pretty thoroughly convinced that out of such a report, grew this change at this late day. He further says-that Indian girls have come to his school room after school hours-on an errand: that he could not drive them off-and that it has usually occurred, in such instances, that the Indians seeing them coming from there, would joke him by asking "what were you doing with that girl in the school room?"-Out of such talk-meant to be innocent, has doubtless grown this rumor. He declares that in assuming the office of teacher he had made up his mind to conduct himself as prudently as was in his power in his intercourse with the scholars-knowing the propensity of the Indians to jest over any familiarity shown by whites toward Indian females: that he did so conduct himself and defies the proof that can be brought to the contrary.
He further complains, that, you made it a point to take counsel in these matters from his enemies viz Mrs. Wolf and Mrs. Veal. - notorious gossipers.: that you listened to Jose Pachito, a bitter enemy and for just cause. And, that, when Capt. Matteo was consulted [,] you dismissed him with the remark - "Ah you are his friend." - that not satisfied with the Indian and white testimony of his enemies at Pala, you came to Col and Stetson to inquire of his character and standing in this community. Much of his information he has doubtless from your interpreter who being known as a notorious liar as well as having the reputation of a horse thief - I am at a loss what to believe. Of this I am impressed however, that a better knowledge of the Indian character before starting on your mission would have been of incalculable value in your service-provided you were commissioned to inspect the service at this Agency, Education and otherwise, in addition to what pertained to the land question. Personally I would have preferred that the action you have taken in the matter of Mr. Golsh had come from the "Indian School Inspector." Not that my action would have been different for "I have done what I have done": but it would have avoided a scandal which is coming and which will prove very detrimental to the service at this Agency. Mr. Golsh is determined to bring suit against Mr. And Mrs. Kinney for defamation of character and for damages.
He has already engaged the best legal talent here and will of course be backed up by the white people over the mountains as well as here where he has always stood well. I am powerless to prevent it, however much I deprecate the scandalous character of such a trial in any of these courts if such be the result. I am convinced of this too, that no one connected with the Indian Service will stand any chance in a case of this kind against a white citizen.
To me, it seems very unfortunate, that a commission, sent to inquire with land matters in their relations to the Mission Indians-with a view to their permanent settlement, should be delegated to act in the capacity also of Indian Inspectors, and Indian School Inspectors: The inevitable result is confusion, and I am free confess that, the apparent conflict of authority now, in matters pertaining to Indian Affairs at this Agency, bodes no good to the service.
S. S. Lawson
U.S. Ind. Agt.
Mission Agency, S.B. June 6, 1883 [copy transcribed by HHJ]
Mrs. H. Jackson
Your letter of the 31st ult. is before me. I will at once reply.
1. -To the extract from my letter and your construction of it. Of course, the course of her brothers removal of was not my purpose to make known to Miss Golsh but it was not meant thereby that the cause of his removal should not be made known to him. This I could not avoid. It was his right to know and my plain duty to tell him. I told no one else, and meant no one else should know unless he made it known.
2. The good and sufficient reasons I had for dispensing with his service did not effect his moral character whatever, but rather his efficiency as a teacher in certain respects, and the propriety of continuing a male teacher in that position.
3. I requested him in every letter of the 20th to resign, because I believe your authority to be trustworthy. Learning subsequently the source of your information, I gave it no audience. My mind on that point has not suffered any change since my visit to Pechanga. There day 5 ago I find that Mrs. Real and Mrs. Wolfe took a conspicuous interest in growing information, a brace of women, treacherous enemies to the Indian, and any one in knowledge of them unworthy of belief or respect by any one in the service of the Indian Dept.
4. Doubtless Mr. Golsh had no reason to believe your mission hostile on the contrary, kindly. He so says as he had bestowed kindness on you when there. But, I had sufficient reason to believe that hostility was meant either toward him or toward me when the threat of reporting the matter to the Dept. was held over me to induce me to cause immediate equating on his part. This I deem the unfortunate part of your action in the light of subsequent events. What ever your instructions might have been, as a Commissioner to inquire into the conditions of the Mission I s" it was clearly not the duty of the Commission to assume authority in the government or conduct of the agency. That is what I am here for.
5. That you sought evidence against him from his enemies he inferred perhaps from the part you got it from them Capt Matteo informed me that when you inquired of him, he said Golsh was a good man so far as he knew, but that you seemed to doubt whether he was telling the truth and that your insisted that he must tell everything implying that he was holding something back.
6. The character of Jesus Lopez had in my estimation no bearing on his qualification for the business he was employed in. I repeat that you have found no better man for driver guide and interpreter. He knows the country you traveled in better, knows the Indians better and the Spanish as well as any other man.
Of course I did not suffice that the exigencies of the service confided to commission of this character required any great secrecy, or that it was of the nature of a secret detective service since the service is provided with special and general Inspectors. Else I would not have recommended him to you.
He is a man of notoriously bad reputation-His name being in the list of horse thieves now in the hands of the law officers, but so far, his thievedom has enabled him to evade detection. He is no friend to me, and never has been. For what cause I know not. And since his return had openly boasted that he has gotten even on me. That Mrs. Jackson was going to raise h-l with me. The inference is, of course, that undue reliance was placed in a pledge of character in the man, which I had not commended, because not claimed essential for the service for which he was required.
I have now dwelt on all points in your letter which seem to require attention.
I came from Pechanga pretend of having taken a teacher to replace Mr. Golsh. He conducted the school in the forenoon: all the children being in attendance as well as all the people of the village. They right to part with Mr. Golsh. He has befriended them as none of his detractors have done, having spent nearly half his salary in assisting them when in need. He has loaned individuals money when they have asked for it, till he had over $90 staked on his faith in their honesty but of which I am satisfied he will never realize a tenth part. The "good and sufficient reasons" I had before for discontinuing his services at the end of this quarter were dispelled when I had witnessed the half days excercises by him. He has been as much a success as any teacher I have. The school has made excellent progress, and he had developed a proficiency I was aware of. And in view of all I fervently regret my action in removing him. You may deem his connection with the land matter at Pala are unpardonable offence. So I regarded it when I came to this agency, taking a merely sentimental view of the question of Indian Affairs. But it was in accordance with law however reprehensible the law. It was done by scores of others and not only permitted but encouraged by the U.S. Land officials who told me plainly that filing on land occupied by Indians, if not reserved for them would be accepted. As their occupancy was no more to them than if so many coyotes were on it. He has ever time regretted his action in the matter of that land, but claim he did just what others did. Purchased what the Govt offered to sell him. That transaction in my estimation after five years practical experience with Indian land matters cuts no figure against Mr. Golsh that should have disbarred him from the position of [teacher?].
The rules of the Dept require me to state the cause in all cases of removals of employees. This I shall do full and fairly and I believe when it has been so laid before the Ind. Office. The Hon. Commissioner will order his reinstatement. It will be swift justice. The reproach I take to myself for action in the matter upon the statement of Indians & whites whom I subsequently found utterly unreliable: but in view of a scandal that caused me to relieve a teacher only a short time before, the threat on your part to extort another scandal made me sensitive on the subject. My own reputation for proving of the character & qualifications of employees was at stake, which until then I believe to have been appreciated by the Indian office, as it had been the first removal for cause in five years,
S.S. Lawson Ind. Agt.
Mission Agency, S:B. June 7, '83 [copy transcribed by HHJ]
While at Pechanga, I met the whole village in council as well as a number from the La Jolla who came to inquire as to certain matters arising out of your visit to the locality.
It appears since your visit among the people of the San Luis Rey tribe that serious discontent and trouble have arisen in consequence of certain acts performed and advice given presumably in your official capacity. To these imputations I have of course not given full credit knowing the disposition of the Indians to talk about things they know little of or imperfectly understand; and chiefly between I am slow to believe that either you or Mr. Kinny would so far disregard the claims of official courtesy as to act and advise in matters pertaining to the business of this Agency.
To sober and sensible Capt. Matteo, and other reliable Indians there appeared to be a conflict of jurisdiction. They asked frankly whose orders shall we obey? You say so. Mrs. Jackson says different. You told us a year ago that the govt wants the office of General over the Indians abolished and you advised each village to manage for itself. That was good. But Mrs. Jackson gave Jose Pechito a commission as Genl over the villages. You say when we get into trouble about land we shall come to you. Mrs. Jackson tells us when we have any business about land we shall not go to you, but to some one else they could not remember who. She told the Indians, "You are not working for the interests of the Indians."
No matter that I tried to convince them Mrs. Jackson had better serve than to give such advice or to assume such authority. They insisted that their statements were true and that Mrs. Jackson said she would back up all she did or said.
Of course I was unwilling still to believe what they alleged and for anyone must see that such a course would be exceedingly detrimental to the service, and at the face of which no agent could expect to command that confidence of the the Indian: or that peace and order for which he is held responsible. And at home what I saw and heard, I was convinced that some serious interference had occurred. A very estimable Capt? Said to me "Those Commissioners are doing more mischief than good. They are working against you among the Indians and the Indians are now? Much stirred up." But the assembled Indians at Pechanga insisted? That I must give them a paper reasserting my authority, and to show to Jose Pachito that he had no authority over them. A letter from Pio Berruta was had stating that Jose Pachito on the strength of his commission had ordered them at La Jolla not to make any adobes for the proposed school house, an act just like the worthless and treacherous man he is. I know him. By lying and deceit he came to the agency a few years ago and procured a Commission as General, saying the people unanimously elected him when I subsequently learned on the spot that no election was held.
In compliance with the request of the Indians on the 4th inst, I gave them the following paper: dated Mission Agency Pechanga June 4, '83: To whom it may concern-This is to certify that any papers given to Indians by Mrs. Helen Hunt Jackson issuing to appoint such Indian General or Captain are without authority and an interference in matters of this agency are not warranted by her instructions as a Special Agent to inquire into the condition of the Mission Indians." Singed S. S. Lawson, U.S. Ind. Aft.
This will do no injustice to you if the statements are false. And otherwise, the interests of the service demand nothing less, inasmuch as white people in that locality are adding fuel to the fire and making "confusion worse confounded" by their comments on your action and advice.
Your letter of yesterday, the answer to which I mail today, came while engaged in a [general] report to the Com of Ind. Affairs touching this very subject. The reading? Of your letter which seems to come in a spirit of kindliness and confederation, so incompatible with my interpretation of your feelings if the facts alleged be true that I desired to write no more till I should receive a reply to this communication.
I am not inclined to judge harshly or to do injustice to any one. At the same time, I have already endured too much trouble and annoyance from this meddling of people in this locality with a view to hinder the service of my efforts that I am not to blame for being sensitive in matters of this kind and when the efforts are so manifestly against the interests of the service.
Your inquiries here and that notably of Mrs. Real and Wolf touching me, and impugningly by implication at least my character, and the honest of my official acts, in no way comes into my concern in this connection.
I confess to having been accused of nearly every known crime. The Indian Dept. knows them all. I have faced petitions with six hundred signers for my removal-perjured affidavits forwarded to me by the Indian office, letters setting forth unheard of rascality, and refuted them all including that whiskey matter at Pala which you were pleased to inquired into and make a note of: and last but not least the powerful (?) influence of the U.S. court officials at San Francisco, whose conduct of liquor trials I presumed to criticize, as finding my answer to which, I was honored with a reappointment.
I think I know myself. And no blame attached to the Dept. does not know me for it has not been without informants in the past five years.
My "interest" in the welfare of my Indians, I leave to the official record on file for vindication. What I have endured in their behalf in the past years while beating back the infamous horde that had been despoiling them is but known to myself and to the Dept. which advises me in the outstart that this is the most difficult agency in the service and very nobly sustained me in my efforts to the extent of its authority.
I have written at greater length than I intended but the importance of the outburst to me must be my apology while the allegations herein [fit bouleair?] the expressions of the Indians themselves and not fully credited to me but I cannot resist the overtures from what has come to my knowledge since the return of commissioners from their trip and from the almost universal impression prevailing among the Indians themselves. That undue zeal was displayed in their presence to find some ground of complaint against the agent. Or undue provenance given to complaints by a certain class, who all along believed I was not trying to "do anything for them" as they usually express it, because their land troubles have not been long ago adjusted or because I did not feed and blanket them or given them plows and wagons for which they had no use and which was not in my power to give.
A proper knowledge of the Indian character and of the effort of my guarded impressions in their presence respecting those who have in hand their case and management would have obviated any trouble of this kind. The contrary as any one knows who appreciates the difficulty of dealing with a few thousand Indians interspersed among the whites and subject to their ill advised counsel would have disastrous to the service.
Very respectfully, S.S. Lawson U.S. Ind. Agt.
Mission Agency, San Bernardino Cal June 22, 1883
Mrs Hellen H. Jacksen
Colorado Springs Cal.
Referring to your last letter, I have to say, that, I have come into possession of facts which afford an explanation of the disturbances created by your visit among the Indians, viz: that Jesus Lopez your Interpreter, is the real author of them: that for malicious purposes, he assumed to speak for you in commingling among the Indians: that the Indians believed his statements to be from you. No blame attaches to them for their statements to me, nor yet to me for giving them credit, since, dishonorable as I knew Lopez to be, -I was not ready to believe him capable of such perfidy. It afforded him an excellent opportunity I see, to "get even", as he terms it, with me, for some imaginary wrongs he suffered from me. Even when I trace his hand in the mischief. And in justice to you, I make this explanation with reference to acts and expressions attributed to you [by?] the Indians.
U.S. Ind. Agt.
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