VI. THE ESTABLISHMENT OF THE KLAMATH RIVER RESERVATION (continued)
D. THE ESTABLISHMENT of the AGENCY at WAU-KELL
While on the Klamath, Superintendent Henley had told Agent Whipple to begin constructing buildings for the agency. One house was erected at Kepel and a second at Wau-Kell. Both these structures were weatherboarded. A survey was made of the coast from the Klamath to Crescent City for the purpose of cutting a trail. The trail was to be given high priority, because travel by sea, in small boats, would be hazardous during the approaching winter months. Until the farm and gardens were under cultivation, foodstuffs, as well as other supplies, would have to be brought down from Crescent City.
In view of the estimates that at least 5,000 Indians would be concentrated on the reservation, Whipple had urged Henley in September 1855 to have a company of soldiers permanently assigned to the Klamath. Past difficulties with hot-tempered Captain Buchanan had convinced Agent Whipple that these troops should not be subject to orders from Fort Humboldt. 
When Henley brought this subject to General Wool's attention, the veteran campaigner explained that he had issued orders recalling Captain Floyd-Jones and his detachment from the Klamath, because there were no quarters on the Reservation. This explanation shocked Henley, as it would leave Whipple and a few men surrounded by "thousands of Indians, who had recently been hostile." To add to a dangerous situation, the Rogue River War was raging in Oregon Territory, and at any moment it could spread down the coast and engulf the Klamath. An outbreak there could result in many deaths and the extermination of the Indians. 
Henley, in a successful effort to sway Wool, promised to permit Floyd-Jones and his regulars to occupy, at quarters, the log building erected by the Indian Bureau and Kepel. This building would be turned over to the War Department at cost, and Whipple's mechanics would construct, at a slight charge, any additional structures Wool deemed necessary. Wool thereupon agreed to permit Floyd-Jones' detachment of the 4th Infantry to winter at Kepel. 
Having won General Wool over, Henley saw that supplies were rushed to the Reservation. A shipment of Indian blankets and clothing was sent to Crescent City to be forwarded to the Reservation, while Whipple was directed to purchase flour from the mill ten miles above Kepel. The agent was also told to make preparations to have the Indians plant potatoes and gardens, the only crops to be raised on the Reservation in 1856.  Whipple accordingly purchased in Crescent City and had trans ported to Wau-Kell, for use by the Indians, agricultural implements, tools, seeds, and a supply of twine for fishing nets. H. B. Dickinson of Crescent City was hired "to instruct the Indians in the various activities and pursuits which their location on the reservation might necessitate." 
In 1856 Whipple resigned and was replaced as agent by James A. Patterson. Whereas Whipple had possessed ability and a capacity for hard work, Patterson spent considerable time away from the Reservation, where he frequented Crescent City saloons. In 1855, while the Rogue River War raged, the residents of Crescent City had deemed it expedient to concentrate the Tolowa on a reservation near the town. There the Tolowa were subsisted and guarded. When the war ended, Whipple had prevailed upon the Tolowa to move to Wilson Creek. To get them to agree to this move, he had promised that the government would subsist them, until land could be cultivated and food grown. He also promised to reimburse them for their fisheries and land (900 square miles). The payment was to be made in their currencyAli-cachuck. With these they could purchase fisheries and farms from the Yurok.
Patterson, after replacing Whipple, had repudiated this agreement. Whereupon, the Tolowa left Wilson Creek and returned to their rancherias on Smith River and the coast north of Crescent City. There on October 19, 1856, they were taken in charge by Lt. Hezekiah Garder of the 4th Infantry. He concentrated them on Smith Island, where he saw that they were issued rations and clothing at the government's expense. 
Superintendent Henley was instructed to investigate Patterson's conduct. On doing so, Henley found that Patterson on January 12, 1857, had been so drunk, while at Crescent City, that he slept in his clothes in the bar of the Oriental Hotel; the next day he was so full of rotgut whiskey that he passed out in a stall in the McClellan & Co. Stable, "subject to the gaze of all who chose to look." The local charges regarding Patterson's character were substantiated by Lt. Charles H. Rundell (who had replaced Floyd-Jones as commander at Kepel), A. Snyder and Maj. H. P. Heintzelman of Weaverville, and Commissary John Irvine of Crescent City. 
After studying the documents bearing on the case, Commissioner of Indian Affairs James W. Denver on April 15, 1857, ordered Patterson removed. His replacement was to be V. E. Geiger. Geiger declined to accept the appointment, and Major Heintzelman was nominated as subagent and directed to take charge of the Klamath River Reservation. As he had spent the summer of 1856 on the Klamath, he was familiar with the Yurok and their problems. 
Superintendent Henley on May 19 directed Heintzelman to proceed from San Francisco to the Klamath, by way of Crescent City, and to relieve Patterson. He was to receive and take possession of all government property, papers, and money currently in Patterson's charge and sign receipts for same.
Heintzelman was told of the government's desire to make the Klamath River Reservation self-sustaining as soon as practicable. Until such time as the reservation gardens and farm could feed the Yurok, "the fish in the River, the shells on the coast, the grass seed, nuts, & berries of the Mts. must suffice for the subsistence of the Indians." 
To add to Agent Whipple's difficulties, the fall salmon run, on which the Yurok were dependent, had been poor. Most of the Indians had then gone into the mountains to gather acorns. 
Heintzelman, unlike his immediate predecessor, was industrious and God-fearing. On reaching the agency at Wau-Kell, he issued orders forbidding his employees from drinking or bringing onto the Reservation spiritous liquors in any form, and co-habiting by them with Indian women. The penalty for violation of these rules would be immediate discharge.  To improve the moral climate of the Reservation and to help educate the Indian children, Heintzelman asked that a missionary be assigned to his staff. Henley was agreeable, and a missionary was provided with quarters and rations at the expense of the government. 
Last Updated: 15-Jan-2004