Newly Found: The March 1856 Census of Indians At The Grand Ronde Reservation

Cover the of the William Raymond Journal of Grand Ronde, Yamhill O.T., March 1856. William W. Raymond Collection, Oregon Historical Society Library

The Census was found at the Oregon Historical Society Archives in the William W. Raymond Collection, by myself on May 9, 2019. That afternoon after my PSU class I took the opportunity to check out a few leads looking for information from Indian agents on the Oregon Coast. Raymond is not so well known, but he spent some years as the Indian Agent of the Astoria District. He lived in Tillamook and managed the Clatsop and Tillamook tribes. Then in 1856, Joel Palmer assigned him to help with the Resettlement of Tribes to the Grand Ronde Reservation. He is there with other special agents who bring tribes to the reservation by walking or traveling in wagons.

List of supplies issued to Tribal Heads of household resettled at the Grand Ronde reservation, William W. Raymond Collection, Oregon Historical Society Library. Notes issues to Joe Hudson for food and supplies. Joe Hudson is likely Chief Joseph Hutchins/Hudson.

The Journal begins with lists of supplies given to native men, pans, food, pots. There also is a list of some properties, houses and barns  already there, left behind by settlers whose land was bought out. Then half way through the journal begins a Census. The Census continues for several pages. It has Kalapuyan, Molala, and Umpqua people. It does not have Chinook, Clackamas, Tualatin, or Rogue River peoples. Therefore the Census was taken down after the Umpquas and some Kalapuyan tribes arrived, and before the Rogue Rivers people from Table Rock Reservation arrived. At the time of the Census the Rogue Rivers are probably on the trail to Grand Ronde.

This Census then is likely the first census for the reservation. The William Raymond Collection is an obscure collection likely not well researched by scholars.

The transcription above contains many errors. Much research still needs to occur to rectify names and spellings. The original journal, now over 160 years old still holds up well, even with the pencil writing. The writing is thought be in the hand of Robert Metcalf, as suggested by Historian Bill Lang, This makes sense as Robert Metcalf appears to have signed the page following the Census. In March of 1856 there were 633 people at Grand Ronde. By November there would be nearly 4000 people from western Oregon resettled on the reservation and at the Coast between Salmon River and Newport Bay. By that time too, Joel Palmer would be fired as the Indian superintendent, and many of the verbal agreements he made with the tribes, to get them to remove would never be honored.

First page of the Census of March 1856. William W. Raymond Collection, Oregon Historical Society Library

William W. Raymond Collection, Journal, Grand Ronde, Yamhill, O.T. March 1856, Oregon Historical Society Library.

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5 Comments on “Newly Found: The March 1856 Census of Indians At The Grand Ronde Reservation

  1. Are there any Cow Creeks or Umpquas on it David? Dawn

    On Mon, May 13, 2019, 5:30 PM NDNHISTORY RESEARCH : Indigenous, Public & Critical Essays wrote:

    > Ethnohistory Research, LLC | David G. Lewis, PhD posted: ” The Census was > found at the Oregon Historical Society Archives in the William W. Raymond > Collection, by myself on May 9, 2019. That afternoon after my PSU class I > took the opportunity to check out a few leads looking for information from > Indian agents” >

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    • If you look at the Online transcript there are two Umpqua sections. Its possible that the one section is for the Cow Creek Umpquas as i feel they may be grouped by band or tribe. This has yet to be determined. But as well, since I figured out last year that there was a separate Cow Crrek Umpqua Reservation, this begs the question of whether all of the Cow Creeks were removed with the Umpquas. I think so, as I recall that there was a letter talking about the arrival of the Cow Creek band at Umpqua just as they are leaving to walk north. I have yet to find a set of documents addressing the Cow Creek Reservation at all. If you know of a source. please let me know.

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  2. Excellent work spotting this valuable document. Who knows what other important historical data has been overlooked in this collection and others? More research is needed.

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