Report of the Purchasing Committee

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Purchase And Shipping Of Supplies.

The increase in promptness in purchasing and shipping supplies for the last two years has been noticeable. Members of the board were in attendance to assist at the opening of bids at Chicago, in April, 1901, and at New York in May, 1901; and one or more of the commissioners were in daily attendance, as a rule, to assist in inspecting samples and awarding contracts during the six or seven weeks required in this business. The report of the purchasing committee of our board is herewith, submitted as Appendix A. A report from the chairman of this board upon certain deliveries of clothing for the Indians at the New York warehouse, which were decidedly below samples and bids, is also submitted with this report as Appendix B.

Four Indian Warehouses Are Not Needed.

We are of opinion that the maintenance of four separate warehouses at Omaha, San Francisco, Chicago, and New York for the purchase and shipping of Indian supplies involves entirely needless expense. We respectfully renew our suggestion made in preceding reports that the business of the opening of bids, the examination of samples, and the awarding of contracts could be done at Washington with great advantage to the service and a marked reduction in expenditures.

The Open Sore Of The Service Unfit Agents Appointed Or Held In Position By Political Influence.

We are compelled to express once more our conviction as a Board that the greatest practical need of the Indian Service in the matter of administration is the wise choice of suitable men as Indian agents, the quick redress of manifest abuses, the prompt removal of agents who are evidently unfit for their work, and permanent tenure for such agents as show themselves competent and effective in the position. Statistics which we have presented in earlier reports, calling attention to the fact that both Democratic and Republican Administrations, not withstanding professions of civil service reform, have as a rule made substantially a “clean sweep,” changing within each four years’ administration all but two or three of the sixty or more Indian agents in the service at the beginning of the Administration, prove that, not withstanding professions of devotion to civil-service reform, wherever civil service regulations have not been made to apply by law, partisan considerations have seemed to rule in the appointing and the removal of Indian agents.

We are entirely confident that if in the choice of agents regard were had to the character of the men appointed, their experience with Indians, and their fitness for the service, there would be no assignable reason for the frequent and injurious changes which hold back the civilization of the Indians and give license and strength to all the worst evils of reservation life. Again and again we have seen particular tribes or bands of Indians led forward rapidly and successfully toward civilization b}^ wise and upright agents, and we have had the pain of seeing such agents displaced time after time for purely partisan reasons, and of seeing the same bands and tribes of Indians lapse into immoral practices and back toward savagery under inexperienced agents who were unfit for the work and who undid all that their better predecessors had accomplished. For the good of the Indians and for the sake of economy and effectiveness in doing the work of the Government, we strongly urge the application, to the appointment and the tenure of office of Indian agents, of those sound principles of civil service reform to which both the political parties stand committed.

Gladly recognizing progress and improvement in many other respects in the Indian Service, and again calling attention to the most important considerations presented in these last paragraphs, we respectfully submit our thirty-third annual report.

Darwin R. James, Chairman.
Merrill E. Gates, Secretary.
Albert K. Smiley.
E. Whittlesey.
William D. Walker,
Wm. H. Lyon.
Joseph T. Jacobs.
Philip C. Garrett.
Wm. M. Beardshear.
The Secretary Of The Interior.


Washington, D. C., January 21, 1902.

Sir: The purchasing committee have the following report to make of the business during the year 1901:

Bids for supplies for the Indian Service, in accordance with advertisements and specifications, were opened at Chicago, 111., at the United States Indian warehouse, 235 Johnson street, on Tuesday, April 9, 1901. The number of bids submitted and opened was 479. The number of contracts awarded, 134. Commissioner Gates was in daily attendance at the warehouse, assisting in inspecting and awarding, until the evening of April 19. General Whittlesey, of the Board of Indian Commissioners, was in attendance for the same purpose from Tuesday morning, April 23, until the awarding of contracts was finished.

Roger C. Spooner, superintendent of the Chicago Indian warehouse, reports under date of January 2, 1902, that the number and approximate weight of packages shipped from the Chicago warehouse and from points under its jurisdiction was 87,085 packages, with a total weight of 9,046,831 pounds. The total number of packages sent by registered mail was 355, aggregating in weight 685 pounds. The following is a complete summary of shipments on account of the United States Indian Service under instructions of the United States Indian warehouse at Chicago, 111., from July 1 to December 31, 1901, both dates inclusive:

Point of delivery Number of packages Weight
Chicago warehouse and fob Chicago 70,926 7,391,004
Kansas City 3,881 758,440
Omaha 4,741 189,282
Sioux City 1,034 129,745
St. Paul 2,078 286,395
St Louis 284 52,413
San Francisco 4,068 231,422
Minneapolis 70 7,490
Racine Wis. 3 640
         Total 87,085 9,046,831

Bids for clothing, dry goods, hats and caps, blankets, small ware, and notions were opened on May 7, 1901, at the Indian warehouse, 77 Wooster street, New York, in the presence and with the assistance of Chairman James, Messrs. Lyon, Garrett, Walker, Smiley and Gates, of the United States Board of Indian Commissioners. Seventy-seven bids were submitted. Commissioner Gates, the secretary of the board, was in attendance assisting in inspecting and awarding contracts during most of the time until the awards were completed, and Commissioner Whittlesey was also in daily attendance for the same purpose for most of the period during which this work was in progress. Under date of January 3, 1902, Mr. C. F. Nesler, United States Indian inspector, in charge of the New York warehouse, reports as follows:

Complying with the request contained in your letter of December 23, for information concerning the amount of business done at the New York Indian warehouse during the year ending December 31, 1901, I submit the following as being approximately correct:

“A. The number of bids opened in May, 77.
“B. The number of contracts awarded, 24.
“C. The number of packages shipped by freight, 10,454, weighing 1,255,807 pounds.
“D. The number of packages shipped by mail, 144, weighing 502 pounds.

Yours, very truly,
C. F. Nesler, “United States Indian Inspector in Charge.”

The following inspectors of Indian supplies acted at the New York warehouse. With the name of each inspector is given the time during which he has served in that capacity.

Inspectors At New York Warehouse.

Herman Wischmann, inspecting coffee and sugar, ten days.
Fred. W. Kohler, inspecting hats and caps, thirty-eight days.
Jesse H. Barclay, inspecting dry goods and notions, four days.
Charles L. Jobe, inspecting dry goods and notions, eleven days.
S. S. Stewart, inspecting dry goods and notions, fifty-one days.
Dewitt C. Whiteman, inspecting clothing, fifty-one days.
Charles E. Teale, inspecting clothing, seventeen days.
John F. Calder, inspecting clothing, seventy-six days.

The following inspectors of Indian supplies acted at the Chicago warehouse. With the name of each inspector is given the time during which he has served in that capacity.

Inspectors At Chicago Warehouse.

Henry W. Dudley, of Chicago, coffee, third year of service.
Thomas Robertson, Milwaukee, tea, third year.
Jonathan B. Young, Chicago, flour, beans, lard, bread, and corn meal, fourth year.
Prof. John H. Long, Chicago, baking powder, soap, etc., third year.
Benton W. Warder, Chicago, sugar, rice, hominy, groceries, etc., fourth year.
Wilhelm Bodeman, Chicago, medical supplies, fourth year.
George E. Watson, Chicago, paints, oils, glass, etc., third year.
Edward Devlin, Chicago, stoves, hardware, and glass 10 and 15, sixth year.
Lorenzo C. Bartley, Elkhart, Ind., wagons, agricultural implements, etc., sixth year.
Allan W. Reid, Chicago, boots, shoes, etc., second year.
William J. Ford, Chicago, crockery, lamps, etc., third year.
Fred. C. Hall, Chicago, harness, saddlery, etc., sixth year.

During the delivery of goods at the New York warehouse in September and October a serious difficulty arose as to the quality of some of the clothing offered under contracts made in May. It is understood by the purchasing committee that a brief report upon this subject is made by the Hon. Darwin R. James, chairman of the board, who gave personal attention to the matter at the time.

The very limited appropriation for the expenses of the Board of Indian Commissioners did not permit the attendance of any members of the board at the opening of bids at San Francisco, Ca.

William H. Lyon, Chairman,
E. Whittlesey,
Merrill E. Gates,
Philip C. Garrett,
Joseph T. Jacobs,
William M. Beardshear,
Purchasing Committee.



MLA Source Citation:

Board Of Indian Commissioners. Thirty-Third Annual Report Of The Board Of Indian Commissioners. Government Printing Office. 1901. AccessGenealogy.com. Web. 28 July 2014. http://www.accessgenealogy.com/native/report-of-the-purchasing-committee.htm - Last updated on Aug 9th, 2013


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