Central Superintendency of Indian Affairs

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United States Gotoarrow.png American Indian Research Gotoarrow.png Bureau of Indian Affairs Gotoarrow.png Superintendencies Gotoarrow.png Central Superintendency

History[edit | edit source]

The records of the Central Superintendency relate to almost all aspects of Indian administration within its jurisdiction. There are documents relating to negotiation and enforcement of treaties; land surveys and allotments; Indian removal; annuity and other payments; Indian delegations; intrusions on Indian lands; traders and licenses, enforcement of federal laws and regulations; hostilities and military operations; depredation claims; location of agencies; school attendance and curricula; medical treatment; production at blacksmith, gunsmith, and wheelwright shops; construction and repair of buildings; and purchase and transportation of goods and supplies.

The Central Superintendency succeeded the St. Louis Superintendency in 1851. The Central Superintendency originally was responsible for most of the Indians in what is now Kansas and Nebraska, and in the upper regions of the Missouri, Platte, and Arkansas Rivers in the Dakotas, Wyoming, and Colorado.

Records for Superintendencies exist in the National Archives and copies of many of them are also available in other research facilities.

Tribes[edit | edit source]

Delaware, Shawnee, Wyandot, Kickapoo, Kansa, Sauk and Fox, Iowa, Potawatomi, Chippewa, Ottawa, Munsee, Peoria, Wea, Kaskaskia, Piankeshaw, Miami, Oto, Missouri, Omaha, Pawnee, Ponca, Kiowa, Apache, Comanche, Cheyene, Arapaho, Sioux, Osage, Quapaw, Seneca, Eastern Shawnee, Modoc, Mexican Kickapoo, Wichita

Superintendents and Appointment Dates[edit | edit source]

David D. Mitchell March 13, 1851, Alfred Cumming April 23, 1853, John Haverty August 19, 1857, Alexander M. Robinson March 1, 1858, Harrison B. Branch April 8, 1861, William M. Albin March 2, 1864, Thomas G. Murphy July 1, 1865, Enoch Hoag April 22, 1869, and William Nicholson January 19, 1876 [1]

Agencies[edit | edit source]

Agencies and subagencies were created as administrative offices of the Bureau of Indian Affairs and its predecessors. Their purpose was (and is) to manage Indian affairs with the tribes, to enforce policies, and to assist in maintaining the peace. The names and location of these agencies may have changed, but their purpose remained basically the same. Many of the records of genealogical value (for the tribe and tribal members) were created by and maintained by the agencies.

Original agencies and tribes of Indians assigned to them were:

  • Council Bluffs Agency, at Bellevue, Nebraska -- for the Oto, Missouri, and Omaha and Pawnee in Nebraska
  • Great Nemaha Agency, about five miles south of Iowa Point, Kansas -- for the Iowa, Kickapoo, and Sac and Fox of the Missouri in northeastern Kansas and southeastern Nebraska
  • Kansas Agency -- for Delaware, Shawnee, Stockbridge, Munsee, and Wyandot
  • Osage River Agency, at Paoli, Kansas -- for the Peoria, Kaskaskia, Wea, Piankeshaw, and Miami in eastern Kansas
  • Potawatomi Agency -- for the Potawatomi and Kansas, or Kaw, in eastern Kansas
  • Sac and Fox Agency, in Kansas -- for the Ottawa, Chippewa, and Sac and Fox in eastern Kansas
  • Upper Missouri Agency -- for the Arikara, Mandan, Assiniboin, Crow, Dakota, and some of the Gros Ventre, Blackfeet, Blood, and Piegan
  • Upper Platte Agency for the Cheyenne, Arapaho, Kiowa, Kiowa-Apache and Dakota.

Several agency changes occurred in 1855.

  • The Kansas Agency was divided into the Delaware Agency for the Stockbridge and Munsee and the Shawnee Agency for the Shawnee and Wyandot.
  • A new Kansas Agency was established at Council Grove, Kansas, on the Neosho River for the Kaw.
  • A separate Kickapoo Agency was established.
  • The Upper Arkansas Agency was established for the Cheyenne, Arapaho, Kiowa, Kiowa-Apache and Comanche in eastern Colorado and western Kansas.
  • The Blackfeet Agency was created at Fort Benton in present-day Montana with responsibility for the Blackfeet, Blood, Piegan, and Gros Ventre.
  • The Council Bluffs Agency was discontinued in 1856, and the Oto, Missouri, and Pawnee were assigned to the new Oto Agency in the Big Blue River Valley in southern Nebraska.
  • The Omaha were placed under a separate Omaha Agency near Decatur, Nebraska.

In 1861 the Yankton, Ponca, and Upper Missouri Agencies were transferred to the Dakota Superintendency.

The Ottawa Agency was established in 1863 for the Ottawa and Chippewa. Attached to the Wichita Agency were the Wichita, Caddo, Anadarko, Waco, Tonkawa, Hanai, Kichai, Tawakoni, and Delaware. The Kiowa Agency was established for the Kiowa, Kiowa-Apache and Comanche in western Kansas. The Upper Arkansas Agency remained with its headquarters in Kansas.

The agencies of the five civilized tribes formed a consolidated or Union Agency in 1874.

There were two agencies known as the Neosho Agency. One originally had responsibility for the Osage in southern Kansas and the Quapaw, Seneca and mixed band of Seneca and Shawnee who lived on reserves east of the Neosho River in Indian Territory. After February, 1867, Wyandot, Ottawa, Peoria, Kaskaskia, Wea, and Piankeshaw were assigned to the Neosho Agency. This branch was subordinate to the original Neosho Agency, which was referred to as the Osage Agency.

In 1876 the Central Superintendency received the Pawnee Agency, which had been established in Nebraska; the Ponca Agency was in Nebraska, and the Yankton Agency for the Yankton Sioux was near Greenwood in South Dakota.

Records[edit | edit source]

Records cover 1813-1850, when it was known at the St. Louis Superintendency and1851-1878, while it operated under the name of the Central Superintendency. The collection of records for this Superintency has been microfilmed by the National Archives under their Microcopy Number M856. Copies are available at the National Archives, and the Kansas City, National Archives Southwest Region (Ft. Worth), and Seattle Regional Archives and at the Kansas State Historical Society. This same set of microfilm of the records of the Central Superintendency are also available at the Family History Library and its family history centers.

Letters received by the Office of Indian Affairs from the Central Superintendency, 1851-1880, have been microfilmed by the National Archives as part of their Microcopy Number M234. Copies are available at the National Archives and at the Family History Library and its family history centers on their microfilm roll numbers 1660785 thru 1660800.

References[edit | edit source]

  1. The Office of Indian Affairs, 1824-1880: Historical Sketches. By Edward E. Hill. Clearwater Publishing Co., New York, NY ©1974. FHL Book 970.1 H551o

Hill, Edward E. The Office of Indian Affairs, 1824-1880: Historical Sketches. New York, New York: Clearwater Press, [1974].

Hill, Edward E. (comp.). Guide to Records in the National Archives of the United States Relating to American Indians. Washington [District of Columbia]: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1981.

Historical Sketches for Jurisdictional and Subject Headings Used for the Letters Received by the Office of Indian Affairs, 1824-1880. National Archives Microcopy T1105.

Preliminary Inventory No. 163: Records of the Bureau of Indian Affairs. Washington, DC: