Reed Anthony, Cowman HTML version

XIX. The Cheyenne And Arapahoe Cattle Company
The assassination of President Garfield temporarily checked our plans in forming
the new cattle company. Kirkwood of the Interior Department was disposed to be
friendly to all Western enterprises, but our advices from Washington anticipated a
reorganization of the cabinet under Arthur. Senator Teller was slated to succeed
Kirkwood, and as there was no question about the former being fully in sympathy
with everything pertaining to the West, every one interested in the pending
project lent his influence in supporting the Colorado man for the Interior portfolio.
Several senators and any number of representatives were subscribers to our
company, and by early fall the outlook was so encouraging that we concluded at
least to open negotiations for a lease on the Cheyenne and Arapahoe
reservation. A friendly acquaintance was accordingly to be cultivated with the
Indian agent of these tribes. George Edwards knew him personally, and, well in
advance of Major Hunter and myself, dropped down to the agency and made
known his errand. There were already a number of cattle being held on the
reservation by squaw-men, sutlers, contractors, and other army followers
stationed at Fort Reno. The latter ignored all rights of the tribes, and even
collected a rental from outside cattle for grazing on the reservation, and were
naturally antagonistic to any interference with their personal plans. There had
been more or less friction between the Indian agent and these usurpers of the
grazing privileges, and a proposition to lease a million acres at an annual rental
of fifty thousand dollars at once met with the sanction of the agent. Major Hunter
and I were notified of the outlook, and at the close of the beef-shipping season
we took stage for the Cheyenne and Arapahoe Agency. Our segundo had
thoroughly ridden over the country, the range was a desirable one, and we soon
came to terms with the agent. He was looked upon as a necessary adjunct to the
success of our company, a small block of stock was set aside for his account,
while his usefulness in various ways would entitle his name to grace the salary
list. For the present the opposition of the army followers was to be ignored, as no
one gave them credit for being able to thwart our plans.
The Indian agent called the head men of the two tribes together. The powwow
was held at the summer encampment of the Cheyennes, and the principal chiefs
of the Arapahoes were present. A beef was barbecued at our expense, and a
great deal of good tobacco was smoked. Aside from the agent, we employed a
number of interpreters; the council lasted two days, and on its conclusion we held
a five years' lease, with the privilege of renewal, on a million acres of as fine
grazing land as the West could boast. The agreement was signed by every chief
present, and it gave us the privilege to fence our range, build shelter and stabling
for our men and horses, and otherwise equip ourselves for ranching. The rental
was payable semiannually in advance, to begin with the occupation of the
country the following spring, and both parties to the lease were satisfied with the
terms and conditions. In the territory allotted to us grazed two small stocks of