Contents and Arrangement

Letter Book, 1854-1855

1 folder

Collection Overview

Collection Description & Creator Information

Scope and Contents

The letterbook contains ten letters, including:

A letter from Governor Isaac I. Stevens, Washington, D.C. to Thomas Adams (1854 June 2), wherein Stevens appointed Adams "Special Indian Agent for the Eastern District of Washington Territory comprising the country of the Flathead, Upper Pend d'Oreille, and Kootenays," with the mission to "continue the efforts of Lieutenant Mullan to foster ... friendly feelings towards the whites and other Indian tribes, to encourage any disposition to get their subsistence from the soil," and to keep the Department abreast of relationships.

A letter from Rufus Ingalls, Captain Army Quarter Master to the Indian Agent, Flathead Country, Oregon Territory (1854 September 18) introducing Mr. Van Etten, a traveling businessman who "seems an honest an reliable person."

A letter from Thomas Adams to Governor Stevens (1855 January 16), wherein Adams reported on the whereabouts of the Kootenays and the Pend d'Oreilles, and that the Flatheads were disappointed that there was no news of governmental aid in response to the scarcity of buffalo. He also described the removal of a Catholic Mission to the Iocko River area and expected that there would be a settlement of Kootenays and Flatheads near the Mission's new location.

A letter from Governor Stevens to Thomas Adams (1855 January 11), wherein Stevens asked that Adams make a monthly report referring to any "special operation within the month and any changes ... in the temper and condition of the Indians."

A letter from Governor Stevens to Thomas Adams (1855 January 18), wherein Stevens sent Adams $500 for agency expenses and asked that Adam send his report on local Native American activities. Stevens wrote that he planned to convene the Blackfeet Council on July 1 and stated that his goal for the council was to unite the Flathead, Pend d'Oreille, and Kootenay tribes "into a single reservation."

A letter from Governor Stevens to Thomas Adams (1855 January 17), wherein Stevens asked that Adams help prepare for treaties and to expect to participate in "the survey of the Indian country westward to the Puget Sound."

A letter from Thomas Adams to Governor Stevens (1855 March 24), wherein Adams reported on Flathead and Kootenay activities and wrote that "war parties of the Blackfeet" were traveling towards them. Adams also described his dissatisfaction with his inactivity.

A letter from James Doty, Secretary to Treaty Commission to Thomas Adams (1855 April 10), wherein James Doty instructed Adams to inform the local Native Americans that Governor Stevens would be arriving to request that they attend the Blackfeet Council, the date of which was changed to August 1.

A letter from Thomas Adams to James Doty (1855 April 25), wherein Adams stated that he would inform the local Native Americans about Governor Stevens' visit, but could not inform the Forts because "the mountains are full of Blackfeet war parties."

A letter from Thomas Adams to Governor Stevens (1855 April 25), wherein Adams reported on Blackfeet war parties and horse thefts, and stated that he thought that the local Native Americans would welcome settling on a reservation and that he did not need a translator because he had "already acquired sufficient knowledge of the language to answer on all ordinary occasions."


The journals are arranged chronologically, followed by the letter book.

Collection History


No items were removed during 2013 processing.

Processing Information

This collection was processed by Holly Mengel in 2013. Finding aid written by Holly Mengel in 2013.

Access & Use

Conditions Governing Access

The collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Single copies may be made for research purposes. To cite or publish quotations that fall within Fair Use, as defined under U. S. Copyright Law, no permission is required. For instances beyond Fair Use, it is the responsibility of the researcher to determine whether any permissions related to copyright, privacy, publicity, or any other rights are necessary for their intended use of the Library's materials, and to obtain all required permissions from any existing rights holders, if they have not already done so. Princeton University Library's Special Collections does not charge any permission or use fees for the publication of images of materials from our collections, nor does it require researchers to obtain its permission for said use. The department does request that its collections be properly cited and images credited. More detailed information can be found on the Copyright, Credit and Citations Guidelines page on our website. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us through the Ask Us! form.

Physical Characteristics and Technical Requirements

For preservation reasons, original analog and digital media may not be read or played back in the reading room. Users may visually inspect physical media but may not remove it from its enclosure. All analog audiovisual media must be digitized to preservation-quality standards prior to use. Audiovisual digitization requests are processed by an approved third-party vendor. Please note, the transfer time required can be as little as several weeks to as long as several months and there may be financial costs associated with the process. Requests should be directed through the Ask Us Form.

Credit this material:

Letter Book; Thomas Adams Papers, C1452, Manuscripts Division, Department of Special Collections, Princeton University Library

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Storage Note:
  • Firestone Library (mss): Box 1