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Superb one page January 24th, 1889 dated TLS from the "Indian Rights Association" founder Herbert Welsh to Medal of Honor recipient George W. Baird, concerning Colonel Libbeus Foster Spencer, U.S. indian agent, Rosebud Reservation!
On original letterhead, it appears Agent Spencer's day's at the Rosebud Agency are coming to an end due to "many similar charges against Agent Spencer", but it will not be easy as "owing to the untrusting character of some of his informants, had not been able to satisfy himself to their reliability."
It appears that Welsh believes Spencer would be fired: "He gave me to understand that he would remove Mr. Spencer. As to whether the charges were or were not true it was at least clearly shown that the usefulness of that officer was at an end."
Welsh asks Baird to "regard this information as confidential."
Wow, cool stuff for sure! I don't know Baird's connection to Welsh, but this letter was part of the Baird archive I purchased a few years back.
In fine condition with wear as shown in the scan. Great look at a part of the Indian Wars you don't usually hear too much about.
$250.00 plus shipping
"In December 1882 Herbert Welsh, an artist and social reformer, and Henry Pancoast, a lawyer, founded the Indian Rights Association (IRA) in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The IRA, whose founding members were prominent businessmen and philanthropists, believed that American Indians' best hope for survival lay in a program of assimilation. This program involved education, conversion to Christianity, adoption of Anglo-Saxon legal institutions, private landholding, and the reduction of government rations."The Rosebud Agency: An Indian Agent’s Journey
The indefatigable efforts of Welsh and Charles Painter, the IRA's investigator and Washington lobbyist, made the IRA the most influential American Indian re-form group of its time. The group monitored the implementation of legislation affecting American Indians, advocating legislation such as the Dawes General Allotment Act of 1887 and drafting legislation such as the Dawes Sioux Bill of 1884. Painter investigated complaints of abuse; Welsh used his connection with the editors of influential periodicals such as Harper's Weekly and the New York Times, as well as the IRA's own publications, to publicize Painter's findings.
After the turn of the century the IRA's activity diminished; Charles Painter had died in 1895 and Herbert Welsh was preoccupied with other reform activities. However, two former IRA officials, Francis Leupp and Charles Rhoads, became commissioners of Indian Affairs and pursued the IRA's policy of assimilation while in office.
The advent of John Collier as commissioner of Indian Affairs in 1933 ended the IRA's dominance over American Indian reform. The group's agenda has been modified during the twentieth century to include advocacy of global human rights. The IRA has continued its support of American Indian land rights, championing the Senecas in the Kinzua Dam controversy of the 1950s and 1960s, and helping the Pequot Indians to recover land in 1976. In the early twenty-first century its membership included prominent American Indians, and it supported American Indian education with financial assistance and public education."
Col. L.F. Spencer was a politically active white man from a small village in western New York State, with no Indian-related experience. He was appointed to the largest agency on the Great Sioux Reservation. He served in historic times, but was he up to the challenge? The story of his journey naturally involves all the participants connected to Rosebud in 1888: the US government, from the President and Congress to the Bureau of Indian Affairs employees on the reservation; the Lakota people; the military and “private” militias; the press and eastern reformers; and assorted thieves, rascals, and scoundrels. Most of all, it’s a story about the actions of men when character counts." (From the website "Searching for Agent Spencer")