Crow Indian Agency Fraud Hearings Collection, 1876-1877

Overview of the Collection

Museum of the Rockies
Crow Indian Agency Fraud Hearings Collection
11 folders and 1 reel microfilm
Collection Number
Collection 2146, MtBC, us (collection)
The Crow Indian Agency Fraud Hearings Collection consist of affidavits, letters, and a statement. The printed documents reflect the grand jury hearings of the United State District Court in Virginia City, Montana into the allegations of fraud posed by Captain Edward Bell against Dexter E. Clapp and Nelson Story in 1876.
Montana State University Library, Merrill G. Burlingame Special Collections
Montana State University-Bozeman Library
Merrill G Burlingame Special Collections
P.O. Box 173320
Bozeman, MT
Telephone: 4069944242
Fax: 4069942851
Access Restrictions

This collection is open for research.


Biographical NoteReturn to Top

In February 1876, Captain Edward Ball of the Second U. S. Cavalry leveled charges against Dexter E. Clapp and Nelson Story alleging fraud perpetrated against the Crow Indian Agency in Montana. The charges in question included bribery, providing inferior pork and cattle, payment for merchandise not delivered, and "cheating the Indians out of their supplies." E. C. Kemble, United States Indian Inspector, investigated the accusations directed against Clapp and Story. Kemble compiled two reports in November 1876 that prompted rebuttal by Clapp and Story in December 1876 and January 1877. Judge H. N. Blake, United States District Court 1 in Virginia City, Montana, presided over the grand jury hearings in April 1876. Clapp resigned from the agency in May 1876, but neither he nor Story were indicted and the matter was dropped.

Content DescriptionReturn to Top

The printed documents in the Crow Indian Agency Fraud Hearings Collection include affidavits, letters, and statements. The documents relate to allegations of fraud at Montana's Crow Indian Agency in 1876, leveled by Captain Edward Ball against Dexter E. Clapp and Nelson Story. The affidavits detail Clapp's recollections on the receipt of shipments and refute allegations of bribery, as well as Charles Rich, John Goewey, and Warren Allen's verification of pork presented to the agency. Letters outline the charges against Clapp and Story by Ball, rebuttal of the charges leveled, as well as a description of Ball's character. The statement provided by Story refutes the charges levied by Ball. Folders 7-12 represent photocopies, microfilm, and a typed transcription of materials from the Montana Historical Society Manuscript Collection 39.

Administrative InformationReturn to Top

Acquisition Information

The documents were transferred from the Museum of the Rockies in April 1985. Additional photocopied documents, a typed transcript, and a reel of microfilm from the Montana Historical Society Manuscript Collection 39 was added in July, 2017. It had formerly been accessioned as collection number 1064.

Processing Note

This collection was processed 2017 July 18

Detailed Description of the CollectionReturn to Top

Container(s) Description Dates
1/1 "The Honorable Commissioner of Indian Affairs : Sir, I respectfully submit the following reply to the charges and allegations of E. C. Kemble; . . ."
1/2 "In the matter of the investigation into the affairs at the Crow Agency and the conduct of the late agent, Mr. Clapp, and Nelson Story"
1/3 "Sir, I have the honor to report for the information of the Department, . . ."
1/4 [Affidavit] Dexter E. Clapp [April 18, 1876]
1/5 [Affidavit] Charles Rich, John Goewey, Warren Allen
[i.e. 1876]
[April 17, 1875]
1/6 "To the people of Montana : having seen in the Madisonian newspaper a copy of the signatures of about ninety citizens . . ."
1/7 Major James S. Brisbin's Report of Indian Frauds made to General Sherman
1/8 Typed transcript of folder 7
1/9 Exhibits a-e
1/10 Exhibits f-q
1/11 Exhibits s-x
1/12 Microfilm of MHS Manuscript Collection 39

Names and SubjectsReturn to Top

Subject Terms

  • Crow Indians -- Government relations
  • Fraud investigation -- Montana
  • Government contractors -- Montana -- Crow Indian Reservation
  • Grand jury -- Montana -- Virginia City
  • Indian agents -- Montana -- Crow Indian Reservation
  • Political corruption -- Montana -- Crow Agency
  • Public contracts -- Montana -- Crow Agency

Personal Names

  • Ball, Edward, 1811-1872

Corporate Names

  • United States. Office of Indian Affairs. Crow Indian Agency -- Procurement

Geographical Names

  • Crow Indian Reservation (Mont.)

Other Creators

  • Personal Names
    • Clapp, Dexter E.
    • Kemble, Edward C. (Edward Cleveland), 1828-1886
    • Story, Nelson, 1838-1926
    Corporate Names
    • United States. District Court (Montana)
    • United States. Office of Indian Affairs