The following report was submitted to the federal agent to the Creek Nation by Robert Graham, president of Arkansas College to explain how funds allocated by the government had been used. More Creeks attended the college in the years that followed, including George Washington Grayson, who later served as principal chief of the Creek Nation. The letter was published in the "Annual Report of the Commissioner of Indian Affairs" in 1855.
ARKANSAS COLLEGE, September 8, 1855.
DEAR SIR: Your favor of May 18th last, requesting me to furnish you a report of the progress of the Creek youths kept at this institution by funds appropriated to that purpose by the government of the United States, was duly received, and I proceed to comply with your request.
On the 22d of February, 1854, Richard Carr, Eli Danley, and Lyman Moore, all of the Creek nation, were matriculated as regular students of Arkansas College, in the English department thereof, and on the 19th March following David Yargee was in like manner received. We were very fortunate in securing a comfortable place for them to board. Columbus Jackson, esq., of this place, residing within a few hundred yards of the college, has afforded them comfortable quarters. He, with his Christian lady, has done all in his power to render these youths contented and happy, and we have every reason to believe that their efforts have not been unavailing. We are of opinion that in being thus situated in a private family their address, ease, and gracefulness in company, together with a knowledge of our habits and manners, would be improved, and thus one great end of their education be gained. For their board we pay $2 per week, including washing, fuel, and all necessary accommodations, except lights.
They are provided, on my order, with everything needed, such as clothing, books, stationery, &c., by Messrs. Stirman and Dickson, of this place. Nothing is procured by these young men but by my special directions, and thus habits of expense and dissoluteness are guarded against. I am happy to say that, up to this time, not the least disposition has been manifested, on their part, to indulge in habits of extravagance. All that can contribute to their comfort and respectability, in their appropriate sphere of life, shall be afforded them, but no more.
The estimate I made and sent you in a former communication, of $225 per session of ten months for each of them, is sufficient to defray their expenses while in this college.
Since they have entered, reading, writing, arithmetic, English grammar, with exercises in declamation and composition, have engaged their attention. Finding that before they could proceed with profit to the acquisition of a classical education they should be well instructed in the elements of our vernacular, and those rudiments too often neglected in our schools and colleges, we devoted very special attention to these preparatory studies. It is pleasing to state that in these their progress has merited all praise. At the annual examination, in July last, they received honors in some of these classes for their proficiency. I may only observe, as an instance of their progress, that while on their arrival here they could barely perform operations in the four ground rules of arithmetic, they are now competent to work questions in denominate numbers, and have mastered the rules and principles of vulgar fractions. During the summer vacation they have, except Mr. Yargee, remained here, and have recited one lesson daily to a professor in the college. This has subjected them to the small additional expense of $5 a piece for the instruction of two months. In concluding this topic I must be permitted to say that I have never seen young men manifest more industry, attention to the wishes of their instructors, and a determined resolution to excel.
Their conduct is unexceptionable in all their intercourse with their fellow students; they are agreeable, and have gained the universal good will of all their companions. To the professors they are respectful and obedient. Indeed, in the monthly reports made by the teachers to me, in a scale of seven for conduct, proficiency, and attention, these boys have ranged from five to seven; they have thus won the confidence and esteem of every one connected with this school.
While this college is under the control of no denomination of Christians, and altogether free from any sectarian influence, we are careful to instill [sic] into the minds and hearts of our pupils the great principles of the Bible, and to enforce the practice of Christian virtue by the motives and arguments addressed to us by heavenly inspired apostles and prophets. In the village are several churches, at any of which it is their privilege to attend. In June last, Mr. Danley was baptized and united himself to the Christian congregation in this place.
On Monday last the college opened for another session of ten months, all are here and have entered upon their respective duties. I would respectfully suggest that the sum of sixteen hundred dollars, appropriated for the education of these boys, is more than enough. For this sum we can maintain six or seven youths here, say six, and then have means to spare for any unforseen [sic] emergency, such as sickness, &c. If, therefore, it should meet the views of those who control this matter, we would be pleased to receive the two additional scholars, and to do all in our power for their advancement. There is not, probably, any place where more advantages and facilities for their comfort are combined and offered at a cost less than here.
I am pleased to say, in conclusion, that all these young men are in excellent health and lose no time from any indisposition.
I have the honor to be, respected sir, you obedient servant,
President Arkansas College.
Hon. W. H. Garrett,
United States Agent for Creeks.