VIII. THE KLAMATH RIVER RESERVATION1858-1894* (continued)
D. FLOODS DESTROY the AGENCY and WREAK HAVOC on the RESERVATION
The same floods which doomed Fort Ter-Waw destroyed the agency at Wau-Kell. The floods which ravaged the lower Klamath in late December 1861 and January 1862 swept across the flats, wrecking buildings, fences, and storehouses, and left an estimated 2,000 Indians destitute. Superintendent Hanson, who had replaced McDuffie, wired the Commissioner of Indian Affairs on January 5, "The cries of over two thousand Indians now in a state of starvation . . . will reach the ears of the authorities in Washington." 
Superintendent Hanson in mid-January visited the flood stricken Reservation. He found the farm "fields of bare cobble stone, on one side, and Sand, 3 feet deep on the other, which had taken the place of nearly every acre of arable land on the Reservation." The floods, he wailed, had destroyed the plan to establish on the Klamath agricultural communes capable of sustaining in peace and prosperity all the Indians of northwest California.
On the flats "every panel of fencing, every Indian village, and every government building (over 30), except a barn," had been swept away. This included the mill, along with crops stored in granaries and all government stores. Gone were the farming and blacksmith tools, swine, poultry, and most of the cattle, "all swept into the Pacific."
Questioning the oldest Yurok Hanson learned that this was the worst flood in their memories. 
A soldier-diarist visiting Wau-Kell in March recorded, "Little is left of what was once the beautiful residence of the U. S. agent." All that remained of the agency was "a lone white cottage-like looking building, a barn & what was once a mill standing in the midst of a barren sandy bar." 
Last Updated: 15-Jan-2004