Creator: Fort Peck Boarding School

Provenance Note: The Fort Peck Boarding School ledger was donated to Montana State University by the family of Austin R. Buckles on October 25, 2011

Historical Note: The Fort Peck Indian Agency boarding school for members of the Assiniboine and Sioux tribes was established at the agency's headquarters at Poplar Creek in 1881 with Reverend Samuel E. Snider of the Methodist Episcopal Church as its first superintendent. The school was initially built to accommodate fifty students in a one and a half story log building with separate dormitories for males and females. After Snider became the agent for the reservation, the school saw a number of different superintendents up to 1897 including I. T. Miller, M. L. R Carpenter, Joseph. L. Baker, J. H. Welch, and F. C. Campbell. The school taught, in addition to academic subjects, farming techniques, the "domestic arts," and religious instruction. By early 1886 the school had reached its low point, with the fewest students in attendance since its founding and, in the words of the agent, "under no management at all." However, when D. O. Cowen became the reservation's agent on November 6, 1886 he began to enforce attendance at the school by threatening parents with imprisonment unless they sent their children. In December of that year, the enrollment stood at fifty, but by July 13, 1887 it swelled to over 200. The school physical plant in 1888 consisted of two frame buildings in addition to the original log structure, but they were destroyed in a fire on November 23, 1891. Another fire occurred on September 18, 1892. Although the school continued in operation into the twentieth century it was eventually phased out in the 1920s.

Content Description Note: The Fort Peck Boarding School roster is a bound volume recording the student's age, Anglicized name, his parents family name in both English and a phonetic rendering of native languages, tribal affiliation, and the date of enrollment at the school. The entries date from July 31, 1888 to September 18, 1892, the date when the second fire struck the facility. Other information recorded in the volume are the names of students granted vacation leave at various times and, occasionally, additional notations such as the names of runaways. Names of students enrolled at other reservation schools are also represented in this roster.

Access note: The link to a PDF surrogate of the Fort Peck Boarding School represents all of the pages in the volume that bear handwritten notations. No blank pages were scanned and as a result the printed page numbers on the images have occasional omissions in the sequence.


Box 1Roster volume, 1888-1892

Contents | Special Collections

Updated: 11/23/11