Cha[rle]s H. Sawyer
his neighbors had complained and that he had better stop.I hired horses from these men and we were out a month, they did not care where they went if the trail was good, for they simply wanted to pass the time. We covered part of their district during that time, and discovered three fires a few days after leaving, they were all in sight at the same time from a high ridge which the trail crossed, two of them were large, but they paid no attention to them because they were not near a trail, we camped near the third one two days later, simply because it was on the beaten trail. After two days in camp, Ranger #3, at my request, took a shovel and visited the fire which was on a spur of the main ridge. The forest was open, Pinus Contorta, and the fire was smouldering in the mould but slowly creeping to the ridge were it could run for miles in the rank growth of grass just in a condition to burn. That fire could have been extinguished even by one man, it was simply a question of time, a day's hard work at most. Ranger #3 worked at it for an hour and said that it would probably rain in the night and put the fire out, it did rain that night, but several days later I saw the smoke again rising in heavy columns, we were many miles away by that time.We camped a few days later within a mile of the boundry of their district, a large fire was burning in the canon above us, but when the Rangers discovered that it was the other side of the river and not in their district they would not even go up to see it, I crossed the river twice on foot and found enough evidence to convince me that it had been set by a band of Indians, but the Rangers did not make an effort to investigate. On the way out we discovered many of the fire notices cut and torn down, they knew who had done the mischief but said he was a good fellow and did not mean any harm, there is a penalty for distroying the notices. We got back in time for them to hand in a carefully padded report so that their pay would arrive promptly on time. I omitted to mention the fact however, that they had carefully tacked up notices at every camping place, for their friend to destroy. Both these Rangers have since left the service whether of their own free will or not I do not know. The way they guarded the Reserve was worse than useless for it held the whole system up to ridicule, these men are the only ones I have actually observed, I have had a great deal told me that of course I cannot vouch for.Yours very truly,Char H. Sawyer02921
Los Gatos [Calif.]
1902 Jan 4
Original letter dimensions: 27 x 20 cm.
Reel 12, Image 0039
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