TWISS INDIAN AGENCY: A major influence in shaping the decision of President Buchanan was a letter written by Major Thomas S. Twiss, Indian Agent for the Upper Platte District located at Fort Laramie. It read, “On the 25th May, 1857, a large Mormon colony took possession of the valley of Deer Creek, one hundred miles west of Fort Laramie, and drove away a band of Sioux Indians whom I had settled there in April.” He estimated the settlement contained “houses sufficient for the accomodation of five hundred persons…. He summed up by saying, “I am powerless to control this matter, for the Mormons obey no laws enacted by Congress.” No sooner had the Mormons left, than Agent Twiss penned a letter to Washington dated November 7, 1857, showing his return address as: “Indian Agency of the Upper Platte, Re: Deer Creek”. It began, “I have the honor to report that I have arrived at this post on the 29th and shall remain here for the present.” And remain, he did, conducting all the Indian Affairs business from his Deer Creek headquarters for several years thereafter, including the distribution of yearly annuities to various Indian tribes and entering into a treaty which would have made the Deer Creek Valley into an Indian Reservation had the treaty been ratified by Congress.
LUTHERAN INDIAN MISSION: Sharing the Twiss Agency were several missionaries who established an Indian Mission within its stockades, later building five structures 1.5 miles above the old fort. History records that these missionaries conducted the first formal Christmas ceremony in 1859 in what would later become Wyoming. Their efforts enjoyed only limited success and the mission was officially closed in 1867.