President Grant’s Peace Policy marked a profound change in Indian-white relations after the Battle of the Washita in 1868. Brinton Darlington, a Quaker through his membership in the Society of Friends, was appointed agent of the Upper Arkansas Agency. Darlington arrived at Camp Supply on July 6, 1869 and began looking for an appropriate location to establish the agency complex. Brinton Darlington’s strong convictions in the scriptures of his faith caused him to adhere to the principles of the Peace Policy. He refused to accept a military escort into the interior of Indian Territory.
Through negotiations with the military and the Cheyennes, it was agreed that the new agency would be located on the north side of the North Canadian River. In May 1870, the agency was located within the newly established Cheyenne and Arapaho reservation created through Executive Order by President Grant. The agency was located near an adequate timber and spring water supply across the river, north and to the east of present day Fort Reno.
Work at the agency was challenging for Darlington as he was responsible for issuing the Treaty guaranteed annuities of goods and regular food rations. Many of the Indian camps preferred living near the buffalo range near the western border of present day Oklahoma. Thus, the number of Cheyennes and Arapahos living near the agency was small during the Darlington’s three years as Agent.
The ultimate goal of the Peace Policy was to educate and Christianize the Indians, and to get them to farm and raise cattle. The school established for the children at the Cheyenne-Arapaho agency by Brinton Darlington was part of the United States Indian policy. Many Cheyenne and Arapaho children in the 1870’s began formal education at the agency.
Darlington spent close to three years as the Agent for the Cheyenne and Arapaho people. He died on May 1, 1872 and the reports of his funeral indicate that large numbers of Cheyennes and Arapahos openly mourned as they passed his open coffin while paying their last respects. During the funeral a Cheyenne Chief spoke about the loss of this great man to the assembled group.
The agent succeeding Brinton Darlington was John D. Miles who had served as the agent for the Kickapoos.