“In response to the inquiry of the Attorney-General, the United States attorney for Alaska writes the following letter:
Sitka, March 6, 1890.
Sir: Replying to your letters of December 9 and February 4, relative to an order of the court ousting W. J. Henning from a certain reservation in Juneau, Alaska, permit me to say I have found it very difficult to ascertain the facts.
It seems that Aaron Ware, Henry States, F. F. White, H. J. McDonald, W. J. Henning, and Lewis Nado were living on the piece of ground claimed as a reservation. States was living in a house erected by the soldiers and owned by the Government, but he had made extensive additions to it. The others had erected their own houses. Suits were instituted and all were ousted except States. (The McDonald suit was dismissed upon your instructions.) The decree of the court was absolute and carried the buildings with the real estate. These buildings were placed in the hands of the collector and are now under his control.
From all the facts I believe the parties ought to be given their respective houses, and as Henning suggests, they could, without injury to the Government, be permitted to occupy the reservation until such time as the Government bad use for it. But the decrees having been executed, and the buildings having passed into the hands of the collector, I can think of no legal means by which either the court 01 attorney can give the claimants any relief.
I would suggest that the collector of customs be authorized and empowered to enter into agreement with the respective owners, giving them possession of their buildings, making them tenants at will or by sufferance of the Government. To give them the ownership of the houses could only be done by modifying the decree in that respect. And it seems to me it is too late to do that. If it can be done please so advise me and I will make the proper application to the court. I will add that I think an injustice has been done these people, and especially so when I remember that the Government can have no use for their little houses.
C. S. Johnson,
United States Attorney.”