Colorado Was National News in 1879

The story of murders and hostage taking in Colorado was a media sensation in 1879, particularly because the hostages were women and children. Stories travelled by telegraph to Eastern newspapers. The New York Times carried daily front page reports that kept readers shivering with fear at the thought of being held hostage by savage Indians in the mountain wilderness. Smaller newspapers reprinted the stories for readers across the nation.
          In Colorado, panic set in. As news of the events at White River Agency spread, the stories became more exaggerated with each retelling. Residents feared all Utes in Colorado were off their reservations and murdering any white people they could find.
          Mountain communities raised volunteer militias. Citizens barricaded themselves in their homes ready for a seige. Governor Pitkin sent a special train to Lake City with 150 Springfield rifles and ten thousand rounds of ammunition. He designated the town as the distribution point for arming the Southwestern part of the state. The governor requested extra military protection from Kansas, New Mexico and Texas.
          Colorado became an armed camp ready for war.

Published in: on October 5, 2009 at 6:00 am  Leave a Comment  
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