Colorado Territory: Indians and Agents 1861

Honoring the 150th Anniversary of Colorado Territory (officially formed February 28, 1861), this series of posts offers a brief glimpse into Indian affairs during the terms of the seven territorial governors.

The first Territorial Governor William Gilpin, like those who followed him, served as ex-officio Superintendent of Indian Affairs for the new Colorado Territory. In his first annual report to the Commissioner of Indian Affairs, for 1861, Gilpin estimated the population of white men at 30,000 and the number of Indians at 25,000.  He identified the diverse Indians and the areas of Colorado they called home,  along with names of their assigned Indian Agents.

          “The Indians belonging to this superintendency, and who may be said to revolve around this city [Denver] as round a centre:
          “Commance, Kiowas, and Sheyennes of the Arkansas Smoky Hills and Republican rivers. Arapahoes – one agency, [A.G.] Boone agent.
          “Ogallah Sioux, Half-breeds of Arapahoes, South Platte and Cadre la Poudre rivers. Sheyennes and Sioux – one sub agency.
          “Apaches of the Ratone Mountains and Rio del Norte. Utahs – one agency, Kit Carson, agent.
          “Utahs (Mohuaches) of the Parc of San Louis, Eagle rivers and San Juan Mountains. Capotes and Navajoes – one agency, F. [LaFayette] Head, agent.
          “Utahs of Grand and Green rivers, and Shoshones of the south, middle, and north Parcs, and country north and west of the Pass. Snake Indians – one agency, [Harvie M.] Vaile agent.”

Photo courtesy the Denver Public Library, Western History Collection
Text from the Annual Report of the Commissioner of Indian Affairs 1861

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