Letters to Ouray – from Charles Adams

Charles Adams 1880

The Ute delegation arrived in Washington, D.C. in early January 1880. Government officials soon realized most of the Utes accused of the Meeker Massacre were not present. Charles Adams and the Ute called Jack were sent back to Colorado to collect the accused and return with them to Washington.
          Adams’ friendship with Ouray and trust in the Utes is evident in this letter he wrote after arriving at the Los Pinos Agency.

Los Pinos
2 Feb 1880

Friend Ouray,
I arrived here day before yesterday with [Otto] Mears and the Indians. On the way Wash became quite sick on the [railroad] cars, but was well again after leaving Alamosa. Between there and Clines ranch Jack became sick, but he also was quite well again when we reached here.
          Jack immediately went to Grand River and asked for ten days to bring Douglas and the others here, so I shall have to wait here 10 days. Your Indians had a long talk yesterday, none came to the Agency, I suppose they were listending to Wash’s report from you. On our trip here we had no trouble whatever and on our return I expect none.
           I cannot say who will return with me. If anything important occurs here, I will write you besides telegraphing to Secretary Schurz who is a good man and your friend.
          Adios, tell Chipeta to enjoy herself, not worry and not be sick.

Your friend,
C Adams

Letter from the Colorado Historical Society Library, Box 1180 FF1

Published in: on January 31, 2011 at 6:00 am  Leave a Comment  
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Story in a Blanket

Internet searches may deliver unexpected surprises. A recent search turned up a Navaho child’s shoulder blanket made of wool Bayetta. It was not what I expected but it turned out to be just what I wanted–once I discovered the story behind this lovely musem piece.  
          According to the museum description, Chief Manuelito of the Navajo (pictured above) presented the blanket to Chief Ouray of the Utes. The occasion or reason for the gift was not explained.
          In 1879, Ourary presented the blanket to his friend and former Ute Indian Agent, Charles Adams, after Adams intervened on behalf of the Utes in the Meeker Massacre affair.
          The blanket now resides in the Woolaroc Museum near Bartlesville, Oklahoma.
          The portrait of Manuelito is from the collection of the Hubbell Trading Post National Historic Site

Rescued Captives

The women and children taken captive during the September 29, 1879 Meeker Massacre were held in a remote moutain camp.
MeekerThe 5th Cavalry under Colonel Wesley Merritt arrived at the White River Agency on October 11th. They buried the bodies of Meeker and his employees. Reinforcements arrived bringing the total number of soldiers to 1,000. On October 14th, just as Merritt was ready to set out to find the camp and rescue the hostages, he received orders to halt.
          Secretary of Interior Carl Schurz had arrived in Denver. Two days earlier Chief Ouray and Southern Ute Agent William M. Stanley had assured Schurz that the White River Utes “…will fight no more unless forced to do so.”  Schurz wanted a peaceful resolution. He appointed Charles Adams to negotiate for release of the hostages.  Adams was a former Ute Indian Agent generally trusted by the Utes.  
           Adams arrived at Ouray and Chipeta’s home on October 21, 1879. Ouray sent a message to the Northern Utes that Adams was coming and assigned his most trusted men to lead Adams to the camp. Adams quickly gained release of the captives. The three women and two children arrived at Ouray and Chipeta’s home on October 29th.   
          Adams continued to negotiate with the Utes to surrender the men responsible for the murders at White River Agency.  Finally on November 10th the Utes agreed.
          The Army remained in western Colorado to keep the peace for the next two years.

Published in: on October 19, 2009 at 6:00 am  Comments (2)  
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As cold weather chills my bones and my stomach churns over finances, this tidbit from my research files reminds me that I have a comfortable existence. The 1874 payroll record for government employees at the Los Pinos Indian Agency, Colorado, reports total pay for the period January through March. The pay was probably good for the times since these employees received housing (log buildings with no running water, indoor plumbing, or central heat) and some food provided by the agency. The living and working conditions, however, were challenging. The agency for the Ute Indians was located in a cold and remote spot near the top of Cochetopa Pass on the Continental Divide. The name comes from a Ute word meaning “pass of the buffalo.” The men who managed the herds that supplied meat for agency employees lived solitary lives in crude quarters near their grazing animals. (Source: National Archives and Records Administration #8878, Expense Reports, 1874)


$250.00           MT [Margaret] Adams, Teacher

$375.00           Charles Adams, Agent

$189.50            Alonzo Hartman, Carpenter

$189.50            Geo. Hardman, Blacksmith

$250.00           Steven Dole, Blacksmith

$150.00           James Downer, Laborer

$   53.33           Charles Eberley, Cook

$150.00           James Kelley, Herder @ Gunnison

$150.00           H.F. Lautter, Herder @ Los Pinos

$150.00           Sidney Jocknick, Herder @ Gunnison

$225.00           Herman Leuders, Chief Herder

Published in: on February 11, 2009 at 10:07 am  Leave a Comment  
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