William W. Bent and Christopher (Kit) Carson were among the men who represented the United States as commissioners in peace talks with the Plains Indians.
On October 14, 1865, at a meeting place along the Little Arkansas River in Kansas, chiefs of the Arapaho, Cheyenne and Apache nations signed a treaty with the U.S. government. The Apaches left their alliance with the Kiowa and Commanche to join with the Arapaho and Cheyenne.
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
The Utes were often referred to as the Utahs by early day Indian Agents. On Sepember 20, 1859, Agent C. Carson (better known as Kit Carson), sent his annual report for the Utah Agency, Taos, New Mexico to the Superintendent of Indian Affairs.
Under his charge were the “Muahuaches” and “Tobawatches,” two bands of Utes who he reported to be decreasing in number due to “disease and frequent conflicts with other warlike tribes.”
Carson lived in this home at Taos (which survives today as a museum) whic also served as the Agency Office. The house was an 1843 wedding present for Carson’s new bride.
“Knowing that Josefa Jaramillo was connected with a politically important family in northern New Mexico, he wanted a house that would be equal to her social standing. He was offered a house that already belonged to family members, which guaranteed that it would be suitable to her family. The union of Carson, already a famous Mountain Man and Indian Scout, with the Jaramillo family, under the 21 vigas of the three-room adobe brought an added distinction to the structure. The house would not have gained a higher distinction without the association with the Carson/Jaramillo family with the property.”
Story of the Kit Carson house from the New Mexico Tourism Department. Photo Taos Visitors Guide online. The house is a National Historic Landmark.