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The Life and Times of Lafayette Head

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Early Pioneer of Southwest Colorado
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COMING SOON  Lafayette Head, a simple Missouri boy, was one of Colorado’s first Anglo residents.  He fought in the Mexican-American War in 1846 and decided to stay in New Mexico Territory; but soon he moved to the future Colorado.  He fought in the Taos revolt of 1848 and in the Ute Indian War of 1855.  He was involved with the Mexican Conejos Land Grant of over two million acres, started the first church in Colorado, dug the second earliest irrigation ditch, built the second flour mill in the state, and was a U.S. Marshall for three years.

 

“Lafe” as he was known to his friends, served as a Tabeguache Indian Agent for nine years, as well as an Agent for the Jicarilla Apache.  He made three trips to Washington with these Native Americans to meet with various Presidents and served as a Ute interpreter, as he spoke fluent Spanish and Ute, as well as educated English.  His close friends included Kit Carson, Cerran St. Vrain, “Uncle” Dick Wooton, Albert Pfieffer, William Becknell, and several early Colorado Governors.  He served for several years each in the New Mexico and Colorado Territorial legislatures and the Constitutional Convention of Colorado.  He was elected the first Lt. Governor of the State of Colorado.  He wrote several sections of the Colorado State Constitution and had one of the largest and most successful ranches, farms, and flour mills in the San Luis Valley.

 

So why have most Coloradoans never heard of Lafayette Head?  It was because he was a very humble man who chose the Mexican-Americans of “Southern Colorado” as his people, respected them, and treated them well; and also chose to be a farmer and rancher instead of being a wealthy mine owner.

 

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