Camp on White River
Camp on White River (1879-1883) - A U.S. Army Camp established in 1879 in present day Meeker, Rio Blanco County, Colorado. Abandoned in 1883. Also known as Cantonment on White River
History of Camp on White River
Established 14 Oct 1879 in response to the Meeker Massacre. About 1,500 soldiers were assembled to control the Ute Indians who were responsible for the massacre.
Nathan Meeker was the Indian agent at the White River Ute Indian Reservation, his attempts to get the Ute Indians to abandon their nomadic ways and become farmers led to the Meeker Massacre on 29 Sep 1879. Meeker and his 10 male employees were killed and the Utes took several women and children as hostages. At the same time another group of Utes attacked an approaching column of 150-200 troops led by Major Thomas T. Thornburgh (Cullum 2181) who had come to help control the situation. Major Thornburgh and 13 men were killed and 28 more were wounded. The remainder of the column was pinned down for days until reinforcements arrived.
The arrival of the troops controlled the situation and the hostages were returned. Congress passed the Ute Removal Act in 1880 and the Utes were removed from their Colorado lands in 1881 and sent to Utah.
The post was abandoned on 7 Aug 1883.
The White River Museum building was once one of the officer’s quarters at the camp. The Rio Blanco County courthouse is situated on land that was the parade ground of the post.