Colorado slavery continued long after the Civil War was over. Why? Because Colorado was only a territory at the time of the Civil War and although under U.S. Government jurisdiction, the practice continued many years after the War Between the States.
Who were these slaves? Native Americans. More injustice for the first people of our country. For a very long time, Native Americans had been sold to Mexicans and Americans.
Kit Carson III would buy children from the Ute Indians and sell them to the San Luis Valley farmers.
He reasoned that he was helping both the Utes, by paying for their children, and the farmers, supplying workers for their fields.
The deal actually worked out well for the farmhands, because many of them became members of the families they worked for and also married into them.
When the Thirteenth Amendment came into law, and lists were made of the current slaves across the U.S., it showed a few hundred in Colorado. A survey was taken of these people and were asked if they wanted their freedom.
Only a very few of the many hundreds said they wished to be free and return to their Ute families.
It is interesting to note, that centuries before the Civil War, many Indian tribes practiced slavery with their own people.
This information went unrecorded, except to involve Indian agents in the new territory to put a stop to it.
Many Utes forbid the use of their own people as slaves. With the census of 1870, there was no mention of these native people as slaves.