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John Taylor and Southern Utes at Los Pinos Agency, Boudoir Card, 1882

Boudoir card group portrait identified as Southern Utes at Los Pinos Agency. E.A. Widler [sic]: Durango, Colorado, n.d., 1882. Handwritten captions in the lower margins identify, "Ye Dude, Red Jacket, Iaujoh, Ignacio 'A.I.', Igler, Severo, 'Jim Harding'." Upper margin reads, "Ind. Police, Johnson, 'Nigg Joh[n?]." Edwin A. Wilder was active in Rico, Colorado from 1881 until 1882 and in Durango between 1884 and 1889. "John," the African American man standing in between the two doorways, is believed to be Buffalo soldier John Taylor.  

Born into slavery in Paris, Kentucky, Taylor (1841-1935) escaped as a young man and enlisted in a black regiment of the Union Army, possibly the 10th U.S. Cavalry. He was discharged in February of 1866 but reenlisted the following year and traveled west, serving in Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, and Colorado. Along the way, he learned Spanish and the languages of the Navajo, Hopi, Apache, and Ute peoples and often worked as a translator. Taylor found he preferred the company of the Indians he encountered over that of the white settlers, many of whom were unaccustomed to the presence of African Americans on the frontier. He purportedly had twelve wives during his lifetime, and, partially by consequence, helped establish Ignacio, Colorado, by selling to the Southern Utes a homestead he inherited from a deceased stepson; this land was later merged with additional holdings to form the town. This appears to be the earliest known image of Taylor. 

Condition:

Wear to mount edges and corners, with surface soil and staining. 

Estimate: $2,000 - $3,000
Price Realized Including Buyer's Premium
$5,000
02/20/2020

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