Document Type

Technical Report

Publication Date



John Evans, History, Sand Creek Massacre, University of Denver


Apart from political rivalry, there was little reason to oppose John Evans as governor of Colorado. He was a success by almost any standard one chose to apply. He was a self-made man, a son of the Middle West. He grew up in a Quaker family in Indiana, and although he converted to Methodism later, Protestant evangelism was a central feature of his character and experience. As a young man, he set his goals high—to build a city, to found a college, to create a fortune, to become a governor, to be elected to the United States Senate, and to make a name for himself. He became a physician, taught medicine, and became an early advocate of various causes, including the creation of hospitals and treatment of the insane. He invested in real estate and railroads. He donated land for the construction of hospitals and universities and sought political office. He opposed slavery and joined the Republican party during the 1850s. By 1861, he had achieved most of his goals. He wanted to expand his wealth and saw the way to do it in railroad expansion. He had not realized his political ambitions, so that the opportunity to become governor of Colorado served his interests both as a politician and as a railroad entrepreneur.