Western Frontiersman, Soldier, Fur Trapper, Indian Scout, and Indian Agent. Albert Hinrich Pfeiffer, a native German, emigrated to America in 1844 at the age of 22. Two years later in Santa Fe, New Mexico he joined the Army and rose to the rank of Colonel. He served as an assistant and aide to Kit Carson for several years. He was so highly regarded by the Ute Indians that he served as United States Government Indian Agent for many years. He married into a prominent Ute family. While serving at Fort McRae, near present Truth or Consequences, New Mexico, in 1863 he and his wife, along with a party of 10, were bathing in hot springs near Taos, New Mexico. They were suddenly attacked by a band of Apache Indians. He was seriously wounded by arrows with one arrow going completely through his body just below the heart. His wife was carried away by the Apaches and later killed. Five others in the party were killed, three wounded and two escaped uninjured. Thereafter, he hunted and killed Apaches with a vengeance. It was reported that at one time he said, "they paid for it, yes they have paid well for it, in blood. I fight ‘em night and day – everywhere in all seasons!" After risking his life in many battles, the battle he is most remembered for occurred after retirement to his homestead near Pagosa Springs, Colorado. A war was breaking out between the Utes and the Navajos over the hot springs that the Utes had possessed for many years. After several days of fighting, the Utes sought assistance from Pfeiffer. He traveled over the mountains to Pagosa Springs and worked out a deal with the Navajos. It was agreed that each tribe would put up one man to battle each other to death with the winner taking possession of the springs and the other leaving peacefully. The Navajos sent out their largest, seasoned young warrior. Pfeiffer hated the Navajos and volunteered to do the battle. By this time he was in his middle forties and stood about 5 feet, 5 inches. The Utes accepted his offer and then Pfeiffer required the fight be done in the nude. The young warrior took one look at the grizzled body covered with many battle scars and was so intimidated that he was easily defeated. The Utes continued their possession of the hot springs, but not for long. In 1873, the Brunot Treaty forced the Utes to cede all their land in the region to the United States Government. Noted author and historian, Jim Perkins noted that Pfeiffer's death in 1881 occurring in bed and not among the cactus and rocks in some lonely place was a miracle in itself.
Col Pfeiffer Gravesite & Homestead
Rio Grande County
Created by: Tom Todd
Record added: Jun 24, 2007
Find A Grave Memorial# 20072445