James William Denver

Denver, James William, 1817–92, American territorial governor, army officer, and congressman, b. Winchester, Va. He commanded a company of Missouri volunteers in the Mexican War, then went (1850) to California, where he was state senator and secretary of state before serving (1855–57) as U.S. representative. President Buchanan appointed him commissioner of Indian affairs (1857) and territorial governor (1858) of troubled Kansas. As governor, Denver established order in the newly discovered Colorado gold mines and helped bring about the separation of Colorado from Kansas (Denver is named for him). In the Civil War he was a brigadier general of volunteers and later he practiced law in Washington, D.C.

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