Carson, Kit, 1809-1868

Alternative names
Dates:
Birth 1809-12-24
Death 1868-05-23
US
English, Spanish; Castilian

Biographical notes:

Carson, a legendary figure in the history of the American West, was a various times a trader, trapper, military scout, Indian agent, and interpreter.

From the description of Kit Carson papers, 1847-1923. (Santa Fe Public Library). WorldCat record id: 37653498

Trapper, guide, Indian agent, and army officer.

From the description of Kit Carson papers, 1842-1869. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 79453501

Kit Carson, a legendary figure in the history of the American West, was a various times a trader, trapper, military scout, Indian agent, and interpreter.

From the guide to the Kit Carson Papers, 1847-1923, (New Mexico State Records Center and Archives)

American frontiersman, trapper, soldier, and Indian agent.

From the description of Letters received by Kit Carson, 1856 Nov 9-1865 Aug 18. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 702150512

From the description of Kit Carson letters : Taos, New Mexico Territory, 1854 Mar 21-1859 Nov 9. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 81260520

From the description of Letters received by Kit Carson, 1856 Nov 9-1865 Aug 18. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 83868995

From the description of Kit Carson letters : Taos, New Mexico Territory, 1854 Mar 21-1859 Nov 9. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 702150504

American frontiersman, army scout, and Indian agent.

From the description of Papers, 1854-1867. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 122536836

From the guide to the Kit Carson papers, 1854-1867, (L. Tom Perry Special Collections)

Enshrined in popular mythology even in his own lifetime, Kit Carson was a trapper, scout, Indian agent, soldier and authentic legend of the West. Born on Christmas Eve in 1809, Carson spent most of his early childhood in Boone''s Lick, Missouri. His father died when he was only nine years old, and the need to work prevented Kit from ever receiving an education. He was apprenticed to a saddle-maker when he turned fourteen, but left home for the Santa Fe, New Mexico area in 1826. From about 1828 to 1831, Carson used Taos, New Mexico, as a base camp for repeated fur-trapping expeditions that often took him as far West as California. Later in the 1830''s his trapping took him up the Rocky Mountains and throughout the West. For a time in the early 1840''s, he was employed by William Bent as a hunter at Bent''s Fort. As was the case with many white trappers, Carson became somewhat integrated into the Indian world; he traveled and lived extensively among Indians, and his first two wives were Arapahoe and Cheyenne women. Carson was evidently unusual among trappers, however, for his self-restraint and temperate lifestyle. "Clean as a hound''s tooth," according to one acquaintance, and a man who''s "word was as sure as the sun comin'' up," he was noted for an unassuming manner and implacable courage. In 1842, while returning to Missouri to visit his family, Carson happened to meet John C. Fremont, who soon hired him as a guide. Over the next several years, Carson helped guide Fremont to Oregon and California, and through much of the Central Rocky Mountains and the Great Basin. His service with Fremont, celebrated in Fremont''s widely-read reports of his expeditions, quickly made Kit Carson a national hero, presented in popular fiction as a rugged mountain man capable of superhuman feats. Carson''s notoriety grew as his name became associated with several key events in the United States'' westward expansion. He was still serving as Fremont''s guide when Fremont joined California''s short-lived Bear-Flag rebellion just before the outbreak of the Mexican-American War in 1846, and it was Carson who led the forces of U.S. General Stephen Kearney from New Mexico into California when a California band led by Andrés Pico mounted a challenge to American occupation of Los Angeles later that year. At the end of the war, Carson returned to New Mexico and took up ranching. By 1853, he and his partner were able to drive a large flock of sheep to California, where gold rush prices paid them a handsome profit. This same year Carson was appointed federal Indian agent for Northern New Mexico, a post he held until the Civil War imposed new duties on him in 1861. Carson played a prominent and memorable role in the Civil War in New Mexico. He helped organize the New Mexico volunteer infantry, which saw action at Valverde in 1862. Most of his military actions, however, were directed against the Navajo Indians, many of whom had refused to be confined upon a distant reservation set up by the government. Beginning in 1863 Carson waged a brutal economic war against the Navajo, marching through the heart of their territory to destroy their crops, orchards and livestock. When Utes, Pueblos, Hopis and Zunis, who for centuries had been prey to Navajo raiders, took advantage of their traditional enemy''s weakness by following the Americans onto the warpath, the Navajo were unable to defend themselves. In 1864 most surrendered to Carson, who forced nearly 8,000 Navajo men, women and children to take what came to be called the "Long Walk" of 300 miles from Arizona to Fort Sumner, New Mexico, where they remained in disease-ridden confinement until 1868. After the Civil War, Carson moved to Colorado in the hope of expanding his ranching business. He died there in 1868, and the following year his remains were moved to a small cemetery near his old home in Taos.

From the description of Carson, Kit, 1809-1868 (U.S. National Archives and Records Administration). naId: 10679510

Frontiersman, scout, and Indian agent, Christopher Houston Carson, commonly known as Kit Carson, established his home in Taos, N.M. in the mid-1830's.

Following years of fur trapping, guiding Fremont's expeditions, and fighting in Indian battles, Carson was appointed U.S. Indian Agent on Jan. 9, 1854 for the tribes occupying the northern area of the New Mexico Territory. With home and office in Taos, he rendered excellent service until May 1861 when he resigned from the Agency with the outbreak of the Civil War. Although he could sign his name and title, he remained illiterate during his tenure and delegated the preparation of reports to others.

From the description of Voucher : The United States to Theodore Mignault, Dr., 1859 Mar. 14. (Newberry Library). WorldCat record id: 34329391

Frontiersman, scout, and Indian agent, Christopher Houston Carson, commonly known as Kit Carson, established his home in Taos, N.M. in the mid-1830's.

Following years of fur trapping, guiding Fremont's expeditions, and fighting in Indian battles, Carson was appointed U.S. Indian Agent in 1854 for the northern area of the New Mexico Territory. With home and office in Taos, Carson served in that capacity until 1861. It was during that period that he dictated his life story relating his adventurous years on the plains and in the mountains.

From the description of Certificate : Taos, New Mexico, 1858 Nov. 3. (Newberry Library). WorldCat record id: 36661635

Frontiersman, scout, and Indian agent, Christopher Houston Carson, commonly known as Kit Carson, established his home in Taos, N.M. in the mid-1830's.

Following years of fur trapping, guiding Fremont's expeditions, and fighting in Indian battles, Carson was appointed U.S. Indian Agent in 1854 for the northern area of the New Mexico Territory. With home and office in Taos, Carson served in that capacity until 1861. It was during that period that he dictated his life story relating his adventurous years on the plains and in the mountains.

From the description of Autobiography : [Taos, N.M.], 1856. (Newberry Library). WorldCat record id: 36661614

Biography

Christopher Carson, trapper, guide, Indian agent, soldier, was born in Kentucky in 1809 and soon emigrated with his family to Missouri. When 17 he joined a hunting expedition and for eight years lived as a trapper, ranging as far as California in 1829. He later was appointed hunter for Bent's Fort. When returning from a visit to his family he met John C. Frémont who hired him as guide for his explorations. Since Carson know many of the Indian tribes, their languages and their territories he proved invaluable to Frémont, actively participating in the conquest of California and in the battles for the recovery of Los Angeles. In 1847 Carson went to Washington, bearing dispatches. In 1853 he drove 6,500 sheep over the mountains into California. Upon his return he was appointed Indian Agent at Taos in New Mexico. As agent he was instrumental in bringing about treaties between the United States and the Indians. With the advent of the Civil War Carson aided in organizing the first New Mexican Volunteer Infantry and took part in the battle of Valverde in 1862. In 1865 he was brevetted brigadier general of volunteers. He died in 1868.

From the guide to the Kit Carson Papers, 1847-1885, (The Bancroft Library)

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Permalink:
http://n2t.net/ark:/99166/w6kk9f9s
Ark ID:
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Subjects:

  • Indians of North America--Government relations
  • Military Bases
  • Fur trade
  • Ranch life
  • Indians of North America--History--19th century--Sources
  • Arapaho Indians
  • Frontier and pioneer life--Sources
  • Fur trade--West (U.S.)--History--Sources
  • Indian agents--New Mexico
  • Apache Indians
  • Land tenure
  • Comanche Indians
  • Correspondence
  • Jicarilla Indians
  • Indians of North America--Government relations--1789-1869--Sources
  • Indian agents--United States--Correspondence
  • Comanche Indians--Wars--History--Sources
  • Navajo Indians--Wars--History--Sources
  • Frontier and pioneer life
  • Secret societies
  • Indian agents
  • Mescalero Indians--Wars--History--Sources
  • Biographers--History--19th century--Sources
  • Fortification
  • Indian agents--Correspondence
  • Ute Indians
  • Indian agents--History--19th century--Sources
  • Apache Indians--Wars--History--Sources
  • Pueblo Indians
  • Jicarilla Indians--Wars--History--Sources
  • Scouts and scouting--History--19th century--Sources
  • Tabeguache Indians
  • Moache Indians
  • Indians of North America
  • Manuscripts, American
  • Material Types
  • Explorers
  • Scouts and scouting--Biography
  • Frémont's Expeditions

Occupations:

  • Indian agents--19th century.--New Mexico
  • Army officers
  • Indian agents
  • Indian agents--New Mexico
  • Guides
  • Trappers

Places:

  • New Mexico (as recorded)
  • Taos County (N.M.) (as recorded)
  • New Mexico (as recorded)
  • Taos (N.M.) (as recorded)
  • New Mexico--Taos (as recorded)
  • New Mexico (as recorded)
  • New Mexico (as recorded)
  • California (as recorded)
  • Taos County (N.M.) (as recorded)
  • New Mexico--Costilla (as recorded)
  • West (U.S.) (as recorded)
  • Santa Fe Trail (as recorded)
  • Bent's Fort (Colo.) (as recorded)
  • Camp Nichols (Okla.) (as recorded)
  • Paris (France) (as recorded)
  • United States (as recorded)
  • New Mexico (as recorded)
  • New Mexico (as recorded)
  • New Mexico (as recorded)
  • West (U.S.) (as recorded)
  • New Mexico (as recorded)
  • Paris (France) (as recorded)
  • New York (N.Y.) (as recorded)
  • United States (as recorded)
  • United States (as recorded)
  • New Mexico--Taos (as recorded)
  • New Mexico (as recorded)
  • New Mexico (as recorded)
  • New Mexico (as recorded)
  • Costilla (N.M.) (as recorded)
  • Camp Nichols (Okla.) (as recorded)
  • Fort Wingate (N.M.) (as recorded)
  • Southwest, New (as recorded)
  • West (U.S.) (as recorded)
  • New York (N.Y.) (as recorded)
  • New Mexico (as recorded)
  • New Mexico (as recorded)
  • Santa Fe National Historic Trail (as recorded)
  • Santa Fe (N.M.) (as recorded)
  • West (U.S.) (as recorded)