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Kit Carson

Birth place or City of origin:
State of origin: MO
Last known City: Taos
Last known State: NM
Start/Birth date: 1809
Death/End date: 1868

Born in Missouri, Carson apprenticed as a saddle maker but by 1826 had made his way to Taos, New Mexico to become a fur trapper. Using Taos as a base for most of the rest of his life, Carson trapped, traveled and lived extensively among the Indians. His affinity for the Indian world was reflected by his choices of wives, the first Arapahoe, the second Cheyenne.

He became known for his courage, unassuming manner, and as a man whose "word was as sure as the sun comin' up.”

By 1842 he was hired as a guide by John C. Fremont and traveled to Oregon, 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.

He became associated with the United States’ Westward expansion: participating in the Mexican-American War of 1846, driving large flocks of sheep to California where gold rush prices made him wealthy, becoming a Federal Indian agent for Northern NM, and playing a prominent and memorable role in the Civil War in NM ending with the “Long Walk” of 8000 Navajos from Arizona to Fort Sumner, NM in 1864.

He is buried near his old home in Taos.


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Enshrined in popular mythology even in his own lifetime, Kit Carson was a trapper, scout, Indian agent, soldier and authentic legend of the West. His service with John C. Fremont, celebrated in Fremont's widely-read reports of his expeditions, made Kit Carson a national hero, presented in popular fiction as a rugged mountain man capable of superhuman feats.

 

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