Christopher Houston "Kit" Carson

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Christopher Houston "Kit" Carson

Also Known As: "Kit Carson", "Kit"
Birthplace: Madison County, Kentucky, United States
Death: May 23, 1868 (58)
Fort Lyon, Bent County, Colorado Territory, United States (Carson died at age 58 from an aortic aneurysm)
Place of Burial: Taos, Taos County, New Mexico, United States
Immediate Family:

Son of Lindsay Carson and Rebecca Carson
Husband of Singing Grass; Making-Out-Road Carson and María Josefa Carson
Father of Adeline Prairie Flower Stilts; Infant Carson; Elisabeth S. Hill; Charles Bent Carson; Carlos Adolfo Carson and 6 others
Brother of Elizabeth Cooper; Nancy Briggs; Robert Carson; Matilda C. Adams; Hamilton Carson and 5 others
Half brother of William Carson; Sarah Scroggs; Andrew Carson; Sophie Carson and Moses Bradley Carson

Occupation: American Frontiersman, trapper, guide
Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:

About Christopher Houston "Kit" Carson


Kit Carson was an American frontiersman. He was eight years old when his father was killed by a falling tree while clearing land. Lindsey Carson's death reduced the Carson family to a desperate poverty, forcing young Kit to drop out of school to work on the family farm, as well as engage in hunting. At age 14, Kit was apprenticed to a saddlemaker (Workman's Saddleshop) in the settlement of Franklin, Missouri. Franklin was situated at the eastern end of the Santa Fe Trail, which had opened two years earlier. Many of the clientele at the saddleshop were trappers and traders, from whom Kit would hear their stirring tales of the Far West. Carson is reported to have found work in the saddle shop suffocating: he once stated "the business did not suit me, and I concluded to leave".

At sixteen, Carson secretly signed on with a large merchant caravan heading to Santa Fe; his job was to tend the horses, mules, and oxen. During the winter of 1826-1827 he stayed with Matthew Kinkead, a trapper and explorer, in Taos, New Mexico, then known as the capital of the fur trade in the Southwest. Kinkead had been a friend of Carson's father in Missouri, and he taught Carson the skills of a trapper. Carson also began learning the necessary languages and became fluent in Spanish, Navajo, Apache, Cheyenne, Arapaho, Paiute, Shoshone, and Ute.

He was a guide to the settlers along the Oregon Trail with John C Fremont. Kit Carson was a lieutenant in Fremont's California Battalion during the Mexican American War. He also fought in the Civil War with the New Mexico Volunteers Infantry on the side of the Union.

Albert Richardson, who knew him personally in the 1850s, wrote that Kit Carson was "a gentleman by instinct, upright, pure, and simple-hearted, beloved alike by Indians, Mexicans, and Americans".

When the Civil War ended, and with the Indian campaigns successfully concluded, Carson left the army and took up ranching, finally settling in Boggsville, Colorado (near the current Las Animas on the Purgatory River).

Carson died at age 58 from an aortic aneurysm in the surgeon's quarters in Fort Lyon, Colorado, located east of Las Animas. He is buried in Taos, New Mexico, alongside his wife, Josefa ("Josephine"), who died a month earlier of complications following child birth. His headstone inscription reads: "Kit Carson / Died May 23, 1868 / Aged 59 Years

Christopher Houston "Kit" Carson (December 24, 1809 – May 23, 1868) was an American frontiersman. Carson left home in rural present-day Missouri at age 16 and became a trapper in the West. He gained renown for his role as John C. Fremont's guide in the American West. Carson also played a minor role in California during the 1846-1848 Mexican-American War.

Freemason: Montezuma Lodge No. 109, Sante Fe, New Mexico

When his dad died at age 8, he had to quit school to work on farm. Was illiterate. 11th of 15 children (of Lindsay's, not all same mom), Rebecca's 6th child of 10.

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Christopher Houston "Kit" Carson's Timeline

December 24, 1809
Madison County, Kentucky, United States
Provincia de Nuevo México, Reino de Nueva España
May 1, 1849
Taos, New Mexico Territory, United States
May 6, 1850
Taos, Taos County, New Mexico Territory, United States
Age 40
Northern Division, Taos, New Mexico Territory
October 1, 1852
Taos, Taos County, New Mexico Territory, United States