Carson, Kit

Carson, Kit
orig. Christopher Carson

born Dec. 24, 1809, Madison county, Ky., U.S.
died May 23, 1868, Fort Lyon, Colo.

U.S. frontiersman, scout, and Indian agent.

Raised in Missouri, he ran away from home at age 15 to become a trapper and trader in the Southwest. In the early 1840s he served as a guide to John C. Frémont's explorations of the West. He guided Gen. Stephen Kearny's expedition to California during the Mexican War, often carrying dispatches to Washington, D.C. In 1854 he was appointed Indian agent (an official representative of the U.S. government to Indian tribes) at Taos, N.M. During the American Civil War he commanded the 1st New Mexico Volunteers. In 1868 he was appointed superintendent of Indian affairs for the Colorado Territory. His contributions to westward expansion made him a folk hero.

Kit Carson

By courtesy of the Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.

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▪ American frontiersman
byname of  Christopher Houston Carson  
born Dec. 24, 1809, Madison County, Ky., U.S.
died May 23, 1868, Ft. Lyon, Colo.
 American frontiersman, trapper, soldier, and Indian agent who made an important contribution to the westward expansion of the United States. His career as an Indian fighter earned him both folk hero status through its aggrandizement in the dime novels of his day and condemnation from some later revisionist historians as an agent of the displacement and decimation of the native peoples of the West.

      At 15 Carson ran away from his home in Missouri to join a caravan of traders bound for Santa Fe. From experienced frontiersmen he learned fur trapping and trading, a career he pursued for 15 years.

      A chance encounter in 1842 with the explorer John C. Frémont (Frémont, John C) made Carson an active participant in the clash of empires that eventually extended the boundaries of the continental United States to its present size (Alaska excluded). He served as a guide to Frémont's government-financed explorations of the West in 1842 and 1843–44, and he was with him in California at the conclusion of the third expedition in 1846, when Frémont provoked the uprising generally known as the Bear Flag Revolt. En route to Washington, D.C., carrying dispatches from Frémont, Carson met Gen. Stephen W. Kearny, who pressed him into service as a guide for his command headed for California with presidential orders to take over the region for the United States. From then until the end of the war with Mexico (1848), Carson alternated fighting and guiding with dispatch-bearing to Washington, where his reputation for bravery, loyalty, and devotion to duty won for him many friends in high office.

      In 1854 Carson, who had been married to an Arapaho woman and a Cheyenne woman, became a reputedly sympathetic Indian agent at Taos for the Ute. But by 1861 he was back in the field to serve the cause of the Union in the U.S. Civil War in the Southwest, becoming Colonel Carson of the 1st New Mexico Volunteers. In 1863 he received orders to subdue the Navajo, who were fighting for control of their traditional lands. Aided by the Navajo's enemies, including the Ute, Hopi, and Zuni, Carson oversaw the widespread destruction of the tribe's homes, crops, and livestock. The Navajo surrendered in 1864, and Carson subsequently ordered some 8,000 Navajo on a 300-mile (480-km) forced march, known as the Long Walk, to Bosque Redondo, a piece of land south of Sante Fe in New Mexico Territory ill-suited to the agriculture the Navajo had practiced in their native Canyon de Chelly. Carson's last major battle occurred at Adobe Walls, a trading post in the Texas Panhandle, in November 1864. He led a force of some 300 volunteers to a draw against several thousand Kiowa and Comanche before ordering a withdrawal. In January 1868 he was appointed superintendent of Indian affairs for Colorado Territory, a position he held at the time of his death.

      Carson's name is preserved variously throughout the Southwest, including Nevada's capital at Carson City; Ft. Carson, Colo.; and Carson Pass in California.

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Universalium. 2010.

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • Carson, Kit — orig. Christopher Carson (24 dic. 1809, Madison County, Ky., EE.UU.–23 may. 1868, Fort Lyon, Col.). Colonizador, explorador y agente indígena estadounidense. Criado en Missouri, cuando tenía 15 años huyó de su hogar para ser cazador de pieles y… …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Carson, Kit — soprannome di Carson, Christopher …   Sinonimi e Contrari. Terza edizione

  • CARSON, KIT —    American trapper, born in Kentucky; was of service to the States in expeditions in Indian territories from his knowledge of the habits of the Indians (1809 1878) …   The Nuttall Encyclopaedia

  • Kit Carson — Kit Carson. Kit Carson (né Christopher Houston Carson le 24 décembre 1809 – 23 mai 1868) est un pionnier de la Conquête de l Ouest américain. Orphelin de père à 7 ans, il travaille à la ferme familiale puis dans une sellerie,… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Kit Carson — Kit Carson. Kit Carson, originalmente Christopher Carson (24 de diciembre de 1809, condado de Madison (Kentucky)|, Kentucky 23 de mayo de 1868, Fort Lyon, Colorado) fue un explorador, agente indígena y residente fronterizo estadounidense. Criado… …   Wikipedia Español

  • Carson (surname) — Carson is a surname, and may refer to:Real persons*Adam Carson, Drummer for the band AFI *Andre Carson, U.S. Congressman *Anne Carson, Canadian writer *Ben Carson, American neurosurgeon *Ciarán Carson, Northern Ireland poet and novelist *David… …   Wikipedia

  • Kit Carson — This article is about the frontiersman. For other uses, see Kit Carson (disambiguation). Christopher Houston Kit Carson …   Wikipedia

  • Kit Carson County, Colorado — Infobox U.S. County county = Kit Carson County state = Colorado founded year = 1889 founded date = April 11 seat wl = Burlington largest city wl = Burlington area total sq mi = 2162 area total km2 = 5598 area land sq mi = 2161 area land km2 =… …   Wikipedia

  • Kit Carson County — Verwaltung US Bundesstaat: Colorado Verwaltungssitz: Burlington Gründung: 1889 Demographie Einwohner: 8011 & …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Kit Carson — noun United States frontiersman who guided Fremont s expeditions in the 1840s and served as a Union general in the American Civil War (1809 1868) • Syn: ↑Carson, ↑Christopher Carson • Instance Hypernyms: ↑frontiersman, ↑backwoodsman, ↑mountain… …   Useful english dictionary

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