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Christopher "Kit" Carson

He was Among the Most Skillful, Knowledgeable U. S. Frontiersmen

Few men have led such a turbulent adventurous life as Christopher “Kit” Carson. For more than a dozen years he lived in the West fighting horse and fur thieves, hostile Indians, trappers and renegades. ■ He fought in the Mexican War and served as adviser and guide to Lt. John Fremont on his first two expeditions to the West. ■ Kit Carson was born on Christmas Eve, 1809, in Madison County, Kentucky. He was the sixth of Lindsey Carson's ten children. The family originated in Dumfries, from where Kit's grandfather, Alexander, a Presbyterian minister, moved to Ulster before emigrating to North Carolina about 1720. ■ The Carsons were well-suited to the frontier environment. They had been fighters, preachers, and adventurers for generations in their native Scotland. Alexander's five sons pushed on further west. Son Lindsey moved on to Kentucky where Kit was born. ■ Kit grew up in an environment menaced by Indians. The family moved into Missouri and more Indian fighting. Kit's mother wanted him to be a lawyer, but his father was killed in an accident, so he became a saddler's apprentice. ■ He listened to tales of hunters and trappers who came to the saddlery and decided that was the life for him. From then on his life was a continuous adventure that constantly called on his natural stamina and resourcefulness in a rugged land where there was no law. As a result, he gained a reputation as the most resourceful frontiersman in America and was sought out by many crossing the Rockies. ■ In his later years he served as a brevet brigadier general in charge of Fort Garland in Colorado, on March 23, 1868, a legend of the American West.


Wayne Rethford, President Emeritus
Illinois Saint Andrew Society
Scottish-American History Club
2800 Des Plaines Avenue
North Riverside, IL 60546