Kit Carson: Mountain Man & Scout

Kit Carson: A Legend in His Own Time

Kit CarsonKit Carson was a different sort of man. He was a small man, but a man of immense courage and valor. He traversed the continent of the Old West when it was young. He was a trapper, one of the early breed of “mountain men,” who roamed the deserts and mountains, trapping and evading the ever-present element within various Indian tribes that were unfriendly enough to kill trappers foolish enough to venture into their territory.

Kit Carson was said to have earned the respect of virtually every man he ever met. Those who traveled with him for months and even years, later would write glowing letters about the man that praised his courage, or lifted him up on a pedestal as some kind of bigger-than-life figure who surmounted all obstacles.

One man, a sergeant who’d been properly impressed by Kit Carson while in California after Carson had walked barefooted to mount a rescue of a troop headed by General Stephen Kearny for which Carson was the guide, wrote to his parents back east in Connecticut: “Never has there been a man like Kit Carson. All that has been said about him, and more, is true. He is as fearless as the lion, as stealthy as the panther, as strong as the oxen. I believe that Carson would attack a fort filled with Mexicans single-handed and drive them off.”

Kit Carson’s Skills

Carson possessed skills that were not only unusual, but of absolute necessity for those who are going to venture into the wilds of the western frontiers. Moreover, where some men might possess some skills, they were not often highly skilled, and might only excel in one or two. Carson was the exception. He was a marksman. Carson understood where and how to set up a camp to make that camp as safe as possible. He slept light. He could set up camp in minutes and take it down in less time. The man could cook, was a gunsmith of passing respect, knew everything there was to know about hunting and tracking, and could locate water from places where other men would have passed on, and died of thirst. He knew how to keep a horse healthy, and what to do if one foundered. He’d met grizzlies on the trail, been hunted by Indians, and hunted them. He was good at making hitches, smoke signals, clothing, shoes, and repairing all of those essentials in the wilderness. Kit Carson, by 1845, was a legend.

Kit Carson traveled with legendary mountain men

[ReviewAZON asin=”1400031109″ display=”inlinepost”]Kit Carson traveled with men whose names would later become legend, in the Old West. He was the primary guide to John Fremont and trapped with men like Bill Williams, Jim Bridger, John Colter, and the famous Jedediah Smith. Carson would later be instrumental in defeating the Navahos in New Mexico, who were marauding and killing almost with impunity, and refused to comply with the new white landlords (American) to surrender their land and their independence. Later, in 1864, Kit Carson would be involved in the famous Battle of Adobe Walls, where is small band of men battled over 1500 Cheyenne, Kiowa and Comanche warriors.

Carson ended his career in Colorado, after getting out of the army and becoming a rancher. While there, he learned of the massacre at Sand Creek by John Chivington and was outraged, openly denouncing the man and his actions. Kit Carson died at age 58, in 1868, from an aortic aneurysm in the abdomen. His wife Josefa had died just a month earlier following complications after childbirth. She delivered 8 children to Carson during their long years together.

Kit Carson, whose roots were in New Mexico and who spoke fluent Spanish, spoke his last words to a few friends who’d gathered, which were were: “Adios Compadres.”

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