Christopher "Kit" Carson

Historical Marker #79 in Richmond, Kentucky, notes the birthplace of famed western scout and soldier Christopher "Kit" Carson.

Carson was born in Madison County, Kentucky, near Richmond, in 1809. His father, a Revolutionary War veteran, moved the family to the Bluegrass State from North Carolina. After a two-year stay in the commonwealth, they again continued westward to Missouri.

Americans continued to move westward as the country expanded, and, as a young man, Carson joined an expedition to what would become New Mexico. His adventurous spirit and seemingly endless need to explore made him a perfect fit for the expedition. He settled near Taos, where he married a Native American woman and hunted and trapped for a living. When Carson’s wife died in 1842, he returned to Missouri with their daughter. There, he met John C. Fremont, a soldier in the U.S. Army.

Carson returned west to serve in Fremont’s expeditionary force as a guide and participated in the California campaigns of the Mexican War. There, his exploits as a scout - especially in aiding General Stephen W. Kearny’s command - gained him national attention.

After the Mexican War, Carson lived in New Mexico and became an Indian Agent for the United States government. His success in working with Native Americans was due in large part to his knowledge of the region, vast experience, and honesty.

With the outbreak of the Civil War, Carson was named lieutenant colonel of the New Mexico Volunteer Infantry (US) and he helped defend the Southwest against Indian incursions. He was promoted to general late in the war and resigned from the army in 1867. Carson died a year later and was buried in Taos, New Mexico.

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