Essay on Kit Carson

Submitted By derricktate
Words: 1434
Pages: 6

The Life and Travels of Kit Carson
American Frontier VC
Derrick Tate

Kit Carson was a trapper, explorer, scout and American soldier. He is one of the explorers that aided in the expansion of the west. Carson loved the outdoors and was an avid fisherman and hunter at an early age. His interests had a lot to do with his future as an explorer. As one of the most famous mountain men during the Westward movement, Carson has had several landmarks, cities, and areas named after him like Carson City, Nevada and the Carson River (Sanford & Green). He helped pave the way for what we consider a large part of the United States today; the west. Kit Carson’s full name was Christopher Carson. He was born in Madison County, Kentucky, on December 24, 1809. He followed in his father’s footsteps by fighting for the United States in war (Sanford and Green). At a young age, Carson moved with his family to Howard County, Missouri. Because he was forced to take care of his family at a young age due to his father’s untimely death, Kit was unable to ever receive an education (PBS Interactive). At the age of fourteen he worked as an apprentice to a saddle and harness maker. However, he soon became restless and after about a year or two he joined a wagon train heading west on which is known as the Santa Fe Train in 1826 (Weiser). Carson was not fond of the work he did in the west. He married three different times. The first marriage ending when his wife passed away from illness and his second marriage ended in divorce. He would marry Josefa Jaramillo in Taos Arizona in 1843; who passed away from illness ten days after giving birth to their fourth daughter (Sanford & Green). After working as a cook, a miner and a wagon driver, he decided to join a man named in 1829 Ewing Young on a trapping expedition. A year before this, Carson began using Taos, New Mexico, as a base camp for many fur-trapping expeditions throughout the mountains of the West. These expeditions went from California’s Sierra Nevada Mountains to the Rocky Mountains. This was the initial start of his life as an explorer. He continued to using Taos as his base camp until 1840 (Wheeler). One of the more famous stories of Carson’s life was of a duel that took place between himself and another man because Carson’s first wife had chosen Carson over another man, Joseph Chouinard. Chouinard was known as the “Bully of the Mountains.” The duel took place at a mountain man rendezvous that was held annually at a different location. The irony of the duel that gained Carson so much respect was that Carson luckily escaped a bullet that would have killed him and he also merely shot Chouinard’s thumb off. There are various legends about what actually happened to Chouinard, but the story gained Carson much fame and respect among mountain men (Sides). In 1831, Carson went to New Mexico, where he joined up with the experienced trapper, Thomas Fitzpatrick. With Fitzpatrick’s men, Carson headed up north into the rugged central Rocky Mountains. For the next ten years, Carson worked as a trapper all over western America in what is today known as Utah, Colorado, Wyoming, Idaho, and Montana. During this time spent in the wilderness of North America, Caron learned everything he needed to know in order to become a respected guide. Around 1840, Carson was employed as hunter for the garrison at Bent’s Fort, Colorado, soon becoming its chief hunter (Weiser). With his vast knowledge as a guide, in 1942, Carson was approached by John C. Fremont to be a guide for the Army to survey a path to Oregon along the Oregon Trail. Fremont was given the assignment of exploring the West and decided Carson would be a great help. This expedition would be critical in providing a more accurate map for settlers moving west. They would successful complete the journey with twenty-five men in five months. Carson, Fremont, and the other mens’ travels and findings were documented