CARSON, "KIT" (1809-1868). In the same way that Daniel Boone was the explorer and frontiersman connected with the opening of Kentucky to the white men, so Christopher Carson, popularly known as " Kit" Carson, was the most famous guide and trapper in the great region west of the Mississippi River. He was born in the sparsely settled state of Kentucky, but while he was still an infant his family moved farther west to Missouri. His father wished him to learn a trade, and so apprenticed him to a sad dler; but the life of a hunter appealed to Carson, and for many years he made his living by hunting and trapping.
When John C. Fremont in 1842 started on his explorations of the great western plains, Kit Carson accompanied him as guide, and during the Mexican War he served with Fremont in California. Other trips across the country were made in 1849 and '50, when he convoyed the gold-seekers to the Pacific coast and protected them against the Indians. On one trip he drove 6,500 sheep across the plains.
Carson always exercised a tremendous influence over the Indians, and after his appointment as Indian agent at Taos, N. M., in 1854, he frequently kept warlike Apaches from massacring the whites.
During the Civil War Carson rendered valuable services on the frontier by acting as chief scout of the irregular troops who were carrying on a border war f are in that part of the Union. For his services he was made brigadier-general of volunteers in 1865, and was reappointed Indian agent at the close of the war.
Carson City, the capital of Nevada, was named in his honor.