Pathfinders — Kit Carson

Cimarron Legacy Facebook2Kit Carson, the true Pathfinder

Kit Carson was born 1809, and headed west for the first time at age 19 when he ran away from an apprenticeship as a saddlemaker. He followed the Santa Fe trail west until he got to Taos, New Mexico and,    tkit-carson-olderhough he traveled far and wide, Taos would always be his home.

Kit Carson’s explorations, unlike many other pathfinders, were well documented because he became a guide to John C. Fremont who led expeditions to map the Oregon Trail before it was widely used, then the California Trail, which split off from the Oregon Trail and led to Sacramento and San Francisco.

No wild tall tales for Carson…except he became famous in Dime Novels, the first one written in 1867, and those were rife with exaggeration, even Carson, an illiterate man all his life, was told what had been written about him, declared them full of lies.

He couldn’t read but he spoke Spanish and several Indian languages. He was a fur trapper, a mountain man, and Indian fighter, and a Pathfinder for the army. He was the man who truly had the nickname, The Pathfinder.

In 1842 his name attached to the John C Fremont expedition to map the Oregon Trail spurred a huge westward migration. In the most heavily traveled years, some 400,000 men, women and children passed along the Oregon, California, Mormon and Bozeman trail…which all began as the Oregon Trail then branched off.

kit-carson-beaver-hatA 2nd Fremont Expedition to map the Oregon Trail also veered off to The Great Salt Lake and followed what would be the California Trail. They were bogged down by bad weather in the Sierra Nevada Mountains. Fremont gave Kit Carson credit for saving them with his pathfinding skills and good judgment.

He began as an Indian fighter but through the years he softened his opinions of Native people and became an advocate for humane treatment. He served as an Indian Agent for years and was noted as a just and fair man who treated the Indians with dignity.

He fought in the Mexican-American War and the Civil War. His presence during the greatest events of the 19th Century made his life story the story of a nation.


I have two books releasing next month.

I’ll have all the juicy details then.

But for now be on the look out for my novellas in collections called:

Cowboy Christmas Homecoming Netty Lewis can take care of herself, has for a while now. Some hired help over the holidays doesn’t change that. And even if Roy does take care of her, that doesn’t mean he cares for her or that he’ll stay past Christmas.


Room at the Inn for Christmas

Amanda Star’s father always wanted her to come into the family business, and run the majestic old Star Inn with him but she had bigger plans. She’s a high-powered executive in the multi-national Halston hotel chain. One more promotion—which she expects to get by Christmas—will make her the youngest vice president in Halston history and she’s got her sights set on the CEO job.

Then she inherits the Star Inn. With no time to be away from her job, she impatiently rushes home to list the beautiful old bed and breakfast for sale. Now that she’s here she’s swamped with sweet memories and keen regret…and a sweet reunion with old classmate Anthony Carter.

Suddenly her future isn’t so clear cut.


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Author of Romantic Comedy...with Cowboys including the bestselling Kincaid Brides Series

20 thoughts on “Pathfinders — Kit Carson”

  1. These sound like they will be two good Christmas stories. I always look forward to the holiday books. There is just something special about that time of the year.
    Many, many years ago we stopped at an historic site/park related to Kit Carson. I believe it was in New Mexico. All I really remember of it was they had a small blacksmith shop/demonstration in an adobe building. I know his treatment of native americans has been questioned over the years, especially related to the Long Walk to relocate 3,000 Navajo 300 miles during the winter under harsh conditions. It is estimated over 200 died from the cold and starvation.

    • The two books were so fun, because, one of them Room at the Inn for Christmas is CONTEMPORARY! You know how fun it is for me, a historical author, to include a car and a CELL PHONE???? LOL

      The the other Longhorn Christmas in Cowboy Christmas Homecoming, that’s just like a homecoming for me. Back to that style and voice I enjoy so much…in fact enjoy MORE because I wrote something different.

    • I consider this old Pathfinders to be so fascinating. Think of the courage it took to wade into the Rocky Mountains and find a way through. Think of the times you’d come to a cliff or an unfordable stream, and have to turn back, maybe back track for days or weeks.
      Following trails left by animals, following Indian lore or your own instincts. Trial and error, years of it. And they did it. They never gave up. What kind of men were they?
      The independent, the borderline crazy, wild men, mountain men.

      I love that spirit.

    • Many of the dime novel stories were wild exaggerations, but the stories Kit Carson told himself were true. He was NOT a man given to lies and in fact resented that.

      Also he traveled so much with formal expeditions that his work…the true work he did…is very well documented

  2. Thanks, Mary! Kit Carson was rather a founding father of the West, wasn’t he?

    I remember reading books about a bunch of important people in our nation’s history when I was in elementary school (which went to 8th grade back then before middle schools). Our school library had a wonderful collection of Landmark Books that I always headed right to. Have you heard about them at all? They were published for a couple of decades starting in the 1950s by Random House for kids about 10-15. I definitely remember reading about Paul Revere and Molly Pitcher but forget the titles of many others I ate up. Kit Carson must have been one though.

    “The series included writers such as Sterling North, Pearl S. Buck, John Gunther, Quentin Reynolds, Van Wyck Mason and C.S. Forrester.” They were gems and I’ve collected some over the years. Now I have to see if I have a copy of Kit Carson!

    Thank you again for such an interesting post!

    • I just remembered, there was an early western TV Show about Kit Carson—

      “The Adventures of Kit Carson is an American Western series that aired in syndication from August 1951 to November 1955, originally sponsored by Coca-Cola. It stars Bill Williams in the title role as frontier scout Christopher “Kit” Carson. Don Diamond co-starred as “El Toro”, Carson’s Mexican companion…. The Adventures of Kit Carson was intended for children, and presents a fictionalized version of Carson and his life. In the series, Kit Carson roamed the West with his companion El Toro, seeking to help those in need. Kit rode a horse named Apache.”

      • Yeah!!! I must have watched it sometime back then even though it started the year before I went to kindergarten because I remembered the actor’s name was Bill Williams, and I thought he was blond and good looking at the time. The hero!!

        Please, please, let me know me what you think once you watch it. The film quality’s not likely to be great, and I read the Mexican sidekick El Toro sometimes played his role for comedy.

        Thank you, thank you for finding that!!! (Can you tell I grew up with TV westerns? Cheyenne was and still is my all-time favorite, though, and I confess that I have that show on DVDs now. 🙂 )

  3. Mary- Kit Carson is a person I never knew very much about. Thanks to your post I now believe that he was a honest man to all & the native americans. Some history books didn’t paint that picture of him. Your two new books sound great. Who doesn’t love those cowboys & who says you can never go home. Will add to my TBR list.

  4. Very interesting information, Mary. My husband & I spent some time today with a 90 year old full blooded Powhatan woman. What a rich history lesson it is to spend time with her. I hope she will record her history. We find it an amazing story. Much different from Kit Carson’s but, very interesting.

    Looking forward to reading you new books.

  5. Enjoyed reading the comments about Kit Carson. I grew up in Southeastern Colorado about 20 miles from the old Bent’s Fort where Kit traded with the Indians and was well known in those parts. My Grandfather’s ranch was about 3 miles from Boggsville, CO where Kit spent his last years on the old Boggs ranch. He died at Fort Lyon, Co which I have visited many times. My Uncle worked there after the war helping the veterans with their medical problems.

    My little town had many streets named after all of those early settlers-St Vrain Street, Bent Street, Carson Drive.
    I always heard my Grandfather talk about the history of the area and old timers that knew of Carson
    I have visited his original house in Taos, NM

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