Carson, Kit (for Christopher) (1809–1868), a United States trapper, guide, Indian agent, and soldier of the Western frontier. Noted for his courage and integrity, he was one of the most famous and competent of the frontier guides of the Old West. Carson was born in Madison County, Kentucky. At 14 he ran away to join an expedition to Santa Fe. For the next 13 years, he was a fur trapper in the Southwest.
In 1842 Carson met Lt. John Charles Frémont. Carson became a guide to Frémont's three scientific and exploring expeditions. During the Mexican War, he was a soldier and courier under Fremont and General Stephen W. Kearny in the conquest of California. Frémont's official reports had made Carson so popular that President Polk appointed him a lieutenant in the Regiment of Mounted Riflemen. However, Fremont had political enemies in the U.S. Senate, and they blocked confirmation of the appointment.
From 1853 until the Civil War, Carson was an Indian agent in charge of two bands of Utes in New Mexico. Shortly after the war began, he was appointed a colonel of New Mexico Volunteers. He led successful campaigns against the Mescalero Apaches and the Navajos and participated in campaigns against the Indians of the Southern plains. Carson's soldiers taught him to read and write. By the time ill health forced him to resign in 1867, Carson held the rank of brevet brigadier general. In 1868 he went to Washington to lobby on behalf of the Utes, but died soon after.