'Dear Old Kit'': The Historical Christopher Carson by Harvey Lewis, Carter

By Harvey Lewis, Carter

The determine of apparatus Carson strides in the course of the literature of the yank West in heroic measurement. dealer, trapper, scout, brigadier normal of recent Mexico Volunteers, and plenty of different issues along with, he has appealed to the general public mind's eye as no different frontiersman has. Many biographies and who types of his “autobiography” were released. but a lot of the legend nonetheless continues to be separated from the proof, proclaims the writer of this new biography.“I am an admirer of Carson,” says Mr. Carter, “and haven't any want intentionally to debunk him, yet i'm drawn to correcting the statements of uncritical hero worship many by means of many writers.”Kit is authorized to talk for himself, so far as attainable, via a precise transcription of his dictated recollections made of the manuscript within the Newberry Library, Chicago. individuals and locations are truly pointed out, and Kit’s slips of reminiscence are corrected within the definitive annotation of his account. 100 years of hypothesis concerning the identification of the fellow who transcribed Carson’s tale is ended. Mr. Carter has proven confident id, in response to conscientiously assembled proof. a brand new overview of Kit’s personality and recognition is integrated, in addition to an annotated account of the final years of his lifestyles.

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Extra resources for 'Dear Old Kit'': The Historical Christopher Carson

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He is an Indian fighter, of course, killing redskins, whom he calls "critters" and "varmints," by the dozen, and he is also said to be the discoverer of gold in California and a successful defender of his riches against the evil intent of would-be despoilers. It is easy to see that this fictional Carson, although doubtless inspired by the real Carson of Frémont's Reports, was a vastly different person both in physical appearance and in achievements. Carson had no connection with the discovery of gold other than bearing the earliest announce- 4 This short sketch was reprinted in the Supplement to the Connecticut Courant (Hartford, July 3, 1847), and from this source it is reproduced in Appendix B in order to facilitate comparison with Carson's memoirs of 1856.

F. C. [Edward S. Ellis] The Fighting Trapper or Kit Carson to the Rescue (Beadle's Dime Library No. 68) (New York, 1879). Page 17 fact and fiction he did not combine them or attempt to pass the fiction off as fact. In 1889 a new edition of the Ellis biography of Carson appeared which contained letters that he had solicited from General Rusling and General Sherman, telling of their acquaintance with Carson. This was his sole contribution to any real knowledge of Carson. C. Abbott was a prolific writer of biographies ranging from ancient to modern history, some of them in collaboration with his brother, Jacob Abbott, the author of the Rollo books.

Lewis Hector Garrard read them, at a younger age than Parkman, and was impelled to go at once to the West. His Wah-to-yah and the Taos Trail was the result. Brigham Young read them and led his Mormon followers to Salt Lake. Farmers read them, sold their farms, and began the long journey by wagon to the Willamette Valley. That was not all. 2 How many thousands of copies were sold is impossible of estimate, but they were on the best-seller list until the outbreak of the Civil War. Frémont was deliberately advancing his own career by this well-chosen means.

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