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Title Autobiography [manuscript]: Taos, New Mexico, 1856
Author Carson, Kit (1809-1868)
Document Type Manuscript
Description From the Newberry Library Catalogue: Kit Carson, handicapped by illiteracy, dictated his brief autobiography to John Mostin in 1856. In the concluding paragraph of the manuscript, Carson states "the foregoing I hereby transfer to Mr. Jesse B. Turley to be used as he may deem proper for our joint benefit." In 1858 the manuscript was transferred to Dr. De Witt C. Peters who had become acquainted with Carson while serving as an army surgeon in the southwest during the mid-1850’s. Peters used the manuscript as the basis for his published work, The Life and Adventures of Kit Carson (New York: Clark, 1858), a greatly embellished version of the autobiography.
Names Mostin, John; Turley, Jesse B.; Peters, Dr, De Witt C.
Places Kentucky, Missouri, Taos, New Mexico, United States
Keywords pioneer, exploration, frontier, frontiersman, Mexican American War (1846-1848), Indian War, expedition, scout, travel, travelogue, Indian Agent, fur trader, fur trade, fur trapping, essay, biography, personal account
Theme Military Encounters: Conflicts, Rebellions and Alliances; Trade and Indian Economies; Observation, Representation and Cultural Encounters
Culture Area Southwest
Additional Information

Frontiersman, scout, and Indian agent, Christopher Houston Carson, commonly known as Kit Carson, established his home in Taos, New Mexico in the mid-1830’s. Following years of fur trapping, guiding Fremont’s expeditions, and fighting in Indian battles, Carson was appointed U.S. Indian Agent in 1854 for the northern area of the New Mexico Territory. With his home and office in Taos, Carson served in that capacity until 1861. It was during that period that he dictated his life story relating his adventurous years on the plains and in the mountains.

Newberry Library Notes: Published as: Kit Carson’s own story of his life / as dictated to Col. and Mrs. D.C. Peters about 1856-57, and never before published; edited by Blanche C. Grant. Taos, New Mexico.: [s.n.], 1926; and: Kit Carson’s autobiography / edited by Milo Milton Quaife. Chicago: R.R. Donnelley & Sons Co., 1935. Signed: C. Carson.

Library The Newberry Library
Copyright The Newberry Library
Collection The Edward E. Ayer Collection
Reference VAULT Ayer MS 139
Catalogue Link The Newberry Library Catalogue