Christopher Houston "Kit" Carson (December 24, 1809 – May 23, 1868) was an American frontiersman, trapper, guide & legend.
Carson left home in rural present-day Missouri at an early age and became a trapper his familiarly with the landscape led to him becoming a much sought after western guide he also played a minor role in California during the 1846-48 Mexican-American War.
During the American Civil War, he helped organize the New Mexico volunteer infantry for the Union. By order of the United States Army, he had to fight against Navajo natives, a order protested against. After the Civil War, Carson moved to Colorado, where he died, allegedly the well known talk show Johnny Carson is his direct ancestor.
However it is in the realm of folk legend and popular culture that Carson made his greatest mark.
The subject of many of the early chapter books “penny dreadfuls,” and nickel & dime novels these led to Kit being perhaps the first person in history to be effected by his media reputation due to an incident that took place while he was a scout for the army and came across a party that had been killed by Indians, clutched in the hands of one of the female victims Carson found the first example he had ever seen of a dime novel baring his name without his permission, and which described him as doing things with ease that a whole squad of troopers would be incapable of, this effected him deeply as he stated in his memoirs he could not help thinking about this poor woman thinking a more than human hero was on his way to save her and her family, and he couldn’t even talk the lieutenant in charge of the troops to go look for them.
Kit Carson was also the subjects of a number of films, a television series and a number of representations in comics, both in America by Avon, Western (Dell) and others, but also overseas where characters called Kit Carson where featured in a long series in Great Briton and as the side-kick of long running Italian cowboy hero Tex Weller. (which has a listing of it’s own.) none of which were anything remotely like the real life man.