Kit Carson Home & Museum

Step Back Into The 1850s at Taos' Oldest Museum

Timeline of Kit Carson's Life
By Bro Tracy McCallum, 2010

Born in Madison County Kentucky, the 9th of 14 children. Family moves to Boone's Lick, Franklin County, Missouri soon after.

Apprenticed to a Saddle Maker in St. Louis, Missouri.


Joined a wagon train heading west on the Santa Fe Trail. Arriving in Taos, found William Wolfskill, a family friend from Missouri, and winterered with him. With the help of Wolfskill, he hired on as an errand boy, harness repairman and cook with Ewing Young and then hired on as a wagon train drover to Mexico and back.

Hired as a trapper on an expedition to California. Spent next 12 years as a trapper & mountain man, using Taos as a base camp.

Married Wa-Ni-Be, an Arapaho woman, and fathered two children with her. She died of childbirth complications after the 2nd delivery.

Moved to Bent's Fort in Colorado, was a hunter for the fort.

Youngest daughter dies, he marries Making-Out Road, a Cheyenne woman. Marriage ends in divorce. Takes his older daughter Adeline, daughter of Wa Ni Beh, to St. Louis to be raised by his sister and attend Catholic school.

On the return trip to Taos, meets John Charles Fremont, explorer. Meets Josefa Jaramillo and marries her. Purchases 3-room home (now Kit Carson House/Museum). Makes several expeditions with Fremont over the next several years.

Mexican-American war breaks out. Leads General Kearney and his troops from Socorro NM to San Diego. At end of war, settles down to ranching in Taos.

Oldest daughter Adeline returns from St. Louis to join new family.

Carson & Lucien Maxwell drive a large flock of sheep to California. He and Josefa ransom 3 captive Navajo children & raise them as part of their family.

Becomes a Freemason. Initiated, Passed and Raised a member of Montezuma Lodge 109 in Santa Fe

Becomes Federal agent to the Ute & Taos Pueblo tribes.

Petitions for a Charter to establish Masonic Lodge in Taos with Ceran St. Vrain, Ferdinand Maxwell, Peter Joseph and John C. Francisco. Charter was granted on June 1, 1860 to Bent Lodge 204.

Organizes New Mexico volunteer brigade in Civil War mobilization. Sees action at Valverde and Glorietta Pass.

Campaigns against the Navajo, forcing them into surrender. Refuses a direct order to march them to Fort Sumner. Tenders his resignation in the New Mexico Volunteer Militia, which is refused by General Carlton. Carlton threatens to replace Carson with Colonel John Chivington.

Commissioned as Brigadier General.

Expands ranching business to Colorado, takes command of Fort Garland.

Ill health forces him to resign from Army.


Moves to Boggsville, Colorado with family. Josefa dies of childbirth complications, and Carson dies one month later of aortic aneurism. Children raised and educated by his brother-in-law Thomas Boggs.

Bodies of Carson & Josefa moved to Taos, NM and interred near their Taos home. Graves are located in Kit Carson Park, Taos.


(575) 758-4945 • email the Museum
113 Kit Carson Road - Taos, New Mexico 87571