Kit Carson and the ‘Americanization’ of New Mexico

Document Type

Contribution to Books

Publication Date



Dateline: Fort Lyon, Colorado Territory, May 1868

Kit Carson, the mountain man, "Indian scout", soldier, guide, and Freemason, lay dying at the age of fifty-nine. He reclined on a simple bed made of a blanket and a buffalo robe spread on the floor of his doctor's quarters at the Fort Lyon hospital, close by the banks of the Arkansas River near the mouth of the Purgatory River. Ever since 1860, when his horse lost its footing on a steep slope and dragged him for some distance, Carson had suffered discomfort from an aneurysm--a damaged blood vessel above his heart. Over time the swollen aneurysm became a painful obstruction in his upper chest that caused frequent coughing and made breathing difficult.

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