Guide to the Kit Carson Papers, 1847-1885

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Guide to the Kit Carson Papers, 1847-1885

Collection number: BANC MSS P-E 64

The Bancroft Library

University of California, Berkeley

Berkeley, California

Contact Information:

Processed by:
The Bancroft Library staff
Encoded by:
Brooke Dykman Dockter
© 1997. The Regents of the University of California. All rights reserved.. All rights reserved.

Collection Summary

Collection Title: Kit Carson Papers,
Date (inclusive): 1847-1885
Collection Number: BANC MSS P-E 64
Origination: Carson, Kit, 1809-1868
Extent: Number of containers: 3 boxes and one oversize folder Number of microfilm reels: 3
Repository: The Bancroft Library
Berkeley, California 94720-6000
Physical Location: For current information on the location of these materials, please consult the Library's online catalog.
Abstract: Correspondence, accounts and papers mainly as agent for the Ute Indians in New Mexico, 1854-1861. Some Thomas Oliver Boggs papers relating to Carson's estate included.
Languages Represented: English

Information for Researchers


Collection is open for research.

Publication Rights

Copyright has not been assigned to The Bancroft Library. All requests for permission to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the Head of Public Services. Permission for publication is given on behalf of The Bancroft Library as the owner of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which must also be obtained by the reader.

Preferred Citation

[Identification of item], Kit Carson Papers, BANC MSS P-E 64, The Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley.

Scope and Content

This collection of papers, acquired by H. H. Bancroft from Thomas Oliver Boggs, relates mainly to Carson's office as Indian Agent, containing correspondence, accounts, land bounty claims, bonds of Indian traders, some miscellaneous personal Papers, commissions and census records for the Pueblo of San Gerónimo de Taos, 1856. A few papers from Thomas Oliver Boggs relate to Carson's estate, and some miscellaneous items pertaining to Boggs are also included.


Christopher Carson, trapper, guide, Indian agent, soldier, was born in Kentucky in 1809 and soon emigrated with his family to Missouri. When 17 he joined a hunting expedition and for eight years lived as a trapper, ranging as far as California in 1829. He later was appointed hunter for Bent's Fort. When returning from a visit to his family he met John C. Frémont who hired him as guide for his explorations. Since Carson know many of the Indian tribes, their languages and their territories he proved invaluable to Frémont, actively participating in the conquest of California and in the battles for the recovery of Los Angeles. In 1847 Carson went to Washington, bearing dispatches. In 1853 he drove 6,500 sheep over the mountains into California. Upon his return he was appointed Indian Agent at Taos in New Mexico. As agent he was instrumental in bringing about treaties between the United States and the Indians. With the advent of the Civil War Carson aided in organizing the first New Mexican Volunteer Infantry and took part in the battle of Valverde in 1862. In 1865 he was brevetted brigadier general of volunteers. He died in 1868.

Box 1



Letters from Carson, mainly copies and drafts, as Indian agent, 1849-1865

Physical Description: (18 items)

Letters to Carson, A-Z (A partial list of correspondents may be found at the end of this report)

Box 2

Accounts as Indian agent, 1854-1861

Box 3

Bounty land papers


Forms to be used in applications for land

Physical Description: (5 items)

Lists of soldiers and affidavits re claims

Physical Description: (14 items)

Powers of attorney, A-Z

Physical Description: (41 items)

See also correspondence from the U.S. Pension office, Box 1


Bonds of traders, 1855-1860

Physical Description: (73 items)

Miscellaneous accounts, 1851-1866

Physical Description: (35 items)

Army accounts, 1847-1865

Physical Description: (43 items)

U.S. Army


Orders, 1847-1865

Physical Description: (9 items)



Legal papers, 1851-1861

Physical Description: (5 items)

Receipt and certificate from Freemasons of Montezuma Lodge, Santa Fe, 1859

Physical Description: (2 items)


Physical Description: (12 items)

Boggs, Thomas Oliver


Papers relating to the estate of C. Carson, 1868-1874

Physical Description: (8 items)

Scope and Content Note

Include letter from F. Maxwell with list of Carson's belongings at Taos; copy of letters testamentary, with will annexed; appraisal of estate; register of births and deaths in the Carson family; accounts; statememts re the administration of the estate.

Personal papers, correspondence, accounts, certificates of sale

Physical Description: (11 items)
oversize Oversize portfolio

Commissions as Indian agent, 1857-1858, signed by Pres. Buchanan

Physical Description: (2 items)

Census for Pueblo of San Gerónimo de Taos, 1856

Physical Description: (2 items)




Bowman, Andrew W., d. 1869


Letter, Jan. 17, 1858, introducing Ancatash, chief of the Utahs.


Brewerton, George Douglas, 1820-1901


Letter, Mar. 12, 1854, re articles he has written and proposes writting re Carson. Mutilated and incomplete.


Beuthner, Solomon


4 letters, 1860-1864. See also De Witt Clinton Peters




Cameron, Simon, 1799-1889

see U.S. War Dept.


Canby, Edward Sprigg, 1817-1873


Letter, Jan. 19, 1862.


Carson, Lindsay


Letter, Aug. 1, 1854, to his brother re conditions in California.


Connelly, Henry, 1800-1866


Petition, May 17, 1864, addressed to the President of the U.S. for the appointment of Carson as Supervisor of the Indians on the reservation at the Bosque Redondo. Copy only.


Carleton, James Henry, 1814-1873


2 letters, 1863-1865.


Clayton, Powell, 1833-1914

see U.S. Treasury Dept.


Collins, James L.


4 letters, 1859-1860.


Cutler, Benjamin Clark


2 letters, 1864-1865.




Donaldson, James Lowry, 1814-1885


Letter, Dec. 6, 1860.


Davis, William Watts Hart, 1820-1910


8 letters, 1855-1857. Written as Superintendent of Indian Affairs, Santa Fe.


Denver, James William, 1817-1892

see U.S. Office of Indian Affairs




Garrison, Amos F., d. 1877


Letter, Feb. 11, 1864.




Johnston, Robert, d. 1902


Letter, Feb. 26, 1854.




McCormick, Richard Cunningham, 1832-1901


Letter, Dec. 15, 1863.


McFerran, John Courts, 1831-1872


Letter, Dec. 17, 1863.


Magruder, William Thomas, d. 1863


Letter, May 25, 1856.


Morgan, Lewis Henry, 1818-1881


Letter, Jan. 17, 1859.


Mastin, John


5 letters, 1856-1859.


Mayers, A. G.


3 letters, 1856.


Meriwether, David, 1800-


12 letters, 1854-1856. Letters of July 24, 1854 and of June 23, 1855 enclose copies of letters from G. W. Manypenny. Written as Governor of New Mexico and as Superintendent of Indian Affairs in New Mexico.


Messervy, William S.


3 letters, 1854.




Nicodemus, William Joseph Leonard, d. 1879


Letter, Dec. 24, 1861.




Ortibi, Charles, 1812-1883


Letter, Oct. 22, 1857.


Peters, De Witt Clinton, d. 1876


2 letters, 1859. Letter of Apr. 28, 1859 contains postscript by S. Beuthner.


St. Vrain, Ceran de Hault de Lassus de, 1802-1870


2 letters, 1853-1862.


Sherman, William Tecumseh, 1820-1891

see U.S. Army orders, Box 3


Stanton, Edwin McMaster, 1814-1869

see U.S. War Dept.




Tobens, Thomas Tate, 1823-


Letter, July 13, 1860.


U.S. Adjudant-General's office


2 letters, 1847-1864.


U.S. Office of Indian Affairs


13 letters, 1853-1860. Include copies, some addressed to James L. Collins. Some signed by James W. Denver. With these statements are accounts of Carson, 1855-1861.

Physical Description: (5 items)

U.S. Pension Office


48 letters, 1855-1859. Mainly re Bounty Land claims, some addressed to Mastin and to Quinn. Many form letters. See also Bounty Land Claims folder in Box 3.


U.S. Treasury Dept.


13 letters, 1856-1861. Some signed by Powell Clayton. Re accounts. Letters of Nov. 11, 1856 and Aug. 20, 1857 addressed to Julian Ledux.


U.S. War Dept.


2 letters, 1861-1865. Signed by Simon Cameron and Edwin M. Stanton.




Valdez, Santiago


Letter, Jan. 10, 1862.


Ward, John


5 letters, 1857-1860.


Yost, Samuel M.


2 letters, 1857-1858.