Marc Simmons is considered New Mexico's historian laureate and has published over forty books on New Mexico history. Simmons is a former Woodrow Wilson Fellow, a recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship, and in 1993 the King of Spain granted him membership in the knightly Order of Isabela la Católica for his contributions to Spanish colonial history. He resides in Cerrillos, New Mexico.
Kit Carson and His Three Wives: A Family Historyby Marc Simmons
Kit Carson (1809-1868) has long held a prominent place in the popular imagination of the American West. However, little is known about his family life thanks largely to Carson's own guardianship of his privacy. After almost four decades devoted to researching Kit Carson's personal life, Marc Simmons provides information here to further our understanding of Carson.
Carson's first wife, Waa-Nibe, an Arapaho, died in 1838, after the couple had been together only three years. His second wife, Making-Out-Road, was a formidable Cheyenne woman who divorced him after fourteen months. Three years later, in 1843, Carson married Josefa Jaramillo, the fourteen-year-old daughter of a prominent Taos family. Seven of their children survived, and the couple also adopted several Indian children in the course of their long marriage that ended when Josefa died after the birth of her seventh baby.
Viewing Kit Carson's career as a husband and father sheds new light on the life choices he made. The changing economy of the 1840s made it increasingly difficult for a trapper and scout to support a growing family. Carson's years as an Indian agent in the 1850s provided him stability although he was never able to spend as much time with his family as any of them would have liked and he was never able to bring in a comfortable income.
The Kit Carson Simmons portrays offers a welcome change from recent politicized interpretations of Carson's actions.
- University of New Mexico Press
- Publication date:
- Calvin P. Horn Lectures in Western History and Culture Series
- Product dimensions:
- 5.90(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.80(d)
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