DescriptionKit Carson: Manuscript of Speech Delivered at Taos Graveside. Christopher Carson (1809-1868) was one of the true legends of the West. His Mexican wife Josefa died shortly after childbirth. The shock of this event probably precipitated Carson's demise soon thereafter (May 23, 1868), at Fort Lyon, Colorado. Both husband and wife wanted to be buried in Taos, New Mexico. Their final wish was granted on May 25, 1869. The records of Our Lady of Guadalupe Church in Taos relate the details: "In this parish of Taos on the 25th day of May, A.D. 1869, I, Gabriel Ussel, parish priest, buried the remains of Christopher Carson and Josefa Jaramillo, his wife, both deceased several months ago, at Tio de las Animas." On November 30, 1869, a monument and tomb for Carson, erected by the Grand Army of the Republic, was dedicated. A close friend and colleague from the Indian and Civil Wars, Pedro Mondragon, delivered a speech in Spanish eulogizing his comrade. The speech is titled: "Discurso ante el monumento del General Kite Carso en Taos N.M." It is written on both sides of two ledger sheets which have been spliced together, creating one large, elongated sheet. The folded speech is contained in a 9" x 5" leather document pouch or billfold with Native American design elements, along with an 1847 newspaper clipping about Carson from the "Anglo-American." This, in turn, is housed in a 10" x 5.5" x 4.5" wood, metal and cowhide-covered document box with an interior label reading "Taos, New Mexico November 2d 1849." Other items in the grouping, as originally found in New Mexico, include a small leather powder flask and a subarctic seal skin pouch. The latter item seems extraneous, but is included as part of the original "find".
We will include a copy of a translation of the speech. Here are some excerpts: "Today on the 30th day of November, 1869 A.D. we are reunited, giving thanks to the Supreme Being and remembering the immortalized hero... General Kit Carson came to this country at a very young age. His character was sincere and his disposition was peaceful... He served the government as an agent for the Ute and Apache Indians. When the Indians were involved in depredations, stealing and pillaging, something that I myself suffered from when they stole weapons from my ranch, and also our provisions, which took place in 1854 and 1855 A.D., Colonel Kit Carson, as a captain, presented himself before the governor in Santa Fe and asked for a company of volunteers composed of Mexican citizens. The governor agreed to his request because he saw his courage and bravery, and that he was not one seeking fame, or fortune. Colonel Carson organized his volunteers and marched saying to his soldiers 'March with valor, because justice will prevail. Those that do not seek justice, show cowardice.' The ingenuity and the valor of Colonel Kit Carson was evident as he fought against the Indian tribes until peace was attained.... What did Colonel Carson do after the Civil War? The Mexican population was suffering enormously from deplorable conditions which resulted from Navajo Indian raids wherein they stole livestock, horses, and captured children. The ever vigilant Colonel Kit Carson marched with the same Mexican volunteers, and defeated the Navajos placing them in a reservation, since the regular troops had never been able to accomplish this."
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