The Kansan - Newton, KS
  • Visiting the grave of Kit Carson

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  • Back in the year 1973 or even earlier, I'd eagerly listen to my elderly grandmother Dora (White) Marples of Agra, Kansas, tell about her own mother Clarissa Jane (Williams) White being a cousin to the legendary frontiersman, trapper, scout, and soldier Christopher "Kit" Carson. My dad, Bill Marples and his brother Charles P. Marples, both eagerly engaged in that conversation along with my late Great Uncle Ray White and his wife Goldie of Bloomington, Nebraska. I even have a postal letter dated 1979 from Goldie telling that our family was related to Kit Carson through Kit's mother Rebecca. The family came from Kentucky; but Kit was raised in Missouri.
    My late uncle Charles P. Marples was heavy into genealogy and he probably inspired me to do genealogy as a hobby, too. My Dad, my uncle, my Great Grandmother Clarissa's husband George White and even Kit Carson himself were all members of the Masonic fraternity. The Masonic Lodge in Taos, New Mexico purchased the Kit Carson home in Taos in the year 1910.
    I resolved at age nine, that I'd someday visit Kit Carson's grave in Taos. Little did I know it would take me 41 years to accomplish it. I grew up in Kansas; and back in the 1960's my family and I (as a little boy) visited the tiny town of Kit Carson, Colorado; and the Kit Carson Chapel at Ft. Lyon, Colorado...built with stones of the "surgeon's quarters" where he died. I've driven by Fort Carson, a U.S. Army Post near Colorado Springs, Colorado. Also in my youth, I've been to Fort Garland, Colorado, where Kit Carson briefly re-settled his family. I am aware that Kit's son, Charles Carson of La Junta, Colorado, inherited Kit's gold Masonic ring, reportedly made from a gold nugget from the 1849 California Gold Rush.
    In my adulthood, I have been to Carson City, Nevada. But, it wasn't until recent days August 7, 2014, did I get to see the Kit Carson Home and Museum. The lady at the entrance told me it was owned and operated by the Masonic Lodge. As I opened my billfold to pay the admission ticket fee she said "Don't you know: Masons get free-admission".
    — James A. Marples, Esbon,
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