“In a short time the well remembered waters of the South Platte were descried. Their practiced eyes soon discovered the oft noted ’signs of the beaver.’ The beaver had increased in great numbers. The party continued working down this stream, through the plains of Laramie to the New Park; and thence on to the Old Park. They trapped a large number of their old streams, until finally the expedition was terminated on the Arkansas river. The hunt proved very successful. With a large stock of furs, they returned in safety to Razado, via the Raton mountains, which are spurs of the great Rocky chain.”
This expedition occupied several months. Mr. Carson now devoted himself assiduously to farming, and especially to raising flocks and herds. In August, 1853, he drove, aided by many well armed attendants, a flock of six thousand five hundred sheep to California, where he sold them for five dollars and fifty cents a head. His knowledge of the country was such, that he was enabled to follow a route which gave them good pasturage all the way.
At San Francisco, Kit Carson found himself an object of universal attention. His renown had preceded him. The steamboats gave him a free pass.
All places of amusement were open to him. Wherever he went he was pointed out as the man to whom California was under the greatest obligations. Still he retained his modesty and integrity unsullied. Soon after his return to Razado, he received the unexpected and very gratifying intelligence, that he had been appointed by the United States Government, Indian Agent.
The duties of this difficult and responsible office he performed with remarkable wisdom and success. Whenever his counsel was followed, it was attended with the desired results. Whenever it was rejected disaster was sure to ensue. His knowledge of Indian customs was such, that more than once he presented himself entirely alone at the council fire of exasperated warriors; and urged upon them peace. On one of these occasions he learned that an angry band of Apache warriors were encamped among the mountains, but about fifty miles from his home. He knew the chiefs. He was familiar with their language. Though he knew that they were in a state of great exasperation, and that they were preparing to enter upon the war-path, he mounted his horse and rode thither, without even an attendant. The chiefs received him with sullen looks; but they listened patiently to his speech.
“The course you are pursuing,” said he, “will lead to your inevitable and total destruction. Your tribe will be exterminated. Your Great Father has thousands upon thousands of soldiers. He can easily replace those who fall in battle. It is not so with you. When your warriors are killed, you have no others to place in their moccasins. You must wait for the children to grow up.
“Your Great Father loves his children. He wishes to give you rich presents. I am his servant to bring those presents to you. We wish to live in peace, that we may help one another.”