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Cool Things - Kit Carson's Hatchet

Trapper's hatchet

Mountain man and trapper Kit Carson may have used this hatchet.

In 1928 a Kansas resident donated this hatchet to the Kansas Historical Society, claiming it was a saddle ax once used by Kit Carson, the famous scout. No information was offered on how the donor acquired the hatchet, nor if he had ever met Carson.

Many years later, curators at the Kansas Museum of History researched the hatchet in an attempt to discover if it indeed had been used by Carson. Experts agreed the hatchet was representative of the type used by trappers and scouts from the early- to mid-1800s. Mountain men, especially, preferred a hatchet handle with a metal ring on the end to hold a cord loop. This allowed the tool to be hung from a saddle horn or dangled from the trapper's wrist while he waded through water, setting traps.

Whether or not this hatchet actually was owned by Kit Carson, it is nevertheless a unique piece among museum collections.

Entry: Cool Things - Kit Carson's Hatchet

Author: Kansas Historical Society

Author information: The Kansas Historical Society is a state agency charged with actively safeguarding and sharing the state's history.

Date Created: November 1997

Date Modified: December 2014

The author of this article is solely responsible for its content.