Bent's Old Fort National Historic Site
I wish I was capable to do Bent and St. Vrain justice for the kindness received at their hands. I can only say their equals were never in the mountains.
- Christopher "Kit" Carson
Charles Bent led trade caravans across the sometimes hostile prairie for sixteen years. His ties to the Mexican community, his public service, and his reputation led to his appointment as New Mexico's first American governor in 1846. Just months after his appointment, an angry mob with ties to Pueblo Indians and the previous Mexican regime murdered Charles Bent in his Taos home.
Ceran St. Vrain
Square-hewn and black-headed, Ceran was a savvy businessman who never shied away from a fight. Though far removed from the courts of France where his grandfather reportedly advised the King, he infused gentility and hospitality into frontier operations. He presided over the table at Bent's Fort with "memorable grace."
The courage of William and Charles Bent, two brothers from Missouri, "... became marked, even in a trade where physical bravery was a staple." William Bent managed the fort and supervised field operations. William had a knack for establishing harmonious relations with neighboring tribes. Once, at his own peril, he hid two Cheyenne from a band of Comanches. His split second decision won twenty-year old William the gratitude of the Cheyenne.
Family at a Distance
Not many kids live here in the fort. I have cousins in Taos and St. Louis. Once in a while a letter arrives. The ones from St. Louis take two months to get here. Sometimes I miss my cousins, but then the next wagon train arrives and I run to greet the crew ...