Oscar Oscar Winfield McCartney
1852 - 1927
Veteran of the Indian Wars

Oscar Winfield McCartney was born in Rock Island County, Illinois in 1852. He came to Kansas by covered wagon with his parents in 1866 to Greenwood County. At the age of fourteen, he left his parent's home seeking adventure. He hunted buffalo in the Black hills of the Dakota territory and became a crack shot with a rifle and an expert Indian scout. He covered much of the Black Hills for the next two years. Young McCartney came back to Kansas in 1868, arriving at Ft. Wallace where a troop of cavalrymen were encamped. They were on a mission to drive the Cheyenne Indians out of the area in order to protect the wagon trains as they headed to California. McCartney joined the troops when they left the fort and became one of their scouts. On the morning of September 17, 1868, the troops were attacked by the Cheyenne in large numbers along the Arickaree river. The troops dug in on a small island in the river and repulsed wave after wave with deadly fire from their carbines. During the battle, Maj. Forsyth, the commanding officer, was seriously wounded. On the Indian side, Roman Nose, the famed Cheyenne chief was killed. On the third night of the battle a small party of scouts including young McCartney were sent to Ft. Donovan for reinforcements. When they made it back to site of the battle with a relief party, the Indians had vanished, sensing that help was on the way. During the next several years, McCartney worked as a scout and guide for the numerous wagon trains that were crossing the plains. He eventually returned to central Kansas and married Lucinda Layman and settled into farming and raising his family in Kingman County.

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