Search Dewey County OKGenWeb ITGenWeb OKArchives USArchives USGenWeb
OKGenWeb    Dewey County    USGenWeb




Amos Chapman Dies At The Age of 88,

After 77 Years In U.S. Service

The state of Oklahoma as well as Seiling and the surrounding community lost one of its most historic and heroic characters in the death of Amos Chapman, noted scout plainsman and indian fighter, who passed away at this home two miles east of this city Saturday afternoon.

Mr. Chapman's death came as the result of injuries sustained in an accident that happened June 10th of this year. He was 88 years of age at the time of his death, having spent 71 years in the service of the U.S. government.

Chapman was born in the State of Michigan, March 15, 1837, where he lived until he had reached his seventeenth year. At this age he left home and entered the United States army. The first few years of his army life was spent in driving a commisary in a "bull train" as it was called at that time. This work consisted of driving an ox team from one fort to another, carrying munitions and supplies for the garrisons that were scattered thru-out the plains at that time. This work was exceedingly perilous due to the fact that roving bands of hostile indians were constantly attacking the trains and attempting to drive the white men from the west.

Chapman was later commissioned as a Scout and seen much active service under General Nelson Miles, acting in the capacity. General Miles was a noted indian fighter and played an important role in the settlement of this country. It was during the time that Chapman was under the command of General Miles that the famous Battle of Buffalo Wallow, in which Chapman lost his right leg, was fought.

According to the best information available, the Buffalo Wallow Battle was fought in the territory now known as Ellis county. The exact location of the battle field cannot be arrived at, however, it was in the northwest corner of what is now Ellis county and only a short distance from the Texas border. The battle took place on September 12, 1874. General Miles in his indian warfare had pushed into the panhandle and was camped on McClellan Creek some 20 to 25 miles southwest of where the little town of Mobeetie, Texas, now stands. Desiring to send important dispatches to Ft. Supply, Indian Territory, Miles trusted this perilous task to two of his scouts Amos Chapman and Billy Dixon, and four enlisted men, whose names are Peter Rath, George W. Smith, and another man whose name we could not learn.

On account of the great danger from hostile indians, the men traveled by night. Just as the first streaks of dawn were piercing the eastern sky of the second day they encountered a band of some five hundred Comanche warriors. The indians immediately surrounded them and opened a deadly fire upon the little band.

The white men dismounted and turned the horses over to Smith who was mortally wounded in the first charge and the horses fled, leaving the men without means of escape, if escape had been possible.

The white men had only such ammunition as could be carried on their persons and were without either food or water.

The battle continued throughout the day with the indians charging time after time and each time being repulsed by the deadly fire of the brave men who had thrown up a slight breastworks with their bowie knives.

Chapman received three bullets in his right leg between the knee and the ankle in the first afternoon of the five day stay at the scene of the battle. All other members of the party were seriously injured, with the exception of Billy Dixon and Peter Rath. Smith died before nightfall of the first day.

About midnight of the fifth day help arrived at the scene of battle where the little group of wounded men had been detained by the indians. Their condition, by the time help arrived, had became almost unbearable. They were forced to drink water mixed with the blood of their own wounds and the mud of the plains, that had fallen from the skies the first day of the battle. The water, although a blessing in one respect, added greatly to their bodily discomfort. The only food available was steak cut off a mule that had been killed in the battle. This they broiled and ate with great relish.

Upon arrival of a detachment of troops under the command of Jack Callahan, the wounded men were cared for and escorted to safety. Chapman's leg was amputated between the knee and ankle. The operation was performed out on the plains with the great outdoors as an operating room and a drink of whiskey as an anesthetic.

As soon as he was able to get about Chapman entered the service again. Two years after the battle of Buffalo Wallow, in the year 1876, Chapman and some three regiments of enlisted men were sent to assist Custer in his warfare against the Sioux. Chapman and his reinforcements arrived at the scene of the horrible and memorable battle ground of the known as the site of Custer's Massacre just twenty minutes, according to estimates, after the last white man had been scalped and the last indian had fled.

It was in this same year that Chapman married. He was married to Mary Bunbio, a full blood Cheyenne indian, at Ft. Supply, March 18, 1876.

Chapman was engaged in several dangerous and thrilling encounters with the indians after his marriage. On one occasion, Chapman in company with General Miles was returning from a scouting expedition in the Wichita mountains when they were surrounded by a band of roving Comanches and confined four days between a couple of gigantic boulders where they had taken refuge. They were without food at this time of the attack and were forced to eat coyote meat, having found a den of coyote pups near their retreat.

Chapman later homesteaded a place on the banks of the North Canadian river some two and one half miles from where the town of Seiling now stands. He resided at the old homestead the remainder of his life, having lived here for the past 36 years.

Nine children were born to Mr. and Mrs. Chapman, four of which have preceded him in death. They are, Ben, George, Steve and Minnie. The five that are living are residing in the immediate vicinity of Seiling at the present time. They are Frank, Amos jr., Jennie, Sam and Temple.

In later years, Chapman became a great friend of the indian and spent much time among them. The indians, though, friendly, never ceased to fear the great old monarch of the plains.

Chapman's death leaves only one survivor of the band of courageous scouts and plainsmen who spent the majority of their lives in ridding the west of warring indians and making this country safe for settlement. The lone survivor is Colonel Peacock, hero of Adobe Walls, who now resides in Wichita, Kansas.

Ed Cornwell and Elder Durfey were in charge of the obsequies of the "Hero Of Frontier Day." Weather conditions made the keeping of the body impossible, consequently, burial was necessary before Mr. Chapman's brothers who reside in Missouri, could reach here. A detachment of troops from Ft. Reno would have also been present to take charge of the funeral rites and give the Scout a full military burial had there been sufficient time.


Mary Chapman, Indian Name - "Bunhio", Granddaughter of Cheyenne Peace Chief, Black Kettle

Seiling, Oklahoma newspaper about March 16, 1931

Mrs. Mary Chapman, Indian wife and widow of the late Amos Chapman, died Monday morning about 5 o'clock at her home, three miles northeast of Seiling, aged 76 years.

The people of all Western Oklahoma are familiar with the story of early day romance of Amos Chapman, famous army scout, and the 15 year old Indian girl who became his wife sixty-one years ago, in the year 1870.

During all the years of her married life she remained steadfast and true to her white husband and learned to speak his language. As the years passed she became the mother of ten children, eight boys and two girls, most of whom she raised to manhood and womanhood.

When this country was opened for white settlement, Amos Chapman, and his family had been living in the North Canadian Valley for 22 years. Many early day settlers remember their first visit to the Chapman ranch and the hospitality and the frontierman's cordial welcome in the Chapman home.

Funeral services were held in the Church of Latter Day Saints in Seiling, of which church she became a member in 1911. The services were conducted by Rev. Dyke, a friend of the family for 40 years. The funeral sermon was quite unusual in many respects, the speaker going far back in history of the Indian and coming up by successive stages to the present civilization of which Mrs. Chapman was a prominent example. Interment was made in the Indian cemetery east of Seiling beside the grave of her famous husband who died a few years ago.



Died at his father's home on August 10, 1907, at 11:00 o'clock after several years of sickness, consumption in its worst form, took him away. He was born at Cantonement in 1880. At his death he was 27 years old.

He first attended school at
Cantonement and later at Kiowa, Kansas. He was then sent to Lawrence, Kansas where he was assistant farmer; then learned harness making. Deeply attached to his home, he left school just before he should have graduated and came as a surprise to see his parents. He worked as interpreter at Cantonement for a long time without success. He shifted about thinking to improve his health, going to Texas, visiting Colorado and making quite a lengthy stay in Mexico (New Mexico), at Roswell and other points. Growing anxious to see home folks again, he returned going to Medicine Lodge where he found his father with his men at work.

Travel improved him seemingly, but the destroyer was on his track. On being asked what he wanted one day, he said: "Climate that is what I want." On the first Sunday in June 1905, he was baptized by Elder Yates and taken into the Latter Day Saint Church. He was buried in the family Cemetery Sunday August 11.

We feel our tired and weary friend has reached "a congenial climate" where disappointment and trouble can never come. Clinging to true friends, yet willing to go, bidding them good bye, he quietly fell asleep.



NEWSPAPER CLIPPING - (Seiling, Oklahoma paper about October 1944)

Edward Chapman, M.M.M., after serving five years and five months in the U.S. Navy, was reported missing with the submarine, The Sea Wolf. He was the son of Frank and Hattie Chapman of Seiling and the grandson of Amos Chapman, famous Indian Scout of Territorial days and an Indian Princess daughter of a Cheyenne Indian Warrior, Black Kettle, on his fathers side of the family; and his mother is the daughter of the late George Goss and Mrs. Alva (Alma) Goss of Seiling, pioneer settlers of early Oklahoma.

His parents and relatives have the sympathy of the entire community in the loss of this brave son, who has made the supreme sacrifice for his country.

***Edward Chapman along with the crew of the submarine Sea Wolf was never found and recovered.



Amos Chapman, a resident of the Seiling community for more than forty years, passed away at his country home north of Seiling Friday night following an illness of several months duration.

Funeral services were held Sunday at 2:30 p.m. in the First Christian of Seiling with Rev. Harold Herndon, assisted by Rev. Milt Shuck, officiating at the ceremony.

Graveside services were held in charge of the Seiling Masonic Lodge, and burial was in the Seiling cemetery. Spies-Shaw Funeral Home was in charge of funeral arrangements.

Chapman's obituary follows:

Amos Chapman, jr, was born at Old Fort Supply in Oklahoma Territory on November 29, 1886 and passed away at Seiling, Oklahoma, January 20, 1950 at the age of 63 years, one month, and 22 days.

He was one of a family of eight brothers and two sisters. His father was one of the Indian scouts attached to the United States troops. He attended schools in Lawrence, Kansas, Chilocco school in Oklahoma and the Old Cantonment school near Canton.

On April 13, 1910, he was united in marriage to Miss Cora Inman of Woodward. They have been residents of near Seiling for over 40 years.

He is survived by his wife, Cora Chapman: two children Miss Betty Jo Chapman of Seiling and Lavern Chapman of Soledad, California; two brothers, Frank and Sam Chapman of Seiling; and several nieces and nephews, together with a host of loyal friends.

FRANK CHAPMAN, Probably Seiling, Oklahoma newspaper, No date shown

Date of Death: January 10, 1954

Frank, 68, son of the famed Indian warrior, Amos Chapman, was born near Persimmon, southeast of Woodward, May 3, 1884. Loved by Indian and white alike, he was honored at funeral services Wednesday afternoon, at the Seiling highschool auditorium before upwards of 350 people.

Widely known over all of northwestern Oklahoma, Frank became an unofficial advisor to the Indians of the Ft. Cantonment area. He was held in esteem to the Indians, as equal to that of the scouts of the army. He was well informed in both white and Indian customs and often acted as interpreter and mediator for both.

Four of his sons served in the armed forces during World War II with one son, Ed, going down aboard a submarine, the Seawolf, Oct. 4, 1944. He was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor. Another son, Gene, also served in the navy during the Korean conflict.

Frank was married 51 years ago Jan. 12, to Hattie H. Goss, in the Cantonment. The couple raised 12 children, two dying of a throat-infection in 1919, and Ed dying in the war.

A familiar figure on the Seiling streets, Frank will be missed by everyone who knew him.

Survivors are his wife, Hattie, of the home; six sons, Ervin, Darrouzett, Tex; Lee, Chester; Byron, Seiling; Richard, East Wenatchee, Wash; Merle, Colton, Cal., and Gene, aboard ship with the navy in the Atlantic. Also three daughters, Mrs. Minnie George and Mrs. Irma Sigman, Canton, and Mrs. Ida Toller, Seiling.

Also seven grandsons, one granddaughter and one great grandson in addition to a brother, Sam, Big Springs, Tex.

Burial was in the Brumfield cemetery with the Spies-Shaw funeral home in charge of arrangements.