THOMAS L. McCARTY, M. D. If there is any one who could be considered an authority on the progress and incidents in the medical profession in Western Kansas it is Doctor McCarty, of Dodge City, whose period of practice there covers virtually the entire period that Ford County has been within the pale of civilization. In fact his first years there were spent when the region was still the untamed and wild west. He knows intimately the life and times, and practically all the notable characters of the frontier period were known to him.
Doctor McCarty was born at Greencastle, Indiana, November 27, 1848, but during his infancy his parents removed to Tuscola, Illinois, where his boyhood was passed. His father, C. Elijah McCarty, had been a stock man in Putnam County, Indiana. After removing to Illinois he became a personal friend of both General Grant and President Lincoln, and he himself became a soldier in the war, raising troops at Anna in Southern Illinois and was commissioned colonel of a regiment of infantry. The larger part of his work during the war was as a recruiting officer. Following the war he became an active real estate man and was in the business until ill health compelled his retirement. He died in Texas, but was buried in Illinois. Elijah McCarty married Caroline Sherrill, a native of Kentucky. She died before the Civil war. They had only two children, the older being William, who took up the real estate business and died at St. Louis, leaving a wife and child.
Dr. Thomas L. McCarty acquired his literary education in the common schools. When about seventeen years of age he began the study of medicine in the office of Doctor Milton at Tuscola, Illinois. From there he entered Rush Medical College at Chicago, and then entered Jefferson Medical College at Philadelphia, where he studied four years and a half and was graduated Doctor of Medicine in March, 1870. With his medical diploma Doctor McCarty began practice at St. Louis, Missouri, and after two years of experience there started West. His destination was Denver, Colorado, where he had determined to locate. He traveled by way of Dodge City, which was then the terminus of the Santa Fe Railroad. His arrival here was in November, 1872. He stopped at Dodge City to see his brother-in-law, who was then in the Indian country south of Dodge. The relative did not return to Dodge City for some time, and while waiting Doctor McCarty became attracted by the climate and the interests of the frontier and decided to locate. Thus for a period of forty-five years he has been identified with Dodge City and Ford County as a physician and as a citizen.
Doctor McCarty established his first office in H. G. Springer's drug store. Subsequently he formed an association with the post surgeon at Fort Dodge, Doctor Tremain, and the two practiced together for seven years. Much of their business was supplied by the buffalo hunters, who with the range cattle men made up the bulk of population in this region. Through his personal work Doctor McCarty also came into close contact with such noted frontiersman characters at Wyatt Erb, "Mysterious Dave," Bat Masterson, Chalk Beeson, the Wright brothers, Buffalo Bill and the Grand Duke Alexis of Russia, in whose honor a great buffalo hunt was staged in Western Kansas. Through the dangers incident to frontier existence and the personal feuds and shooting affairs a large part of Doctor McCarty's early practice was surgery.
After dissolving partnership with Doctor Tremain Doctor McCarty practiced alone for a number of years, and then for twelve years was associated with Doctor Milton in the firm of McCarty & Milton. In the meantime Doctor McCarty's son Claude was growing up and training for the same profession, and since his qualification he has been associated with his father under the firm name of McCarty & McCarty.
Doctor McCarty is head of the McCarty Hospital, which was established in 1905 and is the pioneer institution of its kind not only in Dodge City but in the entire western country of Kansas. He first opened a hospital in the building where it is still located, formerly used as one of the early hotels. It has been remodeled into a modern three story structure, with accommodations for twenty-five beds. While it is a private hospital, much of the business comes from the Santa Fe and the Rock Island Railways. Doctors McCarty are local surgeons for these lines, and both are members of the Railway Surgeons Association of those two railroads. They have been identified with the Ford County Medical Society since its organization, and the elder doctor has served as secretary. Both are also members of the Kansas State Society and the American Medical Association.
One of Doctor McCarty's early distinctions in Ford County was his service as the first superintendent of public instruction. At that time there was only one district for this entire western region. There was a school in Dodge City and a few outlying schools over a vast stretch of country. Doctor McCarty was superintendent about six years, and subsequently was for a long time a member of the Dodge City School Board and its president.
During his office holding there was very little politics, a man's partisan affiliations being of no more interest to the voters than his religion. Doctor McCarty has always been a democrat in national politics, but has not concerned himself with party badges when it came to local matters. He has been associated with many of the fraternal and insurance orders in Dodge City. He is a member of the Lodge, Chapter, and Commandery of Masonry, and has been almost as long identified with Odd Fellowship. He is a member of both the Subordinate Lodge and Encampment of the Odd Fellows. He carried fraternal insurance until it became a burden, and is an old member of the Ancient Order of United Workmen, the Woodmen of the World, and has in the past been examiner for these orders and for nearly all of the old line life insurance companies, ineluding the New York life, Northwestern Mutual Life, Connecticut Mutual and the Equitable Life.
Doctor McCarty married at Tuscola, Illinois, in December, 1871, Miss Sallie Artt. She was born and reared at Cynthiana, Kentucky, and is the only survivor of three children. Dr. Claude E. McCarty, only child of Dr. Thomas McCarty, was born in Ford County December 12, 1874. Some of his early education was acquired in the Colorado Springs High School, but he graduated from the Dodge City High School, was a student at St. John's College in Salina, and did all his medical preparation in Rush Medical College of Chicago, where he graduated in 1897. Since that date he has been in active association with his father. He has frequently been county physician of Ford County and is now health officer of Dodge City. He is a Master Mason, a Knight Templar and Shriner, and a member of the Episcopal Church. Dr. Claude McCarty married in Ford County Miss Elizabeth C. Kellogg. Her father was a Leavenworth business man and banker. Dr. and Mrs. Claude McCarty have one daughter, Helen.
Transcribed from A Standard History of Kansas and Kansans, written and compiled by William E. Connelley, Secretary of the Kansas State Historical Society, Topeka. [Revised ed.] Chicago: Lewis Publishing Co., 1919, c1918. 5 v. (xlviii, 2530 p.,  leaves of plates): ill., maps (some fold.), ports.; 27 cm.
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