Early in the 1900’s, a third year medical student at the University of Virginia named Caskey Oscar Hodges, who was from Blowing Rock, North Carolina, worked as a Pharmacist at a drug store in Knoxville, Tennessee during the summer months to earn money to complete his education in the medical field. Here he met his wife to be, Jessie Rhyne Hodges. One summer he worked for his cousin, Dr. Stuart Hodges from Boone, North Carolina, who was the Black Star Coal Company Doctor. During this time a flu epidemic occurred. Stuart requested that Caskey stay and help with treating the sick. Caskey Oscar Hodges stayed and did not go back to Medical School. He would in years to come join with other well known Physicians and become known to his patients and friends as “Doc” Jimmy Hodges treating the miners and their families at the Black Star Coal Camp. At that time neither “Doc” nor Jessie knew the impact they would have on so many people in a small community known as Black Star Coal Mining Camp, Alva, Kentucky.
Jessie, who was a graduate from Knoxville College worked as the Postmistress at Black Star Coal Camp.
In 1967, after the closing of the Black Star Coal Mines, Doc and Jessie left Black Star Coal Camp and went back to Blowing Rock, NC where he was elected Mayor of that town in the late 1960's and the 1970's. Doc & Jessie moved back to Kentucky in the mid 1980's and resided near their son, Stuart Hodges near Tanyard Hill.
We are looking at photos taken shortly before his death in 1991 at age 93.
At a time when there was little, or no work at all, working in the coalmines put food on the table. We should remember these brave men who risked their lives everyday for their families.
We will remember Doc Hodges as a man who respected everyone, and devoted his life to making Black Star and the surrounding communities a better place to live and raise a family.
Stuart & Selma Hodges provided a few photos that we would like to share with you.