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Dr. Samuel H. Flowers was born in 1902 in Logan County Kentucky and served as the doctor for the Stearns Coal and Lumber Company from August 1934 to October 1936 when he left for the University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Medicine to study surgery. Below is an excerpt from his memoirs regarding his life as the “company doctor”. If any of our readers have more information about Dr. S. H. Flowers, please email the information to email@example.com.
“I mentioned the railroad bicycle which I rode up and down the track when I was “company doctor” on the Stearns Coal and Lumber Company job in 1934.
My family and I lived in Worley, and I visited patients in their homes down river as far as Yamacraw and toward Stearns as far as Barthell. Of course, the mine at Blue Heron had not been opened at that time.
I wore a leather jacket in cold weather, high leather boots over corduroy pants, a flannel shirt, and heavy underwear in the winter. My medicine was carried in a wire basket on the front of the bicycle.
The bicycle pedals and chain drive and regular bicycle frame were mounted on a four-wheeled frame, the light flanged wheels riding on the rails, as shown in the picture. Being a strong man, I could lift the whole machine off the R.R. tracks whenever I went to a patient’s home or heard a train coming, and, of course, when I returned home. I knew the time of the regular morning and afternoon trains. At other times I called the train dispatcher in Stearns to find if anything was moving on the tracks.
No road existed down the mountain to Worley, so our family car had to be stored in a garage on Worley Hilltop. Riding this bicycle on the railroad was much easier and faster than walking. In emergencies the company would send a motorized car to pick up the doctor and take him wherever he was needed along the K&T Railroad. This happened 8 or 10 times in the meningitis epidemic oat Cooperative and Bell Farm in the winter of 1935 when I was called to do spinal punctures for diagnosis and to inject the newly developed antitoxin. This treatment saved 8 out of the 9 or 10 cases of meningitis.”
– S. H. Flowers, M.D.