The RH Record reported on Feb. 9, 1904 – “An ad for Dr. James R. Stokes, ran, whose office is over the Standard Drug Company. ”
The RH Record reported on Feb. 12, 1907 – “Dr. and Mrs. J.R. Stokes will shortly begin the erection of a handsome colonial residence in Oakland.”
The Record reported on July 25, 1907 – “Mr. Weeks, agent for the Southern Express Co., has rented the house on Hampton St., formerly occupied by Dr. and Mrs. Stokes and is moving into the home. Dr. and Mrs. Stokes moved to their handsome new home on Oakland Ave. yesterday.”
The RH Record reported on Sep. 26, 1907 – “Mr. C. B. Haynes and family have moved from Mrs. Philip Taylor’s house on East Main Street and will occupy part of the home of Dr. and Mrs. J. R. Stokes.”
After graduation, he worked for some time on his parents’ plantation on which timber was now harvested instead of long grain rice. Here, he spent nearly fourteen hours daily, on horseback, supervising the harvesting of timber and transporting it to the saw mill. Though he enjoyed this outdoor work, he always kept his ultimate goal in mind. When a small boy, he had very soft teeth with many cavities. His visits to the dentist convinced him that this profession would be his life’s work. Toward this end, Le accepted a position as an accountant with the large Indian Head /Till in Cordova, Ala., of which his brother was treasurer. After two years in this position, he had saved enough to enter Vanderbilt University. Its College of Dentistry was considered one f the best in the South. To supplement his savings, Dr. Stokes acquired a position as head of the student dining room. He joined 1e dental fraternity, Delta Sigma Delta, Kappa Chapter. In 1903, he finished, third honor graduate, with a degree as Doctor of Dental Surgery.
Next came the big decision. In what town should he locate? He was brought to Rock Hill by a relative to attend the Winthrop College Daisy Chain festival and was, at once, attracted to the cleanliness and progressive atmosphere of the small college town. Further investigation convinced him that this was the right location, and within a few months, his dental office had been established. In 1906, his ties with the town became complete when he married native of Rock Hill, Addie Hutchison Rawlinson. Two daughters ‘ere born to them: Harriet Baxter and Addie Rawlinson.
The first office was located on the second floor of a building at 120 1/2 East Main Street. A long stairway led from the street p to the second floor. The office telephone number was 69 which indicated the number of phones in town when he applied for one. ,t this time the town had a population of about 5,000. In 1926, to office was moved to the fourth floor and, later, the second floor of a building once occupied by the Rock Hill National Bank, (the Citizens Bank Building), on to corner of Main and Caldwell Streets. Here, Dr. Stokes completed forty-six years of dental practice.
He was always interested in new techniques and developments in dentistry. His office was equipped with the first dental X-ray in York County. During World War I, he observed that too many sung men were being turned down because of defective teeth. He few that, in many cases, this could be easily corrected, so he rote the national authorities, suggesting that a dentist be placed on draft boards. His suggestion was accepted, and he then had the distinction of being the first dentist in the United States to be placed on a Selective Service Board. He served in this capacity in World War I and World War II and received a medal from President Truman for his contributions.
Dr. Stokes was interested and active in professional organizations. From 1929 to 1935, he served on the South Carolina State Board of Dental Examiners and, in 1933, he was chosen its president. Between the two world wars, Dr. Stokes’ practice spanned the decade of the Great Depression. Patients would visit the office with a toothache or for badly needed dental work, but few had money to pay their bills. Often, a “Thank you, Doctor” was all he received. This experience changed his ideas about handling finances. When he began his practice, it was considered unprofessional to mention money to a patient, and a bill sent at the end of the month was usually sufficient. It was during the period of hard times that he began giving a ten percent discount for cash payment when the service was performed, and this arrangement was made very clear to the patient. He continued the custom for the rest of his life and found that it served him well.
Always interested in civic affairs, Dr. Stokes served as executive secretary of the Rock Hill Board of Health for over thirty years’ When an anesthetist was unavailable at Fennell Infirmary, he was called upon to fill in. He was a charter member of the Rock Hill Rotary Club.”
Information from: A History of Dentistry in Rock Hill S.C., by Addie Stokes Mayfield Click HOME to be returned to the Oakland Tour.
The 1915 McElwee Store ledger states that Dr. James R. Stokes and his wife Addie R., (120 East Main – Office), were customers of the store.
Mrs. Addie Stokes Mayfield, age 83, died March 7, 1999. She was a long-time member of the Board of this Society and was secretary for several terms. A cum laude graduate of Winthrop College with a B. A. in history, she maintained her love for the subject in many different ways. While a college student she was a member a half dozen academic and social societies and was especially proud to have been a member of Winthrop’s Debating League. During her junior year she was one of two students chosen to debate two students from Cambridge University. She taught high school history, wrote a history of dentistry in Rock Hill and co-authored The First Seventy-Five Years; A History of Oakland Presbyterian Church, Rode Hitt, South Carolina. She also compiled genealogies of all branches of her family. Besides being an active member of The York County Genealogical and Historical Society, she was active in the Daughters of the American Colonists, The National Society of Colonial Dames XVII Century, the Huguenot Society of South Carolina, and The National Society Magna Charta Dames. She was an elder in the Oakland Avenue Presbyterian Church.
Mrs. Mayfield’s lovely home on Oakland Avenue, Rock Hill. Always a gracious hostess, she was a special person. We shall miss her very much. We extend our sympathy to her son, James Stokes Mayfield, her daughter, Addie Mayfield Rutledge, and her three grandchildren. Courtesy of the YCGHS-June 1999
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