Dr. K. C. Ice and the little frame building which housed one of his earliest practices. He looks proud doesn’t he?
The fourth of six boys, he was born into poverty, yes, in a log cabin, in the hills of central West Virginia. His father and grandfather were veterans; they fought with the Union troops in the “Late Unpleasantness” as it is known in the state of my birth (or, if you prefer, the War of Northern Agression). His father was a boy of fourteen when that War began, and was still a boy when it was over. When K.C. was six, his father dead of appendicitis, he and his siblings lived for a time with his grandparents Ice and Roberts. Mary Ann Roberts Ice had six sons to raise, ages 12 to just a few months. So a natural gas well discovered on the Ice property was no doubt a God-send. It provided the funds to send KC and at least one of his brothers to Salem for school (what we would call High School). The well also sent him to Hiram in 1897. By 1900 it either stopped producing or the residue went to the younger boys.
The same family stories which have young KC with his heart set on foreign missions also have him pressing his clothes between his mattress and and springs in order to save money while in medical school. No doubt he kept in touch with brothers and both the Ice and Roberts families while in St. Louis from 1900-1903. Not only did he keep in touch, he went back. Though born in the woods, he was educated in the cities and had a world-wide vision sparked within him. Yet he returned to the hills. To Rockport, West Virginia, circa 1904, where he set up practice and took up the ministry of the healing of bodies.
Having his own practice, a place to hang a shingle and engage in a honorable profession, really meant something. I’d be proud, too.
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