Interview by Reta DeShields Parton and Tonya Parton Williams
Tonya and I have been very lucky to be able to interview many of the older
people in the Lead Hill, Boone County, Arkansas area. I had heard of Fay Hodge,
seen his stories in the Boone County Headlight and Harrison Daily Times. But
that I know of, I had not met him personally.
In one of my many conversations with Dr Jim Fain, retired superintendent of
the Lead Hill Schools, he recommended I go see Fay. "Reta, heís probably
got the best collection of pictures in the area, everytime I see a really old
one in the paper, it is courtesy of Fay Hodge", Jim told me. So, I couldnít
resist it. I wanted to go back to Lead Hill anyway to see if I could talk to
some of the other older members of the community. I called Fay and explained
that I was researching the people of Lead Hill and surrounding areas and Dr Jim
Fain said he would be a great source for pictures. I also asked if I could come
to his home, bring my camera and computer and take some photos of his photos. He
would not have to let them out of his home. I donít think he was too sure
about this, but he agreed.
We arrived about 9am and as we pulled into the yard, many memories of my own
grandparent's home returned. The white board house, Hogwire fence around the
yard, many beautiful flowers in the yard, and an older gentlemen standing at the
screen door, waiting our arrival. These are good memories.
Fay invited us in and introduced us to his wife. Fay is 87 years old and his
wife, Chole, is close to 90. Both are full of life and very friendly. The Hodge
Family has been a part of the history of the area for many years. Chole has ties
with the Wingate and Wilkerson families.
He then took us on a tour of his many many stacks of photos. I will say now,
I only saw about 1% of his collection. We hope to return and review more.
Fay received his first camera when he was six years old. He lived close to
the Bradley Ferry at the time. His first picture was of his mother, Clara Bell
McPherson Hodge and his Grandma, Mary Levesee. (see picture to right) He was
hooked. Since that time he has taken many pictures in Boone County and
everywhere he lived. He served a tour in the Navy and also took many pictures
during WWII. We did not get into those pictures. He loves to photograph nature
and is very good in his work.
Fay carries a camera with him almost everywhere he goes. He says, "If
you donít you will miss the best pictures." I tend to agree with him.
All the pictures you will view in this article are photos of photos. They are
in no way as good as the original. Many have had to be repaired or adjusted for
the angle I shot them in to correct it. All photocopy rights are retained by Fay
Hodge and cannot be reproduced without his written consent. However, if this is
your family or you want to put it in your family records, he has no problem with
this. But it may not be sold or published or charged to view without his written
consent. This is the agreement I made with him before we started to take
pictures. If you want to request to be able to publish a photo in your family
history, email me and I will handle it from there. Email me at email@example.com.