Autobiography of A. T. Still
Andrew Taylor Still, D.O.


  • In Which I Make Some Allusion to My Family
  • My Wife
  • Gathering Gems of Thought
  • My Children
  • Drawing to a Close
  • My Friends
  • The Book of Life
  • Our Dead
  • Fred
  • Conclusion
    I FEEL I would not do justice and leave my family without giving them meritorious mention, though it is not their biography I am writing.  But as each one has rendered personal assistance of great value, it is due them to make mention of these facts.  Over a quarter of a century my wife, Mary, E. Still, has given her counsel, advice, consent, and encouraged me to go on and unfold the truths, laws, and principles of life; to open and proclaim them to the world by demonstration, which is the only method by which truth can be established.  These were the basic principles on which I embarked on the ocean's unexplored surface.  And at the conclusion of each voyage, whether it was long or short, I brought home such specimens as I could pick up as an explorer, spread them on the table for her consideration and the amusement of the children.

    She received all truths, and separated them from the doubtful, labeled, numbered, and filed away each block and piece that fit in the great building of man's life.

    I cared nothing for the compass that pointed to the north, south, east, or west, neither did I carry such instruments.  I did not navigate by the force of steam nor wind, but by the great electromagnetic battery of reason.  My compass was reason; my test was that all truths do love and agree with all others.

    I took voyage after voyage, each time bringing larger and better cargoes.  All such collections as I thought to be fine gems I told her to cut, set, wear, and test their brilliancy, label and price according to their merits.  As she was a mental lapidist, I told her so to cut each stone with shape that its inner beauties might be transposed and exhibited upon the surfaces of all facets, that
the beholder might see the fine colors that were capable of being produced by nature's unerring paint-brush.  All of which she did, filed them away until all were cut and numbered to complete the building from base to dome.


    Those beautiful gems at the end of a few years ceased to be just amusements for the children.  They, both sons and daughters, with each passing year of physical growth, began to reason on the grandeur of the superstructure they could now see, until all members of the house buckled on their belts with all necessary implements, and enlisted in this army of truth-seekers, and became demonstrators of that philosophy whose truths are self-evident facts, and only need to be seen to be known as the work of some unerring mind or principle, which some would call nature, others God.

    Be they from whatever source, they have proven that they are truths absolute, as old as time and as consoling as the love of God, containing each and every principle known by the highest authority on sickness and health.

    At this stage of the war my sons are no more prattling children, but men of mature years.  They have been the champions of many bloody conflicts.  They are at this time commanders of divisions, having worn the epaulets of all ranks.  And I feel that future battles fought by them and their subordinates will be as wisely conducted as though I were there in person.

    For fear of tiring the reader and leaving him with the belief that there is no wisdom outside of my family, I will say that the river of intelligence is just as close to you and yours as it is to me and mine.  Although by good fortune I dipped my cup first in the broad river of Osteopathy, drank and gave to them, which fluid they relished as all intelligent persons do who drink from this river, the same stream flows for you.

    I would advise each sailor to provision, set sail, and navigate, until you see the opposite side of this river, whose waters when drunk are solace to the despondent, bone, muscle, and strength to the cripple, longevity and peace to all man-kind.

    When the reader of this imperfectly written book of my life peruses its many pages, he will find a great many subjects written after my style, which may not appear in that polished manner of a professional book-writer.  The style may appear harsh and crude; if so, I will offer only this as an apology: it is spoken after my manner and custom of speech.

    I do not think you desire that I be disloyal to my mother; enough so as to try to give you my opinion on any discovery by using the great words, as we would say, or borrow other pens to do my writing.  She was my greatest friend while alive.  She is the lighthouse of my chamber of reason. Although long since physically inactive, her language, which was strictly that of an educated lady, furnishes me a vocabulary from which to choose when I desire to express an opinion.

    Thus you have the reason why I am proud to speak from my mother's tongue.  And next to her and my own family, I will speak of a few faithful and intelligent friends.  I may not call them by name, but their houses, beds, and tables have universally been spread by the hands and hearts of kindness for my ease and comfort.  They have freely and lovingly tried and succeeded in assisting me to write up my life, and encouraged me at all times to fight, defend the flag, and never surrender.

    I feel that I cannot close this book without saying to he or she who has helped me by kind suggestions and otherwise, in this effort to compile something of a history of the struggles that I have had mentally, and in many other ways to throw open the book of life and read its charming pages that are so plainly written on thousands of golden leaves which were manufactured in the great paper-mill of the infinite.

    As I have about concluded this work, and will soon withdraw from their homes and firesides which have been so lavish with kindness, I will say, in conclusion, "Your hospitality in past days has kindled in me the everlasting feeling of love, friendship, and respect."

    We often think of our beloved dead.  Why do we? Because of ties made from the fiber of the  soul. Each strand found in the cord of love is so pure that the acids of time never corrode.  No known element can cause the rust of decay.  No hour, day, or year has power to push a loving friend far back in the leaves of our book of memory and love.  We say, "Is he or she dead?" and wait the answer coming from our souls, which is "No," all day.  We feel the touch of the hand, hear the sound of the voice, saying, Weep not when the tongues retire from the service of man, and the melody of life cannot be produced to weld soul to soul by sounds of joy and friendly conversation, and the feast of reason forever stopped; we moan the cries of anguish that never dies.  We feel that the curtain bas fallen, never to rise again, and all the charming views will never appear to our eyes.

All prayers and tears are of no avail.  They only stand as additional evidences that hope has no foundation, and the fall of the dark curtain is to close us for all time and days of mortal life from even a glimpse of our loved ones.  Death has declaimed and proclaimed that the fiat of death changes not.  Neither can it be and not ruin one of the parts of that law that says, Life is the one half and death the other half that does all the work and clothes us for that day's feast; that is, for an eternal training-school for man.

    We should smile when we see by the lamp of reason that all of nature's laws sing the anthems of love from birth till death, and key up for music whose harmony is streams of perpetual over-flow of the spreading oil of gladness and wisdom plucked from the densest forests of knowledge and ripening fruits, are at all times visible to the most superficial minds of men.

[graphic 457: "FRED."]

    I hated to lose this darling boy.  I would talk to him often as of yore, but life, as we know, has closed forever the chance for such friendly feasts, and our moans are only heard by our silence.  It is law, and would be a much greater feast to us if we knew the grandeur of life and death.


    We hate the word, "He is dead."
    It makes us cry piteously, that we have lost our best.
    As in mind we call the endless roll of our loving dead,
    Our souls cry out in anguish, while our loved ones are at rest.
    One by one their forms appear; I cry again, "I love my dead."
    I view their faces each in turn -- father, mother, my dear son Fred.
    Tears from my eyes from morn till night adown my face as rivers flow,
    I ask and reason, "If he is not dead, where, oh, where, then, did he go?"

        "Dead!" Dead!  "He is dead!"
        Why, O my friends, please tell me why,
        When a friend is dead, "He did not die"?
        Like a philosopher, when dying, he said:
        "When this job is done, I'll return, not dead."

        I hate the word, "He is dead, dead!"
        It may be true, but not with Fred.

        A. T. STILL.

    The mind that has lost the quickening powers of mental gratitude, and has grown so stupid by the purgative action of selfishness as to expel from his memory a desire to express to all persons, from the infant at the breast to the grave-dipping foot of the aged, by kindly words and deeds, to all persons who have ever thrown a rose, a crumb of bread, or a soft feather that would make his road easier, his heart happier, his mind more at rest, in my judgment is guilty of one of the most unpardonable offenses that the pen of man has ever recorded or the mind of justice could contemplate.  How could we think for a moment of not treasuring those kind words and deeds in our hearts and minds as the most sacred gems whose sweetness should not disappear from the taste of the tongue and memory?  We should remember them very sacredly, because those sweet waters of joy were poured into our hearts when every river which branches off from our engine of life was filled with the bitter gall of lost hope and despair.  Who but a brute with the heart of a crocodile could ever say to that kind heart who filled us with the oil of gladness in bygone days, Stand aside; I never knew you!  Let me say I have more of the material world now than then, and all the days added have increased in my mind and heart, and multiplied, the store of love that I have for you and all persons who have ever given me the touch of the soft hand of kindness in my days of adversity.

    I wish to leave this expression as a token of my love to all kind hearts whom I have ever met in mortal life.  I hope you will believe at this time and age of life, that these are the sentiments that I wish to leave with you when I lie down with my head upon the knapsack, and I hand to the quartermaster when I receive my final discharge at the end of the struggle of mortality.

    THE END.