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September 18th – Happy 115th Anniversary

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Harvey Lillard
These excerpts are taken directly from Dr. Joe Keating’s raw notes which can be found in the Chiro Org History Archive

  • 1895 (Sept): Chiropractic is “discovered” by D.D. Palmer (The Chiropractor, 1904, p. ii)
  • 1895 (Sept 18): “On September 18, 1895, Harvey Lillard called upon Dr. Palmer” (The Chiropractor, 1904, p. 11)
  • 1896 (Jan-Apr): According to Harvey Lillard’s testimonial in the January, 1897 issue (p. 3) of The Chiropractic, he didn’t learn of Palmer’s new science until January of 1896, and received two treatments for his deafness between January and April of 1896

I was deaf 17 years and I expected to always remain so, for I had doctored a great deal without any benefit. I had long ago made up my mind to not take any more ear treatments, for it did me no good. Last January Dr. Palmer told me that my deafness came from an injury in my spine. This was new to me; but it is a fact that my back was injured at the time I went deaf. Dr. Palmer treated me on the spine; in two treatments I could hear quite well. That was eight months ago. My hearing remains good.
HARVEY LILLARD, 320 W. Eleventh St., Davenport, Iowa

By |September 18, 2010|History|7 Comments

About the Author:

Dr Wiens created the very first chiropractic information page on the web in Nov 1994. In 1995 he joined as chief designer. He lives in Canada.


  1. Frank September 19, 2010 at 2:21 pm

    The Story of Chiropractic

    The year was 1895, the same year that x-rays were discovered. At that time, Health Care was provided by a diversity of unregulated and unlicensed professions, including osteopaths, magnetic healers and “medical” doctors. In those days, most medical education consisted of working as an “apprentice” for a medical doctor, and learning the craft by observation.

    D.D. Palmer, the Father of Chiropractic, was a magnetic healer, with a huge practice in Davenport, Iowa. He had doubts about the “germ theory” as the complete explanation of the cause of all disease. After all, if germs could kill…wouldn’t we all be dead? He asked “how it was that 2 brothers could work in the same shop, eat the same food, sleep in the same bed, and one would succumb to a disease, while the other one would not”?

    His belief was that it was not just the “seed” (or germ) which was the cause. He felt that the “soil”, or the body’s own recuperative power was damaged, and that this controlled where we were on the continuum between health and “dis-ease”.

    One day D.D. was talking with Harvey Lillard, the man who owned the janitor service in his building. Harvey was deaf. He mentioned to D.D. that years before, while lifting a heavy weight, he felt something “snap” at the base of his neck. It was several weeks later that his hearing started to fade.

    D.D. was intrigued, and asked Harvey if he could examine his back. What he “felt” (and we now call this “palpation”) was that one of the upper thoracic bones was sticking out much more than the one above or below it. He explained to Harvey that he felt that this “bone out of place” could be causing pressure on his spinal cord, and that this might be the reason that Harvey was now deaf. He convinced Harvey to lie down on the couch, and placed his hands on the transverse processes of the bone and, as D.D. explained, “wracked (the bone) back into place”.

    When Harvey got up, he stated that he could hear a horse-drawn cart down in the street! This was the first thing he had heard clearly in 17 years!

    What an auspicious way for a profession to be born! Our “no drugs, no surgery” approach has remained true to D.D.’s plilosophy of the “seed and the soil”. What a chiropractor accomplishes with the adjustment of the spine, is to remove the impediment to the brain’s control of the body. We call that impediment, which interferes with nervous control, a “ subluxation”.

    You may also enjoy the Chiropractic and Deafness Page

  2. Allison Blatherton September 20, 2010 at 8:45 am

    Great historical perspective of the practice! And what an amazing story. Thank you for posting this. Really, quite incredible.

  3. Great post Frank! While at Parker I became somewhat fascinated with the history of chiropractic & read Chiropractic in America.

    Great read for anyone in interested in this story and the happenings during that time that lead to D.D. performing his first adjustment.

  4. Roy Davis September 20, 2010 at 1:42 pm

    Happy anniversary! What a great post about the history of chiropractic care. So many ailments can stem from back problems. Thanks for the post!

  5. Adia Spencer September 23, 2010 at 3:00 pm

    What an interesting post. Happy anniversary! I also enjoyed the historical information here.

  6. Allergy and Immunology resources October 15, 2010 at 8:01 pm

    Great historical perspective of the practice! And what an amazing story. Thank you for posting this. Really, quite incredible.

  7. chiropractor James Devine DC November 14, 2010 at 11:04 pm

    Chiropractic’s first testimonial! It is as powerful today as on the day it was written.

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