Andrew Taylor Still

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Lee County,
Birth Sign
Lee County,

Andrew spent most of his childhood in Missouri, which was a slave state. But, like his father, he was against slavery, and when the Civil War broke out in different parts of America, he joined both sides that were against slavery. He was also chosen to be a lawmaker for the state of Kansas. His father taught him how to be a doctor, but the terrible things he saw and heard during the war and the death of his children in the epidemic that followed made him question the ways doctors at the time did things. He started looking for better ways to treat people that focused on the disease itself instead of just the symptoms. His groundbreaking work on how regulating the musculoskeletal system can make the body less likely to get sick led to the creation of a new way to treat an illness called “osteopathy.” He was harshly criticized at first for his ideas, but as he helped more and more people get better with his unusual methods, his popularity grew and many people wanted to learn from him. So, he came up with the idea of building a school where people could learn osteopathy. Few of his first students at the “American School of Osteopathy” in Kirksville, Missouri, were his children. Taylor wrote many books about osteopathy, including his own life story.

Early years and childhood

Andrew was born on August 6, 1828. He was the third child of Abram and Martha Still. Besides Andrew, his parents had eight other children. His family lived in Lee County, Virginia. His father worked as a minister and doctor for a Protestant church missionary. Still’s father was a supporter of the movement to end slavery, and he taught his children the same things.

After moving to Kansas with his family in 1853, Taylor decided he wanted to become a doctor. As was common in those days, Andrew taught himself medicine by reading different books and then worked as an apprentice with his father to put what he had learned into practice.

Andrew Taylor’s Career

When the state of Kansas was in the middle of a fight between people who supported slavery and people who didn’t, he and his siblings took part in the fight. In 1857, after the war was over, he was chosen to be a state lawmaker for Douglas and Johnson counties.

Even after the American Civil War between the Union and the Confederacy started in 1861, Taylor continued to help people in different ways, such as as a doctor. When he was helping injured people, he first saw how traditional ways of healing fell short.

Still, he was interested in medicine from a young age. As a child, he had seen his father’s patients suffer from diseases like smallpox and cholera. After the American Civil War, when three of his children died of meningitis, he became a full-time doctor and started looking for better ways to treat people.

In 1870, he went to the new “College of Physicians and Surgeons” to learn about how medicine was usually done. Later, he studied different alternative treatments, such as magnetic healing and bone setting, to find a better way to help people who were sick.

His ideas that many diseases can be cured without drugs were rejected by the local church. Everyone, including his own family, was against him. Even his brothers left him, and none of the medical schools would listen to what he had to say. But Andrew didn’t give up and kept looking.

When he left Kansas in 1874, he went back to the town where he grew up, Macon, in the hopes of making a big change. But none of his efforts worked, so the next year he moved to Kirksville.

This doctor had his first real success in Kirksville. As his reputation as a “lightning bonesetter” grew, so did the number of people who went to see him. As time went on, his ideas about how to treat people without drugs became more popular, and people wanted to learn more about this new way to treat people. Still’s unusual ways of treating patients were recognized by the government in 1885, and his ideas led to the birth of Osteopathy.

He first taught his children and a few other people who were interested. In 1892, he started “The American School of Osteopathy.” This project helped Still’s career as a doctor get off the ground.

In 1895, the school’s infirmary building opened, and hundreds of people came from far away to get help there. Because of this, the Wabash Railroad, which ran through the middle of the United States, had to send more passenger trains to Kirksville.

In 1897, he wrote an autobiography called “Autobiography of Andrew Taylor Still with a History of the Discovery and Development of the Science of Osteopathy.” Eleven years later, because the original templates were damaged in a fire, a new version was printed.

Philosophy of Osteopathy, his book about the ideas and theories of Osteopathy, came out in 1899. Three years later, as a follow-up to this work, he wrote a third book called “The Philosophy and Mechanical Principles of Osteopathy.”

Taylor, who was always interested in learning more, didn’t rest on his past successes. Instead, he followed his interest in machines. Some of the first things he made were an improvised butter churner and a machine for cutting grass.

Even though he got a patent for the butter churn, Wood Mowing Machine Company is said to have copied his design for the harvesting machine before he could get a patent.

In 1910, when his second wife Mary Elvira died, he was working on the design of a smokeless furnace burner. Even though he got a patent for the design, he didn’t finish making a model that worked. The same year, his fourth and last book in the Osteopathy series, “Osteopathy Research and Practice,” came out.

His Works of note

In the late 1850s, the 640 acres of land that Andrew and his brother had given were used to lay the first stone of “Baker University.” Still also worked on building things and supervised the building of facilities.

Still is known for being one of the first people to study osteopathy. His idea of “preventive medicine” was the basis for medicine as we know it today. He insisted on regulating the musculoskeletal system instead of giving drugs to treat the diseases.

Awards & Achievements ‘

Andrew Taylor Still was put into the Hall of Famous Missourians in 2013 after he was chosen by the public. In Jefferson City, at the Missouri State Capitol, there is a bronze statue of him.

Personal History and Legacies

Still had three kids from his first marriage, all of whom died of spinal meningitis. After his first wife died while giving birth, he married Mary Elvira Turner. They had a daughter together. Soon after he lost his other children, the girl child died of pneumonia. This made him question the medical practices and beliefs of the time.

Andrew stayed in charge of the “American School of Osteopathy” until the end of his life. In 1914, he had a stroke that left him unable to move. His health started to get worse slowly, and he died three years later. His followers and coworkers at the ASO were sad about the death of “The Old Doctor.”

Estimated Net worth

Andrew is one of the wealthiest doctors and is on the list of the most well-known doctors. Wikipedia, Forbes, and Business Insider all say that Andrew Taylor Still has a net worth of about $5 million.


At the “American School of Osteopathy,” where he studied and worked, his students and coworkers called him the “Old Doctor.”