Don Pedro Jaramillo

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Don Pedro Jaramillo
Don Pedro Jaramillo.jpg
Don Pedro Jaramillo, curandero faith healer from South Texas
El Mero Jefe, Healer of Los Olmos, Curandero, Healer
Born Guadalajara, Mexico
Died 1907
Starr County, Texas
Venerated in Folk Catholicism
Patronage Cures, good health, fortune, healing, protection from diseases

Don Pedro Jaramillo, was a curandero, faith healer, and folk saint from the South Texas Valley region. He is known as "the healer of Los Olmos creek and "el mero jefe" (English: the real chief) of the curanderos.[1][2][3] [4]


Jaramillo was born in Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico to Purépecha Indian parents,[3] and died at an unknown age in Starr County, Texas in 1907. Jaramillo first came to notice when he arrived at the Los Olmos ranch near Falfurrias, Texas and he announced he was a curandero and began treating the Mexican families in the region. At the height of his career, families from as far away as New York City would travel to seek help from Jaramillo.[1][2]

Jaramillo's story as a curandero begins when he was suffering from a nose ailment and as a cure, daubed his nose with mud at the edge of a pool. Three days of this self-prescribed treatment cured the ailment, however it left Jaramillo with an identifying scar on his nose. On the third night of this treatment, Jaramillo believes he heard a voice telling him God had given him the power to heal. Testing such power, he prescribed a tepid bath to his master which healed his ailment.[1][3]

The first accounts of his cures and powers were collected and printed in 1934 in Spanish, they were later in 1951 translated to English.,[5] Don Pedro is not only noted for his healing, but also his generosity. In Alice, Texas, it was recorded that he would sometimes buy $500 worth of goods at a time, simply to feed the poor. [6] On his travels, Don Pedro was accompanied by a friend, Teofilo Barraza. Because of Don Pedro's popularity, large groups of people would camp at Los Olmos Creek awaiting his return from a curing trip.[7]

There is a shrine at his burial site on FM Highway 1418, in Falfurrias, and also a state historical marker. The Texas State historical marker was dedicated in 1971 and is the first in Texas to be written in both English and Spanish.[8] [9] His popularity continues and he has even had songs written about him. "Don Pedrito Jaramillo by Rene Joslin Y Los Favoritos , Vol. 1 [Audio]". ASIN B000SF0G4M. 

First Bilingual Texas State Roadside historical marker 1971


In many of Jaramillo's treatments the number nine plays a prominent role. For example, he would often prescribe treatments to be taken for nine consecutive nights, or in quantities of nine. There are also stories of people who did not follow his instructions, or changed his prescription, and then failed to recover; in these tellings, only those who followed his treatments exactly as prescribed achieved complete recovery. Jaramillo's cures were often miraculous in nature, even to the point of curing paralysis.[1][2]

Water has also been identified as a central theme in Jaramillo's cures, often requiring the ailing person to drink water for a specified length of time, or bathing in water a certain number of days.[2] F

Other abilities[edit]

Some of the tales portray Pedro Jaramillo as clairvoyant. He would know inherently if someone was lying about an illness or ailment. In one story he knew of a conversation that took place without him present. In Mexican culture, Jaramillo is displayed prominently in adorning homes in the form of paintings and statues.[1][2]


  1. ^ a b c d e Dorson, Richard M. (August 1972). Buying the Wind: Regional Folklore in the United States. University of Chicago Press. pp. 418, 419. ISBN 0-226-15862-4. 
  2. ^ a b c d e West, John (May 2007). Mexican-American Folklore. August House. ISBN 0-87483-059-1. 
  3. ^ a b c Silverthorne, Elizabeth (1997). Women Pioneers in Texas Medicine. Texas A&M University Press. ISBN 0-89096-789-X. 
  4. ^ Torres, Eliseo (2006). Healing with Herbs and Rituals: A Mexican Tradition. UNM Press. ISBN 0826339611. 
  5. ^ "JARAMILLO, PEDRO". Historical. Texas State Historical Association. November 2, 1934. Retrieved March 21, 2015. 
  6. ^ "The Southwest: The Greenwood Encyclopedia of American Regional Cultures". Book. Greenwood. December 30, 2004. Retrieved March 21, 2015. 
  7. ^ "People flock to folk saint who died 106 years ago". News. University of Texas Institute of Texan Cultures at San Antonio. December 2, 1982. Retrieved March 21, 2015. 
  8. ^ "The Unnoticed Shrine of Don Pedrito Jaramillo". News. University of Texas Institute of Texan Cultures at San Antonio. December 12, 2012. Retrieved March 21, 2015. 
  9. ^ "Don Pedrito Jaramillo : folk healer". Book. Texas A&M Health Science Center. October 27, 2013. Retrieved March 21, 2015.