James W. Gay

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James W. Gay
Dr Gay Herb Healer
Born 1840
Died 1927 (aged 86–87)
Dallas City, Illinois, United States
Occupation Herb healer

Dr. James W. Gay was a herbal Indian medicine man. He was born in the Miami Village on the Wabash River, in the year 1840, and stayed with them until 1854. Dr. James W. Gay's father came from Scotland where he was born in the year 1787. His father practiced medicine among the Miami and Delaware tribes of Indians and white settlers, along the Wabash River. It was there his father met his mother, (half Miami). Dr. James W. Gay did not get along with the Miami chief, so he left the tribe and set out a life of adventure. He followed the setting sun and joined the Pawnees on the Missouri River in the Fall of 1854. He stayed with the Pawnee and helped them with hunting and war. The Sioux was a tribe that had killed his brother. While with the Pawnee's he was at war almost continuously with the Sioux, River, Crows, and Black Foot Indian Tribes in which he was wounded three times.

Dr. Gay left the Pawnee Indians in the year 1859 in order to become educated. He retraced his trail toward the rising sun, and began studying at a school in Illinois. He had used the knowledge of herbal medicine taught from his father when with the Pawnees. While attending this school, he also practiced medicine under the mentorship of Dr. Harvey Mantonya of Fulton County, Illinois. Then in 1861, the American Civil War broke out. Dr. Gay was taught from childhood, "the young warrior first, the old warrior last," so he enlisted as a private in Company G. 55th Regiment of the Illinois Volunteer Infantry. He served as a private in the Battle of Shiloh. During the battle, the Colonel, observed his cool and collective manner and his deliberate aim with his rifle, so the Colonel appointed him Color Bearer of the Regiment. He served in that capacity until July 22, 1864, when he was taken prisoner at the Battle of Atlanta in Georgia. Dr. Gay was taken captive and confined in the "Southern Hell," Andersonville Prison,[1] until September 22, 1864, when he was exchanged on what was known as the "Sherman's Special". When entering Andersonville, Georgia, Dr. Gay weighed 261 lbs., and when exchanged he weighed 136 pounds and was on crutches. While in prison, he relied on the African American prisoners to bring him certain barks and roots, and with these he cured much sickness and healed many gangrenous wounds. Dr. Gay's pay was the gratitude of the poor suffering soldiers. After leaving prison, he soon regained sufficient strength to again take the battlefield but in a different capacity. He was appointed Scout and Messenger for General Steadman, Logan, Lightburn and Col. Mott, and operating in Union with Col. Bronlow and Capt. Littell of the 5th Tennessee Cavalry. He served in this capacity until the end of the war. He was in 32 battles during the Civil War and was wounded twice. At the close of the War, he resumed his practice of Medicine, gathering and manufacturing his own remedies from the "Drug Store" of our "Creator".

Dr Gay fishing in Kansas

Dr. Gay practiced medicine continuously until the Fall of 1901. When he moved from Gladstone, Illinois, to Winfield, Kansas, to retire from active practice and to put his remedies before the public, as he wrote transcripts that wouldn't be published until 2009 by the currently owning descendants of his remedies. On January 28, 1902, Dr. Gay was married to Nellie F. Ammerman and had a daughter, Sylvia N., together. He had several step-children, Harry of Des Moines, Iowa, Mary Eva Thomas of Wichita, Kansas, Ruby Mutter of Burlington, Iowa, Fanny Wilson of San Diego, California, and Clifford Ammerman of Winfield, Kansas.

Dr Gay and treasures

Around 1919, Gay had moved his family to Dallas City, Illinois, where he continued his practice until his death in 1927. Dr. Gay believed in "universal freedom, a free and unlimited future for all men, and a free and untrammeled education". He believed we[who?] should be "self made man" and should "sacrifice life for principle, liberty and government. Merit should be the only scale to weigh man or professions. A man should stand upon his own virtues and his meritous value to the community in which he lives." He believed in "just and equitable laws with special privileges to none, no monopolies should be permitted to entrench themselves behind a legislature enactment for protection, but that each individual or organization should be held strictly accountable for their own acts." He also had written many poems and songs.

We give such balms as have no strife.
With nature or the laws of life.
With blood our hands we never stain.
Nor poison men to ease their pain.


  1. ^ "Andersonville Prison". Retrieved 3 July 2011.