South Jersey Medical History

James Still, 1812-1882


James Still, known as the Black Doctor of the Pines, was the son of a former slave, grew up in Indian Mills in the New Jersey Pinelands, and became a self-taught doctor.

At 16 he was indentured to a Quaker farmer for three years.  Following that, he worked at several jobs, keeping in his mind the hope of entering medical school.  By the time he was in his early 50's, he had married, bought a small farm, and lost his wife and daughter.  He began, with a used still, to distill roots, berries, and leaves and prepared remedies for family members and, eventually, people from near and far.  As his knowledge and reputation grew, and in spite of attempts by white physicians to keep him from practicing, his practice prospered.

Source: Marino, Gigi.  "Deep Are the Roots."  Rutgers Magazine, Winter 1998 pp. 34-39, 44.

For further reading: Still, James.  Early recollections and life of Dr. James Still. Philadelphia: Lippincott, 1877.  (The book has been reprinted.)


Related Web Sites

"Dr" JAMES STILL--New Jersey pioneer. by W. Montague Cobb.(J Natl Med Assoc. 1963 March; 55(2): 196–199.)

Early recollections and life of Dr. James Still (1877)

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Updated June 10, 2013