experiences have proved of great value to the
career-building of successful conjure doctors.
Extraordinary professional achievements set them apart
from the ordinary conjure people and built patron
confidence. The smarter or “strong minds” rose to
greatness and enjoyed good practice much like
distinguished people in other professions.
stories fascinated the public imagination; they were
told and retold; and became the doctor’s more effective
extraordinary appear many times during Doctor Jordan’s
climb to greatness; and they seem to have been of
greater service during his later practice when he gave
emphasis to faith healing.
twenty-four years the doctor’s business assistant, says
patients who had to be borne into his office would leave
walking; those who could not speak regained their
voices; other resigned to death were restored to normal
Cassel and the doctor’s son Isaac
report one of Jim’s favorite cases:
Henry Mason of
Petersburg, Virginia, weighed just 71 pounds
upon his first visit to Doctor Jordan. He
said he had spent eight months in three
hospitals … in Washington, Baltimore, Chapel
Hill … finally went home with no expectation
At first he felt it
useless to heed a friend’s advice to visit
Doctor Jordan at Como, but eventually he
The doctor went to work
on him with both faith and herb remedies.
Within two months Henry was able to return
to work’ four months later he had regained
all his lost weight.
Henry lives in
Petersburg today. He had returned to Como
several times after Doctor Jordan’s death;
humbly refers to him as “the doctor who
saved my life.”
Dr. L. M. Futrell,
retired practitioner of Murfreesboro, was
asked for an opinion on Henry’s recovery. He
said, “It is very possible that after
medical treatment time was necessary for the
It has been observed that conjure
doctors hold by a general policy of never disclaiming
credit for a miracle-like occurrence.
Joseph Dickerson of Murfreesboro
notes another interesting case. While enroute to
Greensboro in 1957 he had a flat tire a half-mile east
of Burlington. The colored repairman saw his town
license plate and volunteered:
“I have been through
Murfreesboro two times going to Como to see
The man said he had
been seriously ill with high blood pressure,
and after two years he felt his case was
hopeless. Friends visiting from New Jersey
said they were certain the Como doctor could
help him. They told of several of his
“I went to see him just
two times. My blood pressure came right on
down, and for the past two years I have felt
better than anytime in my life.”
What did he give you?
“Something out of a
Peter Britt of Mapleton names a
white neighbor who obtained limited relief from an
Mr. _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _
_ _ suffered from a blood tumor from early
age. He was operated on several times. He
said he went everywhere seeking cure.
Eventually he went to
Jim Jordan; and reported, “Jim said he
couldn’t cure me; but he sure holp me.”
Some of the miracles are
unmistakably fables. Local story tellers say this one
helped more than any other to build the doctor’s
Some New Jersey Negroes
visited Doctor Jordan. One with thievish
hands lifted the doctor’s crystal ball and
hid it in his car. The car immediately
caught on fire. He ran into the doctor’s
office crying, “Help, help; my car’s on
“I know,” said the
solemn doctor; “you stole my ball.”
The man hurriedly
returned the ball and begged, “Where can I
get some water?”
“You don’t need no
water. You have brought my ball back.”
Clarence Green of Severn was living
near Doctor Jordan in 1947. Early one autumn day he
visited the doctor’s store to buy sugar. He observed:
People were arriving at
Doctor Jordan’s place by north and south
buses and cars. His office was full.
An old man who looked
to weigh about 125 pounds was helped by a
woman from a south bound bus. He made his
way to the doctor’s office on crutches.
I struck up a
conversation as he awaited his turn. The old
fellow said he had suffered from arthritis
and rheumatism many years. He had to quit
farming as he ran from one conjure doctor to
another. Eventually he found one who did him
a lot of good; so much, “I got so I could
jump on my mule’s back and gallop to the
house without a pain.”
The doctor eventually
died. The pains returned and the old man
began looking for a new doctor. One day a
friend advised, “That Doctor Jim Jordan down
at Como, North Carolina, is the best.”
A few days later I
asked Jim if he was able to do the old man
“Yes; when he left my
office he lad his crutches down and walked
right on out.”
Henry Edwards of Murfreesboro was
living near Como during World War II. Doctor Jordan
asked him to motor him to Franklin, Virginia:
I told Doctor Jordan I
would gladly accommodate him except my old
car had a bad tire and I was afraid it would
“If dat tire blows out,
I’ll give you a new one,” he promised me.
So I accommodated him.
The tire had a boot in it and bumped there
and back. I thought it would blow any time.
But it waited until I had left the doctor at
his store and was about half a mile on my
Mrs. Jennie Mae Eley tells of
speech restoration to a young man:
A young man who had
lost his speech came to my brother for help.
He had failed to get results from several
other doctors he had visited.
Brother Jim worked on
the young man’s mind; told him that faith
controlled all except physical ailments; and
his affliction was not physical.
Soon the patient began
to talk, praising the doctor for his rare
ISAAC JORDAN, the doctor’s son,
says his father was “the best” in administering
treatment for arthritis and rheumatism. “Many times I
hope carry them from the car. They were with Papa about
25 to 30 minutes. Most of them would come out of his
office talking about miracle he had performed.”
Often the doctor used no medicine,
yet sometimes he advised the patient to see a medical
A STORY at the conclusion of World
War II exemplifies how humor was woven about the
doctor’s practice. This one was heard at Menola:
Soon after the World
War II German surrender a Philadelphia woman
laid her problem before Doctor Jordan.
She had received a
letter from her soldier boy husband he was
boarding ship for home. The news was warming
… except she had been pleasuring during his
absence and was expecting a child within a
“Doctor, can you do
something to delay him until I can get the
The doctor asked of her
finances and learned she could raise no more
He lifted his eyes from
his crystal ball and said solemnly, “Lady,
dat’s a mighty little bit to turn a
battleship around with.”
Yet the good hearted
doctor accepted her mite; told her to go on
home and stop worrying, for everything would
A few months later the
doctor received a letter from the patron
expressing her thanks. The ship bearing the
husband homeward had developed motor trouble
and put into an English port for repairs.
The delay was adequate.
Randolph Whitley tells a 1922
My father Tom Whitley
was living on the Cype Whitley place in
Maney’s Neck Township. In addition to his
row crops he raised about 200 hogs.
One day he had his
Model-T pick-up loaded with hog feed
returning from Murfreesboro. The truck cut
off in front of Jim Jordan’s house. Father
checked everything and it wouldn’t start.
Jim came to the road
and looked on. Soon he offered, “Mr. Tom, if
you give me a bucket of feed for my pigs,
I’ll start your truck.”
Father told him, “I
ain’t going to give you nothing; if I can’t
start it, I know you can’t.”
Father messed with the
truck until he had cranked himself wringing
wet with sweat. He backed away panting, “If
you start that thing, you can have your
bucket of freed.”
Jim insisted on his
feed in advance; brought out a bucket; and
Father tore open a bag and filled it. Jim
started walking toward his house.
“I though you were
going to start this truck!”
Jim looked over his
shoulder and advised casually, Turn on the
switch and try it now.”
The truck caught on the
first turn of the crank.
Amos Hall of Cofield tells a
In 1946 I rode over to Doctor
Jordan’s with Bud Watford of Ahoskie. He went to get his
good luck bag renewed. We returned by Parker’s Ferry.
Before we got to the ferry an old woman stood beside the
road waving her walking cane for a ride. Bud rode right
on, but about a hundred yards further his car cut off.
Bud began checking about his car’s
motor, and the old woman hobbled up. She had grey hair
and looked to be over 70.
“Son, you wouldn’t give me a ride,”
“I was in a hurry and didn’t have
time to stop.”
“You’re stopped now; kin I git in?”
“My car has cut off.”
There ain’t nothing wrong wid it;
put down dat hood and git in.”
The old woman took a seat. Bud
hesitated but stepped on the starter. The motor caught
A short distance more the old woman
pointed her stick at a long lane. We last saw her
hobbling toward a small house far back near the woods.
Mrs. Edwin P. Brown, Sr., of
Murfreesboro, as vice-president of the General
Federation of Woman’s Clubs, attended the national
convention in Portland, Oregon, in 1946. She sat beside
a Richmond, Virginia, woman on a sight-seeing tour of
the city. This story developed:
I told my companion I was from
Murfreesboro, North Carolina.
“Is that near Como?
“Yes just a few miles,” and I was
curious that she should mention such a small place.
“Do you know a Doctor Jim Jordan
“Yes, he is well known.”
“What kind of practice does he do?”
I explained several of the popular
notions relating to his conjure business. Then she told
a story of her colored servant.
“She got sick, and since my husband
is a general practitioner he was looking after her. One
day she said she was feeling no better and wanted to go
see a Doctor Jordan at Como. She had been with us a long
time and we pampered her. My husband gave her permission
and advanced the money for the visit. When she returned
she said she was feeling much better and soon stopped
Henry Ricks of Como:
I was at Doctor
Jordan’s store when a New York man came up.
I talked with him while he waited for the
He showed me a sore
under an eye and said he had seen several
doctors and they couldn’t make it heal. He
seemed afraid it was cancer.
“A friend told me of
Doctor Jordan, but I was afraid at first to
I was at the doctor’s
store about a week later and talked with the
man again. He said he was improving. Then I
happened to see him on his third visit. He
said, “I’m doing fine.” The sore looked to
me like it had healed.
The man was so pleased
he insisted that Jim take $100.00 extra as a
A New York woman arrived at
Underwood’s (Bus) Station in Murfreesboro after a visit
to Doctor Jordan’s office. She told Cecil Forehand, Jr.,
A woman crossed me up.
The doctors didn’t do me no good, and a
friend told me “You go on down to Como,
North Carolina, and Doctor Jordan can take
He surely is a fine
doctor. I got faith in him, and I believe
I’m going to be alright.
Roy Johnson • The Fabled Doctor Jim Jordan • ©
Copyright 1963 •Johnson Publishing Co.• Murfreesboro, N.
* * *
posted 28 December 2006
/ update 23 June 2008