Extracts were taken from his autobiography, The Modern Bethesda, Or the Gift of Healing Restored (1879)

Dr. James Rogers Newton was born in Newport, Rhode Island, on September 8th, 1810, and was a lineal descendant of John Rogers, who was burned at the stake.

In his youth, Dr. Newton enjoyed all the advantages that competence and good judgment could confer. He early evinced a strong proclivity for the medical profession, or more properly speaking, an inclination to do battle with old Allopathy, to modify and improve, if not to entirely change, the prevailing system of medical practice, so as to make it more in accordance with nature’s laws; but various circumstances combined to prevent the gratification of his desires.

At an early age he became aware of possessing the gift of healing, which he demonstrated amply throughout his adult life. He became conscious of new powers, new capabilities, wonderful and strange, and opening a glorious avenue of usefulness; and his young, enthusiastic spirit burned for the work. But meeting with no encouragement, he suffered his gift to lie cooperatively undeveloped until later years.

For twenty years, he was a prosperous merchant, during which time his peculiar gift was often manifested but never exercised to any great extent until the year 1858. He traveled through parts of Europe investigating hydropathic (water therapy) hospitals and improved his knowledge of healing.

Dr. Newton was a man of most pleasing presence and great manners and reports about him stated that he was very modest of his great abilities, and when he spoke he always acted as a gentleman of refinement and intellect.

He held none of his activities in secret, but welcomed scientific investigation and he always endeavored to promulgate to the world his principles of cure as well as to show how the life principle, or vital force, can be imparted by a positive will from a strong and healthy body to a sickly and weak one, producing an instantaneous cure of the most chronic diseases.

Newton disclaimed any miraculous powers, but declared that the results he produced were founded on philosophic and scientific principles which can, in a measure, be taught. He felt that his extraordinary powers over disease were due to the philanthropic idea of always doing good, projecting love, and his positive character.

In 1853, Dr. Newton was a passenger on the steamer, Golden Gate, from Panama to San Francisco. The second day yellow fever broke out among the 1,300 passengers which also included several physicians. The fever raged for eight days, with seventy-four persons dying and their bodies being consigned to the ocean. The ship’s surgeon lost every patient but one that he attended. Dr. Newton lost none.

In 1858, Dr. Newton commenced practice as a public healer in Cincinnati, Ohio. Despite the usual amount of incredulity and skepticism attendant on the introduction of a new system of curing disease, virtually all who saw his work were compelled to believe. After performing some very wonderful cures, his fame and practice were so great that his rooms were daily crowded with invalids. His average number of daily healings the first several months was about one hundred per day.

The following people’s cases were notarized and attested to by the most notable individuals in the city:

  • John Hutchinson, Frankfort, Indiana; cured of paralysis in the leg in 15 minutes
  • Miss Catherine Johnson, Cincinnati; blind for 15 years, restored in 15 minutes; and could see to read and work
  • Mrs. Elizabeth Miller, Lawrenceburg; rheumatism for 20 years, restored to health in minutes
  • William Rolls, cataracts on eyes; perfectly restored to sight in 15 minutes
  • Mrs. Francesco, Cleveland; internal ulcers, discharging a pint daily; cured in 10 minutes (her husband was the sexton at White’s Plymouth Church)
  • Maria Louisa Crane, 320 George Street, Cincinnati; spine disease for over two years, legs withered and drawn up; 5 months previous to being cured, could not be turned in bed, but lay in one position; fully restored in 15 minutes
  • Mrs. Bromwell, 293 George St, Cincinnati; had lost all use of her limbs by spinal disease, had not walked for 8 months; restored in 20 minutes and walked to her hotel
  • George Bechtolds, Newport, Kentucky; daughter aged eight years, spine disease and had never walked, moved about room after 15 minutes of treatment
  • Frances Harty, fourteen years old, 169 West Fourth Street; hip disease, walked on all-fours without a crutch, cured in 30 minutes and never used crutch afterward
  • Mrs. Elizabeth Wallace, Broadway St; totally blind in one eye, and could not distinguish any person four feet distant with the other – both eyes fully restored in 20 minutes
  • Jane Scott, Third St, Cincinnati; lame ankle, scarcely able to walk for 12 years, made to walk without halt or limp in 15 minutes

The case of Alexander Fairchild deserves special note and he wrote the following letter to the local newspaper:

‘Two years ago I was taken with fever, was confined to my bed, and lost all use of my legs, which were drawn up and anchylosed. So great was my debility that for five months my head was not raised from the pillow to receive nourishment. I am twenty-five years old, five feet seven and one-half inches high, yet my weight was then about fifty pounds. Midway between my knee and hip I could span my legs with my thumb and middle finger. It is over a year since I was given over as incurable.

‘Last May you published an account of a cure performed by Dr. J.R. Newton, who was then at the Gibson House. My friends were thereby induced to have him come to see me. By the first treatment my whole system was vitalized and invigorated; then one leg was relieved and straightened; the next day the other; and the next day I walked. This was twelve weeks ago and I have increased in strength ever since. I now weigh 135 pounds. I walk out daily and am often in the office of Dr. Newton, and see much of his astounding cures of all kinds of disease.’

Dr. H. T. Child, an eminent physician of the Allopathic profession reported, ‘I saw him operate on more than one hundred persons with various forms of disease. His rooms were crowded with patients who were lame, halt and blind. Of these cases I will mention a case of paralysis. An old man, a painter by trade, came hobbling in on two crutches. He said he had not been able to rise from his seat or walk without aid for eight months. In about twenty minutes he rose up and waked away, going up and down stairs without a cane or crutch.’

Austin A Hill, was Dr. Newton’s personal secretary for many years. Mr Hill wrote, ‘I first met Dr. Newton in the summer of 1863, and since we both seemed to suit each other I became his secretary. Dr. Newton had large crowds that visited him on New York Street in New Haven Connecticut.

‘Of the many people who visited him, the following stood out during my first year I met him:

Miss Caroline F. Davis, of Guilford, CT; was brought on a bed sixteen miles, afflicted with spinal disease and she had not walked for 6 years, or spoken above a whisper for 4 years; she was cured instantly. She walked away rejoicing and talked as freely as anyone. Miss Davis later visited the Doctor in New York. She said she came to thank him for what he did for her three years earlier.’

‘Mrs. Wm. Toohy, of Hartford; was brought into our rooms in her husband’s arms; she had spinal problems; she instantly was able to walk.

‘Another case of equal prominence was that of Hon. D.L. Harris, formerly mayor of Springfield, but at the time was a member of the Massachusetts Legislature. Mr. Harris had been injured in a carriage accident and couldn’t walk. In less than 5 minutes he could walk without any assistance.’

Mr. Hill also said, ‘During my time with the Dr. Newton, the number of names of the people who registered with us was approximately 10,000, but fully nine-tenths were free patients, or those not liable to pay for treatment – the Doctor’s rule being that if a patient was worth less than $1,000, he or she was cured, ‘without money and without price.’

A remarkable case was reported by Mr. Hill as well as the Toldeo Record newspaper. ‘Margaret Fuller fell from a horse at fourteen years old and injured her spine that that her lower limbs were totally paralyzed. In this condition she succeeded in getting an education and became a teacher. Her brothers built a sort of ‘go-cart’ in which they used to draw her back and forth from school. Later, she finally married Mr. Fuller, and went to live at Tontogany, Ohio. She had eight children, two of which were in the northern army and became lieutenants. Not one of those eight children ever saw her stand on her feet or walk a step in their lives.

‘In this condition she was brought to Dr. Newton, sitting on the hands of two men. In less than 10 minutes she came walking out of the treatment room. She came out saying, ‘how strange this seems!’ ‘The doctor told her to go down and have a steak broiled, and eat a good hearty meal, and fear nothing.’

After this case the rush of invalids was truly amazing. Six extra cars had to be added to the morning train to accommodate those wishing to visit the ‘great healer.’

It was reported that when Dr. Newton visited Portland, Maine, he met with a young boy, who was about fifteen or sixteen years of age, who was a patient of Dr. Stone. Dr. Stone had known this boy from childhood. Both of the boy’s feet turned in till the toes pointed nearly toward each other. Dr. Stone approached Dr. Newton at a lecture and asked, ‘Can you do anything for this lad?’ ‘Yes, come here, my lad.’ Within minutes of touching him; the boys feet turned out and he walked perfectly with a wonderful gait.

Mr. Hill had the following to add regarding Dr. Newton: ‘to me Dr. Newton was more than generous. He was noble in character and always just in his dealings. I could not help loving him for what he was. Though junior in years, he was like an elder brother or father. From his lips I never heard a profane or obscene word or expression, and nothing seemed to offend him. He was a man of powerful physique and strong passions, and when he heard the word humbug used and applied to him, the fire of those dark hazel eyes and a simple admonition were sufficient to make the stoutest and most hardened, quail and humbly apologize, or quickly leave his presence. He always retired by ten o’clock, unless engaged in visiting the sick or perhaps amused with a game of dominoes. No matter how hard he worked, in the morning he would appear as bright as the lark. When not feeling exactly well, he asked me to lend him my magnetism when I would sit by him, with my hand on his head, or his hands in mine, and in a few minutes he would be fresh as ever.’

When asked about his healing he would say, ‘What did the Great Teacher say? He that lives as I live, the works that I do shall he do also, and still greater works.’

Dr. Newton’s motto was, God is love, and love is the link that binds in one, all human souls to God. Newton had no doubts whether he would cure or not. ‘The difference between him and us was that he was conscious of his power, while we were conscious of our want of power.’

At a meeting in England, Dr. Newton stated, ‘As to the power of healing, it is merely an illustration of the power of love. When any sick person comes before me, I lay my hands on that person and feel that I love him; tell him I love him and if the patient is not antagonistic, he is almost sure to be healed because this opens their heart to me and the disease must depart.’

Throughout his healing career, Dr. Newton was very well liked by all class of people. He had no difficulty relating to anyone that he met.

Dr. Newton was engaged in three lawsuits during his life. Individuals who were jealous of his work did their best to impede his activities. During one case over one thousand people produced notarized statements of his healing ability and success with them.