The story of Dr. JB Gordon is one lost to time and poor record keeping. He was a brilliant man and a skilled doctor, but his revolutionary cure for cancers was yet another victim of a poor line of succession.
John Benjamin Gordon was born on July 31st, 1851, in Southeast Missouri. In 1871 he moved to the recently founded town of Bunker, Missouri. The town was just starting out, still 36 years prior to it’s official founding. In those years from 1871 to 1907 Dr. Gordon became a founding citizen, making his living by using his medical degree to deliver babies and treat the ailments of the local miners and loggers. In emergencies, he would ride miles on horseback to care for his patients, saving the lives of countless townspeople and becoming a beloved member of society. The bustling town grew quickly with it’s vast mining industry and untapped logging forest that attracted ambitious young men from across the country. As the town earned a name for it’s self, so did Dr. Gordon.
Gordon wasn’t limited to the treatment of minor illnesses, and he became known as the “Famous Cancer Doctor” for his ability to cure almost any cancer– now known as tumors. People traveled hundreds of miles to receive treatment from him, and he delivered it. His granddaughter, Alice Windecker, told a 1985 reporter that Dr. Gordon cured patients from Mexico, Canada, and every US state except Utah.
Dr. Gordon told no one of his cancer curing solution, a white paste that cured cancers within days. It was applied to the site of the tumor and wrapped in gauze that couldn’t be removed until after the treatment was over. The patients reported that it burned like fire for days, but in an instant the pain would dissolve and the tumor would be gone. No one knew where he got the paste from or how he discovered it, but they hailed it’s curing ability and he continued with success to cure his patients. By the time he died in 1935 at age 86, he had practiced for 63 years and, according to him, removed 4,413 cancers.
Dr. Gordon wasn’t limited to cancer curing however, and he delivered babies almost daily. He charged $5 per delivery for the entirety of his career, and because his price never went up, he almost everyone in the surrounding areas went to him. During his practice he delivered 6,744 babies, and each of them held a special place in his heart. Because the town and surrounding counties were such tight-knit communities, he stayed in touch with the lives of most of the babies he delivered. This lead to a reunion in August 1928 of some of the babies he delivered.
Dr. Gordon was one of the most respected citizens of the town during his time, being elected mayor, and holding the position of president of the local bank for many years. His practice was located at center of the Main Street, along with the rest of Bunker’s largest businesses.
He married Martha Ann Hall, and they had four children. His daughter Daisy married Emory Highley, the son of the wealthiest man in Bunker who owned the largest store there, Highley’s General Store, something the doctor was very proud of. Dr. Gordon allegedly passed his secret cancer curing formula to his children, although none of them, even Daisy, the longest surviving, never released it to the public for unknown reasons.
Today, in Bunker, Missouri, the town’s population is much smaller than in Dr. Gordon’s time when miners and loggers were flooding in to profit from the boom of opportunity, and there isn’t even a hospital or medical practice for 35 miles.
Dr. JB Gordon is a point of pride for the citizens of this small town, and I am certainly proud to say that he is my great, great, great grandfather. He is a prominent feature in the Bunker Historic Museum, and has an exhibit in a St. Louis Medical Museum. His name is known to nearly everyone in Bunker, even if his ‘miracle cure’ was lost to time.