Monday, February 18, 2013


Dr. Benjamin R. Johnson, C. B. Johnson and Frank F. Pyott practiced in Mt. Pleasant and Sanpete County

The history of chiropractic in Utah  is closely related with legal procedure.  As soon as the first chiropractors came to the state and commenced the practice of their profession, they received letters stating the following, "Dear Doctor, You are hereby notified to cease Chiropractic Adjustments or treatments until you have complied with the law." Signed by R. W. Fisher, Secretary, Board of Medical Examiners of the State of Utah, Salt Lake City, September 16, 1908.

Some of the chiropractors, after receiving such a letter, rather than be placed in an unfavorable light before the public and made to fight the case in the courts, decided to leave the state and let the rough pioneering fall on other practitioners.  There were many, however, who took but little or no notice of these letters and continued their practices. 

In 1915 Benjamin R. Johnson, C. B. Johnson and Frank F. Pyott began their chiropractic services in Sanpete County and built up successful practices in Mount Pleasant, Ephraim, and Manti.  In September of 1915 they were arrested.  Their trials terminated unsuccessfully in September of 1916, with a sentene of $100. or 100 days in jail.  Doctor Pyott paid his fine and Doctor Johnson decided rather than pay a fine he preferred to go to jail.  He commenced serving his sentence on September 26, 1916, in the Sanpete County jail at Manti. His friends were highly wrought up over this affair and practically every taxpayer in the county signed a petition to the board of pardons asking for his release.  The Mount Pleasant Pyramid published on December 2, 1916 

 "About fifty of Dr. B. R. Johnson's patients from nearly every town in Sanpete County called at the County Courthouse in Manti, Wednesday, November 29th and unknown to him, paid the unexpired portion of his fine in pennies, obtained his release and stormed his cell.  The release was presented to Doctor Johnson by little Arba Sanders of Fairview, upon whose case he was convicted of  'practicing medicine' some two months ago.  Doctor Johnson received a pardon by the State Board of Pardons recently conditioned upon his refraining from giving his services to the public until he secured a medical license.  This condition was impossible to comply with because the state medical examiners refuse to consider his application for a license because he is not a graduate of a medical college.  The medical examiners do not recognize a chiropractic college, of which Doctor Johnson is a graduate.  Therefore he refused to accept the pardon because his duty to the sick would not permit it.  Doctor Johnson's friends and patients were not satisfied with the action of the board of pardons, so they decided to take matters in their own hands with the result of Doctor Johnson was released and spent Thanksgiving with his wife and family in Mount Pleasant."

It can be said to the credit of the chiropractic profession in Utah that its upholders are men and women of integrity, ability and devotion to duty.  They are a people who will sacrifice much for the principle and rather than flee from the state to safety they prefer to be classed as lawbreakers, subject to arrest, criminal prosecution, fine and imprisonment, for the high regard for duty which they feel they owe the people of this state.

Practically every reputable chiropractor in the state has been subjected to one or two arrests, and some of them have had false serious charges preferred against them which have had a tendency to cast reflection on their ability, integrity and patriotism, but notwithstanding this they are still giving their services to the public.  They maintain that it is far better to jeopardize their personal welfare in serving the people of this state than to elect a path of least resistance by going to a state where the science of chiropractic has legal recognition and regulation.

To remedy the controversies in the courts, each legislative session since 1911 has been asked by those interested in chiropractic to give adequate consideration to this matter.  At first the request was practically ignored, but in later sessions the legislators were so flooded with requests from the people by petitions and personal letters to regulate the science of chiropractic that much support was given the subject by the legislators.  A bill to regulate chiropractic and drugless healing was introduced in the senate of the 1913 session and passed with but two opposing votes.  This bill was sifted out by the house sifting committee.  In 1915 there was introduced into the house a bill to recognize chiropractic.  This bill passed with only one vote against it.  The senate adjourned before a vote was taken on the measure.  In each of these sessions a great deal  of opposition from medical sources was manifest and the legislators were at a loss to know just what to do.  But, apparently, the fact that medical ideas have been given credence for so long led them to believe that such opposition could not be mistaken and therefore the chiropractic position must be wrong. 

The 1917 session was characterized by a stormy fight in the house of representatives, the chiropractic bill losing by a vote of twenty to twenty three.  The session of 1919 was even more stormy.  The chiropractic measure was introduced early in the house of representatives and it was fought strenuously at every angle, but finally passed with but a few votes in opposition.  The opponents of the measure, realizing that an overwhelming majority of the legislators were in favor of chiropractic, resorted to new tactics.  It consisted in assuming a willingness to have chiropractic regulated, but insisted that the science and practitioners of chiropractic be placed under the control of the regular medical board.  This appealed to many senators as being the proper solution of the problem, consequently a bill which had been introduced by the medical interests passed.  The chiropractic bill was laid on the table in the senate and was never recalled, although several ineffectual attempts were made to resurrect it.  The medical substitute bill was killed in the house by a big majority.  At this writing the law stands as it was eight years ago. (1919)

The chiropractors of the state have organized themselves into state and county organizations and through this means have been able to protect and conserve the interests of chiropractic and chiropractors.  The officeship of the Utah Chiropractors Association for 1919 is:  N. L. Cottam, president; Mrs F. M. Colson, vice presicent; Frank F.Pyott, secretary treasurer; and M. G. Hansen and J. M. Grant, directors.  The Salt Lake County Chiropractors Association is presided over by W. H. Pyot, B. R. Johnson, vice president, and P. E. Erickson, secretary-treasurer.  Through these organizations the services of chiropractors have been offered free of charge to the city, state and national government during the progress of the war.  It is with regret by the chiropractors that such offers were not accepted.  As the the final triumph of the science of the chiropractic in Utah, no member of the profession will be a theme for eulogy by the coming generations. 

(taken from "UTAH SINCE STATEHOOD 1919,  Volume I, pages 715-720

The above newspaper article  and advertisement were found by Judy Malkiewicz.  Thankyou Judy


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