On September 18, 1895, the first chiropractic adjustment is performed, and a new field of medicine is born, along with a healthy number of skeptics. Daniel David Palmer was at various times a beekeeper, school teacher and grocery store owner. He was also a student of mysticism and was interested in physiology.
Palmer was born March 7, 1845 in Pickering, near Toronto, Canada to Katherine McVay and Thomas Palmer. At age twenty he moved to the United States with his family. While living in Davenport, Iowa in 1895, Palmer met a deaf janitor with a back problem. Upon examination, Palmer located a lump in Harvey Lillard’s back. Palmer had already advanced the theory that spinal abnormalities caused most, if not all, diseases and conditions by virtue of disrupting normal nerve flow. When he performed an adjustment on Lillard, which involved the manual manipulation of the spine and surrounding joints, the man’s deafness vanished. Palmer knew he was onto something big. (Lillard’s later account of the event is quite different from what Palmer claimed.)
Palmer founded the Palmer School of Chiropractic in 1897, which, by 1902, had graduated 15 chiropractors. The state of Iowa soon arrested him for the practice of medicine without a license. Rather than pay a fine, he elected to go to jail. After 17 days of incarceration, Palmer changed his mind and paid the fine. He then sold the school to his son, B.J., and moved to the West Coast. He established chiropractic schools in California and Oregon, as well as in Oklahoma.
Daniel David Palmer didn't help the reputation of chiropractors very much. He loved self-promotion and frequently wrote and lectured about chiropractic care with the enthusiasm of a fundamentalist preacher. Here he an extract from a letter he wrote in May 1911:
The practice of chiropractic medicine has remained controversial ever since.
Palmer died in 1913, of typhoid fever.
You can read more about Daniel David Palmer at http://en.citizendium.org/wiki/Daniel_David_Palmer and at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Daniel_David_Palmer.