Biography of American Healer Francis Schlatter Part 1

About the American faith healer Francis Schlatter who is now largely forgotten, history and biography of the man.


FRANCIS SCHLATTER (1852?-1896?).


Francis Schlatter is one of the most thoroughly forgotten yet intriguing figures to have emerged from the whirlwind of events at the turn of this century. For a brief period in 1895, thousands of persons flooded into Denver to see and be healed by him. It is peculiar that when he felt his work was done, Schlatter disappeared completely from contemporary and historical recollection.

Accounts of Schlatter's life are scant. Newspapers liked to style him as a "Christ," and it was even suggested that he was the legendary Wandering Jew. In fact, Francis Schlatter was a German immigrant, born around 1852 in rural Alsace, where he received a few years of education and was trained in the cobbler's trade by his father. With the death of his parents in 1880 and 1881, he left for England. From there he moved to the U.S. and settled in Jamesport, N. Y.

The young Schlatter who arrived in the village of Jamesport was not a very remarkable person.

His few acquaintances remembered him as shy, serious, punctual. He was diligent in his cobbler's trade, and his only known diversions were reading geometry and playing croquet. Francis had one close friend, a fellow boarder named Ryan. Ryan's sudden and unfortunate death in 1890 seemed, in the eyes of the villagers, to have left Francis badly shaken. He began to speak of mystical persuasions and of dreams filled with white-robed women. He corresponded with Helen Wilmans, a Florida faith healer, and urged his acquaintances to read her books.

Francis's growing fascination with the "New Thought" mysticism of that time and his connection with Helen Wilmans caused him to leave Jamesport in 1891 for Denver. Denver in the 1890s was the Haight-Ashbury of Populist America. The papers daily chronicled such "astounding things" as airplanes and ministers' strikes; and under the aegis of New Thought, spiritualists of every stripe were invoking and investigating a panoply of powers and secrets.

Schlatter seems to have kept oddly aloof from most of this, content perhaps to be among kindred spirits. Under the direction of Helen Wilmans, Schlatter began to cultivate his own healing powers--first through vigorous physical exercise and then through extensive prayer and fasting.

One day, while daydreaming at his cobbler's bench, Francis Schlatter was directed by a voice to begin healing. His first attempts were timorous and largely unsuccessful. But from then on Schlatter unquestioningly followed the dictates of the voice. His only explanation, in later years, was that this was the "Father" who empowered and directed him in his healing.

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