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J.W. Winkley was the editor of The New Thought Magazine Practical Ideals and one of the first New Thought MD's.
Links to J.W. Winkley's Works:
J. W. Winkley, wrote two books, First Lessons in New Thought, and John Brown, the Hero.
The first proved to be quite a money maker prompting him to create 3 subsequent editions
in which he continued his examination of the various strains of New Thought, making minor corrections
while detailing how New Thought / Mental Science / Mind Cure was evolving.
Winkley began his path into New Thought in the same manner
as many of the early New Thought pioneers, as a young abolitionist.
In Winkley's case, he ventured to Kansas Territory with his brothers in 1856
anti-slavery Free State settlers
It did not take long for them to be dragged into the conflict
to which Horace Greeley gave the name
"The brothers Winkley and their comrades took up
arms in the neighborhood of Osawatomie... the
first two weeks in August" 1856 after ongoing attacks by
pro-slavery "Border Ruffians" from Missouri.
John Brown chronicled the attacks on August 16, 1856 while a prisoner
of Captain Sackett who commanded a force uf United States dragoons.
"During the past month the
have been actively at work, and
have made not less than five intrenched camps, where they have, in
different parts of the Territory, established themselves in armed bands,
well provided with arms, provisions, and ammunition. From these camps
they sally out, steal horses, and rob
Free State settlers
(in several cases
murdering them), and then slip back into their camp with their plunder."
Following the Osawatomic fight of August 30, "young Winkley, in the log-cabin
of the missionary Adair, husband of Brown's half-sister, saw John Brown
sternly mourning over the body of his son Frederick, killed on the morning
of the fight, on the high prairie above Osawatomie."
This encounter led to the Winkley brothers recruitment into John Brown's
Which was the name given to Free-Staters who were known to help run away slaves
which was deemed an economic crime (theft.)
These Free Staters wanted to defeat the proslavery Southern Missouri Slavers
who desired that the Kansas Territory be admitted to the Union as a slave state.
Kansas–Nebraska Act of 1854
Congress had left the question
of whether a state would be free or slave up to the settlers in that territory
to determine by vote. The result had been that thousands of
from the neighboring state of Missouri (often pronounced Misery by locals)
poured into the Kansas Territory with the goal of making it a slave state.
Brown operated an independent unit of anti-slavery militia
seeking revenge for
attacks on settlers and in particular for the
Sacking of Lawrence, Kansas
by pro-slavery forces under the leadership of
Sheriff Samuel J. Jones.
Jones and other
were supported by secret funding from pro-slavery
Southern fundamentalists led by Senator David Rice Atchison.
The previous year, Atchison had called on
pro-slavery Missourians to uphold slavery by force
declaring "kill every God-damned abolitionist in the district."
On March 30, 1855, Atchison led 5,000
seizing control of the polls and stuffing the ballot boxes with
tens of thousands of fraudulent votes for pro-slavery candidates.
They elected a pro-slavery legislature, then attempted to convince
the general public with a "fake news"
campaign pushing lies that the locals wanted Kansas to be a slave state.
Fortunately, real journalists documented Atchison's crimes.
This led to
Senaator Charles Sumner
exposing Atchison's role in the invasion, tortures, and killings of settlers in Kansas
in his epic
"Crimes Against Kansas"
speech on May 19, 1856.
For two days, Sumner listed crime, after crime, in detail,
using the documentation provided by newspapers and letters of the time,
showing the tortures and violence committed by Atchison and his
The fallout of Atchison's crimes led the Winkley Brother's
to fall in with the not yet famous John Brown in order
to combat the Missouri slavers.
It was not long before members of Brown's militia, noticed that
the young Winkley
"was possessor of a peculiar psychical faculty"
they called "finding the way."
"From a boy, a mere child, he may say, it
was known among [Winkley's] playmates
that he could lead them safely and
surely to any place or object, when
there was doubt about its locality,
and could also discover the whereabouts of things lost."
This faculty enabled John Brown and his men under the guidance
of Winkley to outmaneuver the "Ruffians of Misery" as some called them.
"This gift was brought into play
many times during the two years of
Kansas events sketched here, and
served us well."
The recognition of Winkley's psychic ability inspired
a lifelong interest in spirituality. His multiple brushes
with death inspired him to become a doctor.
Winkley's spiritual explorations followed the same course
of many of the early New Thought pioneers. He was a
strong proponent of Human Rights writing:
"The truth, we think, may be told
in a word: John Brown belonged to
the 'old order,' which is passing
away. Heaven speed its end! He
was a man of war ...
we must turn to our higher ideal, —
those of the 'new order,' the men of peace."
pg 124, John Brown, the hero; personal reminiscences by J. W. Winkley 1905
Stumbling upon Christian Science Winkley became intrigued,
but at first confused about the difference between Mental Science
versus Christian Science. His ongoing work revealed to him
that the "Eddyists" believed everything to be an illusion.
This led to his enthusiastic participation in the New Thought / Mental Science Movement,
Winkley established the Church of the Divine Unity in 1886.
He also worked on the early New Thought periodical Mental Healing Monthly,
as well as being one of the founders of the Metaphysical Club.