Texas Day by Day
On this day in Texas history…
Generous curandero dies in South Texas
July 3rd, 1907
On this day in 1907, Pedro (Don Pedrito) Jaramillo, curandero or "faith healer," died in South Texas. He was born of Tarascan Indian parents near Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico, in the mid-nineteenth century. He moved to South Texas as a young man in 1881 and settled on the Los Olmos Ranch, in the area of what is now northern Brooks County. He later related that when he was still a poor laborer in Mexico he suffered an affliction of the nose. One night he was in such pain that he went out into the woods to a pool of water. He lay down and buried his face in the mud at the edge and remained there for three days. When he had cured himself he returned to his house and fell asleep. A voice awakened him and told him that he had received the gift of healing from God. He began his practice as a faith healer almost immediately, prescribing the first thing that he thought of and making no charge for his services. At that time the only doctor between Corpus Christi and Laredo lived in San Diego; therefore, Don Pedrito's powers were often sought. At first he treated only close neighbors, but soon he began visiting ranches throughout the region between the Nueces River and the Rio Grande. Dressed as a Mexican peasant, wearing heavy shoes, a sombrero, and a cowboy vest, he either walked or rode a donkey on his healing missions. As his fame spread, an increasing number of patients came to his home. Most were poor Mexican Americans, and often Don Pedrito would provide the remedies he prescribed. He constantly received money through the mail in the form of donations, usually in the amount of fifty cents or a dollar. He made generous donations to several area churches and to the constant stream of poor people visiting his ranch. He bought food in wagonloads and kept his storeroom well stocked. More than $5,000 in fifty-cent pieces was found at his home when he died. Don Pedrito never married, but he adopted two boys. He was buried in the old ranch cemetery near Falfurrias. His resting place has become a shrine and is visited by several hundred persons yearly. A biography of him, Don Pedrito Jaramillo: Curandero, was written in Spanish by Viola Ruth Dodson and published in 1934.