The wonderful spirit of Dr. James Martin Peebles graced the Earth with his loving presence from 1822 to 1922, making his transition and passing from the Earth plane just shy of his one hundredth birthday. He led an exciting and accomplished life as a well-known Spiritualist, noted author and journalist, international lecturer, teacher, minister, physician, civil-rights activist and world traveler. He leaves behind a wealth of information about his life for us to explore that helps us readily understand the man, the spirit, and his message of enduring hope, love and respect for all life. His many diverse experiences in this last incarnation depicts a man who made meaningful contributions to the world, a wise spirit who even now speaks to us from beyond the grave, moving us with his wisdom and great love for all mankind.
Born on March 23, 1822 in Whitingham, Vermont to parents of Scottish descent, “Jimmie” displayed an early penchant for poetry, language arts, teaching and being of service to others. He was enthusiastic in his studies, revealing great leadership qualities in oratory skills. His interest in philosophy, religion and a “love of truth” steered him away from the orthodox studies of his upbringing as he become enthralled with Universalism. By the tender age of twenty, he entered the ministry dedicating his life to a higher calling and putting his soul into his work.
As the years went by, he continued to grow and serve in many ways. His personal life as well as his professional pursuits expanded greatly as he embraced a new philosophy of life: Spiritualism, a spiritual movement that was quickly spreading across the world. As he enthusiastically preached this new form of spirituality, he became well known as “The Spiritual Pilgrim” traveling extensively throughout the United States and the world (he journeyed around the world five times). His accomplishments included publishing over thirty books, writing numerous articles and essays, penning a column for a Spiritualist paper, and lecturing internationally. He studied and completed his medical degree at age 54 and was very active in holistic medicine as a practitioner, business owner and faculty member of various medical and science colleges. Defending the underdog was often a work of the heart for Dr. Peebles as he worked diligently on labor issues and for the civil rights of Indians, African-Americans, Chinese immigrants and women. He was also appointed by President Grant as U.S. Counsel to Turkey which he served for two years and as a delegate to several international peace conferences.
His love of spiritual philosophy combined with a need to discover the truth led him on a quest to explore and study all aspects of Spiritualism including communicating with the “dead”. As a result, he experienced an exciting and undeniable world of disincarnate spirits, angels and many friends and allies. A medium himself, he became increasingly aware of the spirit beings and angels around him (fondly called his “band of angels”) and realized that communication was very beneficial offering him many important insights and meaningful guidance for all aspects of his life.
These mystical revelations fed his passionate need to share the truths he had learned to become an influential and highly respected leader in the Spiritualist movement of the nineteenth century. He traveled the world in his long life with countless public appearances, lectures, fellowships, business and educational ventures and alliances with various societies and world-wide organizations.
Dr. Peebles passed from this world on February 15, 1922 in Los Angeles, California, making his transition to his spiritual home thirty-six days short of his one hundredth birthday. Obituaries of his esteemed life appeared in the Los Angeles Times and the New York Times.
Two authorized biographies were written about Dr. Peebles: A Biography of James Martin Peebles by Edward Whipple (1871) and The Spiritual Pilgrim by J. O. Barrett (1901). For those interested in learning more of the life of Dr. Peebles, you will find the aforementioned biographies as well as a wealth of information available online. He was indeed a fascinating and wonderful man and continues to be an intriguing source of wisdom and guidance for us all.