Aunt Sally (Brinkley), River Township
The roughhewn granite marker to Aunt Sally stands almost eight-feet tall and four-feet wide on a single granite base. The right center of the granite block has a bronze plaque with the inscription. On the left carved in relief on the stone and forming a half circle is a shroud, with roses and the words AUNT SALLY. To the left of this marker is a NC Highway Historical Marker for Dr. John R. Brinkley, a famous “quack” doctor from the 1930s who had the marker erected in memory of his Aunt Sally. [See subject notes and links below for more on Dr. Brinkley.]
Images: Plaque | Aunt Sally memorial with the NC Highway historical marker "JOHN R. BRINKLEY 1885-1942"
THE BOYHOOD HOME / OF / DR. JOHN R. BRINKLY / AND HIS / AUNT SALLY /
HER GRAVE IS ON THE HILL- / TOP ACROSS THE RIVER. SHE IS / REMEMBERED AND LOVED FOR / HER MINISTRATIONS TO THE / SICK OF THIS COMMUNITY /
THIS MARKER ERECTED IN 1937 / IN LOVING MEMORY / BY / HER “LITTLE BOY JOHNNY” / SHE WAS THE ONLY MOTHER I / EVER KNEW. / J.R. BRINKLEY, M.D.
35.290530 , -83.144770 View in Geobrowse
McGown, Harry. “Dr. Brinkley’s Doctor Book,” NC Miscellany: Exploring History, Literature, and Culture of the Tar Heel State, University of North Carolina, (accessed May 10, 2021) Link
NC Department of Cultural Resources. “John R. Brinkley, Q-52,” North Carolina Highway Historical Marker Program, ncmarkers.com, (accessed May 10, 2021) Link
Powell, William S. “Brinkley, John Romulus (Afterward Changed to Richard), NCPedia.org, 1979, (accessed May 10, 2021) Link
“You Never Know Where a Large Dose of Curiosity May Lead You,” The Dispatch (Lexington, NC), the-dispatch.com, July 14, 2001, (accessed May 10, 2021) Link
Dr. John R. Brinkley
John R. Brinkley (1885-1942), born in Jackson County and raised by an aunt, gained fame in the 1920s and 1930s as the “Goat Gland King.” With a questionable medical degree and while living in Kansas, he developed an operation whereby the sex glands of goats were transplanted into impotent men. Brinkley’s ownership of radio station KFKB in Milford, Kansas, gave him means by which to publicize his treatment. It also gave him a platform to run for governor of Kansas on three occasions with a narrow loss on one of his runs.
Officials of the American Medical Association denounced “Dr.” Brinkley as a charlatan and he eventually lost his Kansas radio license. He then moved to Del Rio, Texas from where he began to operate the world’s most powerful radio station across the border in Mexico to promote his “Goat Gland” specialty along with prostate operations. At one point it was estimated he was worth twelve million dollars. He died destitute in 1942.
The marker is located at a sharp curve on Highway 107 in River Township of Jackson County, NC. As of 2021 the road construction was underway to straighten the road which will create a turnoff for the marker.
The marker stands among mature trees on a bluff overlooking the Tuckasegee River.