Monday, April 9, 2012

Lake County Mini Profiles - Dr. Jared Potter Kirtland

What's in a Lake County city name?  Mentor took its name from mythology.  Painesville and Perry were named after famous people .  Willoughby was named after the founder of its 1830's medical college.  Kirtland took its name from the famous civil servant Turhand Kirtland, yet it is his son that may have the most everlasting impact in history.  Dr. Jared P. Kirtland was born in Wallingford, Connecticut in 1793.  After earning his degree from Yale Medical School, he moved to Ohio in 1823.  Kirtland served in the Ohio legislature from 1828-34.  However, it was a childhood experience that led him to his eventual fame.  As a child he managed an arboretum of mulberry trees.  This experience led him to two important discoveries.  In 1829, he took an interest in malacology and corrected the scientific communities false identifications of freshwater mussels. His claims affected nearly 50% of the species at the time.  In 1845, he co-founded the Cleveland Academy of Natural Science ( today known as the Cleveland Museum of Natural History).

A man of many talents, Jared Kirtland also practiced medicine at the Medical College of Ohio starting in in 1834.  By 1842, he joined the faculty of the Medical College of Willoughby and served as a faculty doctor throughout NE Ohio until 1864.  During the Civil War years,  Dr. Kirtland offered medical attention to northeastern Ohio's recruits.  The Ohio Geological Survey of 1837 even enlisted the help of Dr. Kirtland.

Dr. Jared P. Kirtland made lasting contributions in the fields of medicine, malacology, and natural sciences.  A faculty professor at NE Ohio's first medical colleges and a founder of our museum of natural history, Kirtland's warbler and snake are two birds named in honor of this early Lake County pioneer.

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