Dr. Jared Potter Kirtland, M.D., LL.D. (1793-1877)

Dr. Kirtland has the distinction of being the first physician in the Village of Poland. He was the oldest son of Turhand’s marriage to Polly Potter. When his parents moved from Connecticut to Ohio in 1803, Jared was 10 years old. They left him behind with his grandparents in Wallingford to get an education because there were no schools in the Western Reserve Territory at that time.
At the age of 12 he was able to manage his grandfather’s orchards of white mulberry trees used for the cultivation of silk-worms. In 1811 Dr. Potter died and left Jared his medical library and money enough for medical school. Jared entered Yale College In 1813 and attended classes for one year, becoming a member of the first class of its new Medical School. While in Yale he received instruction in botany, mineralogy, geology and zoology. Upon graduation in 1815 Jared Kirtland married Caroline Atwater. They had three children, but only one daughter lived to adulthood, becoming the wife of Charles Pease. He practiced medicine in Wallingford until his wife’s death in 1823. He then moved his practice to Poland and remarried at the age of 31. Jared’s second wife was Hannah Fitch Toucey of Newtown, CT, who died in 1857. No children resulted from this marriage. His practice grew in Poland to a point where it was necessary for him to take on a young assistant named Dr. Eli Mygatt. Turhand Kirtland was proud of his son and in 1826 built him a fine house on the corner of Ohio Avenue and Route 224. (This house was moved to 44 Audubon Road in 1976.)
Beginning in 1828 Dr. Kirtland served 6 years in the Ohio legislature. He was instrumental in getting a bill passed for chartering the Ohio and Pennsylvania Canal. In 1837 Dr. Kirtland moved to Cleveland where he purchased a 175 acre fruit farm 5 miles west of downtown. He also became a member of the medical staff of Cleveland College. In 1843 he helped establish the Cleveland Medical College which later became part of what is now Case Western Reserve University.
In his usual manner he began making studies of marine life and soon became an authority in ichthyology (study of fish) and conchology. (study of mollusks and shells) In 1845 he organized the Cleveland Academy of Natural Science. He became one of Western Reserve’s outstanding horticulturists and was responsible for growing many new strains of fruits and vegetables. A number of these bore his name. In 1861 the College of Williamsburg, Massachusetts, conferred upon him the degree of Doctor of Laws (LL.D.).
During the Civil War at the age of 70, Dr. Kirtland offered his services to Ohio Governor David Tod, becoming an examining surgeon for the thousands of men who were drafted. He donated all of his pay to the Soldiers’ Aid Society. At the age of eighty years the motto on his study desk, “Time is money and I have none of either to spare,” served to protect him from students who might squander his precious time.
Doctor Kirtland died in Rocky River, Ohio on December 10, 1877 at the age of 84. On his death bed he wrote, “My family all attention. Everyday I grow weaker. The great change must soon occur. On the mercies of a kind Providence who created me, who has sustained me and helped me though a long life, I rely with a firm faith and hope. We know not what is beyond the grave. Vast multitudes have gone before us. Love to all, Farewell.” Of his long life and great labors more than half have been given to the public without compensation.

Where is Jared Buried?

One reference stated that Dr. J. P Kirtland was buried in the Lakeside Cemetery in Bay Village, Ohio. This seemed to be a logical statement because the doctor was reported to have died in (Rockport) Rocky River only a few miles to the east. Lakeside Cemetery is about a half acre in size and contains fewer than 270 graves. Checking with the Western Reserve Historical Society, they showed no listing for a Jared Kirtland at Lakeside. Not being discouraged I decided to drive the 20 miles from University Circle to the Cemetery to see for myself. No Luck! Lakeside contained mostly graves of local family members. The Bay Village City Hall was the next stop. Here a detailed map was found of the cemetery but no person with the name “Kirtland” was shown. Could Professor Kirtland have been buried in the Lake View Cemetery in East Cleveland? The following e-mail request was sent to Adella@lakeviewcemetery.com “Is Dr. Jared Potter Kirtland buried in Lake View”? The following reply stated, “Dr. Kirtland is buried in Section 13, Lot 7”. Mystery solved! Now we know Dr. Kirtland is in the Lake View Cemetery. However, his grave is difficult to find and he shares a tombstone with his son-in-law, Charles Pease. Jared Kirtland’s name is on the back of the monument. It is best that you ask for directions at the Cemetery Office on Euclid Avenue.