Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
Grant Wilson, John Fiske and Stanley L. Klos. Six volumes, New York: D. Appleton
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KIRTLAND, Jared Potter, physician, born in Wallingford, Connecticut, 10 November, 1793; died in Cleveland, Ohio, 10 December, 1877. He received his early education at the academies of Wallingford and Cheshire, Connecticut, and became an expert in the cultivation of fruits and flowers, and a close student of botany. At this time he made his first attempt in the production of new varieties of fruit, and he also managed a large plantation of white mulberry-trees for the rearing of silk-worms. In 1811 his grandfather died, leaving him a medical library, and sufficient money to permit him to attend medical lectures at Edinburgh; but in 1813, on account of the war with England, he entered the medical department of Yale instead, where he was graduated in 1815. He then settled in Wallingford, where he practised for about two years, devoting his unoccupied time to the cultivation of natural science. In 1818 he removed to Durham, Connecticut, and five years later to Poland, Ohio. He was elected to the legislature in 1828, and served three terms, after which he was again occupied with his practice. In 1837-'42 he filled the chair of the theory and practice of medicine in Ohio medical college, Cincinnati, and he also served as assistant on the geological survey of Ohio, being appointed in 1837, when it was organized under William W. Mather, and during the first summer collected specimens in all departments of natural history, from which a report on the "Zoology of Ohio" was published in the second annual report of the survey. In 1841, having previously removed to a place near Cleveland, he began a series of lectures on the theory and practice of medicine, and physical diagnosis, in Willoughby medical school, and was then, till 1864, professor of the theory and practice of medicine in Cleveland medical college, of which he was one of the founders. During the civil war he was examining surgeon for recruits at Columbus and Cleveland, and devoted his pay to the bounty fund and to the Soldiers' aid society of northern Ohio. His many investigations were published in the "American Journal of Science" and in the "Journal of the Boston Society of Natural History." These include researches in all departments of natural history; but perhaps the most conspicuous was his discovery of the sexual difference in the naiades, in which he showed that the male and female could be distinguished by the forms of the shells as well as by their internal anatomy. The truth of this discovery was questioned by eminent naturalists, but in 1851 it was confirmed by Louis Agassiz. In 1861 he received the degree of LL. D. from Williams, and he was one of the founders of the Cleveland academy of science in 1845, becoming its first and only president. This society in 1865 became the Kirtland society of natural history, and his collections of specimens were given to this organization. Dr. Kirtland was also a member of other scientific associations, had held the office of president of the Ohio medical society, and was one of the early members of the National academy of sciences. He was a man of great learning and peculiar personal magnetism. His influence in improving agriculture and horticulture, and in diffusing a love of natural history, was felt throughout all the northwestern states.
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