I really enjoy authentic— life as people lived it— Civil War history, especially when it connects to my roots in Upstate New York.
So, it isn’t surprising that the following caught my eye…
Reading the 19th-century letters and diaries of Doctor Tarbell, of Groton, one can only wonder if his given name — it really was “Doctor” — helped give him the confidence to succeed in life. Though he did not study medicine, he became first an Army officer in the Civil War, and later a highly regarded businessman and local public official. During his post-war life in Ithaca, he gained the respect of the community and was “a doctor by popular consent,” according to his obituary.
One of 13 children born to Lydia Miller Tarbell and Thomas B. Tarbell, Doctor attended both Groton and Homer academies in the 1850s. He went to school in the winter months and worked on the farms of his family and neighbors in the summer. Beginning in 1857, he alternated between life as a student and then as a teacher for a term at a time. Early in 1861, at age 23, he went off to school at the Ithaca Academy. Expecting to enroll in Schenectady’s Union College that fall, Tarbell would have joined the class of 1865. But national events caused him to delay his education.
Read the brief but fascinating sketch of the “boy named ‘Doctor'” HERE