Bicentennial Snapshot # 26 – Doctor Abdiel Bliss Carpenter

Dr. Abdiel Bliss Carpenter from W.H. McIntosh, History of Monroe County, New York, 1877
Dr. Abdiel Bliss Carpenter from W.H. McIntosh, History of Monroe County, New York, 1877

Abdiel Bliss Carpenter was born in Seneca, Ontario County, New York, on May 11, 1809. He was the son of Daniel and Lydia Smith Carpenter. He attended one of the small one or two-room schoolhouses in the town of Seneca in Ontario county, then went on to attend Geneva Academy which now is the home of Hobart and William Smith Colleges in Geneva, New York. At the age of 17, Abdiel Bliss Carpenter was certified to teach in Benton, Yates County which is 15 minutes to the south and west of Hobart and William Smith Colleges by taking Pre Emption Road south. But Abdiel was more interested in becoming a doctor and practicing medicine; he wanted to care for people instead of teaching people. So, he began an apprenticeship with Doctor Anthony Gage in Ontario County before moving to North Greece. In 1827 he moved to North Greece / Jenkin’s Corners and continued his training with Doctor M.B. Gage who lived in North Greece.

In 1830 at the age of 21, Abdiel Carpenter married Jane Louesa Rowleyof North Greece. They settled down in a small house behind the brick church on the northwest corner of Latta and North Greece Road.

Jane Louesa Rowley grew up on the southwest side of North Greece Road not far from Jenkins’ Corners. Her family’s farm is now home to North Greece Fire Station and its North Greece Road entrance. The Rowley homestead was located directly across from the entrance to College Ave. This photo of the Rowley homestead was in a photo album recently donated to the Greece Historical Society and which we were thrilled to receive.

As you can see on this 1858 map of North Greece there are two Rowley properties one is the S.S. Rowley the other one is the H. Rowley property. The Rowley homestead in the picture to the right is that of H. Rowley.

The Rowley homestead in North Greece, from GHS
The Rowley homestead in North Greece, from GHS
North Greece map 1858
North Greece map 1858
Fairfield Medical College, Fairfield, NY
Fairfield Medical College, Herkimer, NY
Abdiel Bliss Carpenter Degree to be a Doctor
Abdiel Bliss Carpenter Degree to be a Doctor

It was common practice at that time for someone who wanted to be a doctor to attend medical school after acquiring some medical training. The year after his marriage, the twenty-two-year-old Abdiel Carpenter went to the Fairfield Medical School in Herkimer, New York. Fairfield Medical College closed in 1840, due to competition from other medical colleges opening in New York and surrounding states. This is when many of the other colleges and universities like Syracuse University and the University of Rochester were founded.

He attended Fairfield Medical College college 10 years before the school closed for good. He graduated and earned his degree to practice Physic and Surgery on January 3, 1830.

Abdiel Bliss Carpenter returned to North Greece upon receiving his degree to practice Physic and Surgery and purchased Dr. M.B. Gage’s practice and started practicing in North Greece. His career as a doctor spanned 34 years. During that time, he would keep a record of all the children he assisted into this world just like Doctor Samuel Beach Bradley did in Hoosick.

Carpenter ledger from Edward G. Miner Library
Carpenter ledger from Edward G. Miner Library
sketch of Abdiel Bliss Carpenter Greece Post 1972
sketch of Abdiel Bliss Carpenter Greece Post 1972
double-breasted Prince Albert frock coat
double-breasted Prince Albert frock coat

Frank Milton Carpenter son of Abdiel Milton Carpenter, described his grandfather Doctor Abdiel Bliss Carpenter as “a serious practitioner, a self-made man of no-nonsense personality.” Frank remembered that his grandfather always wore a Prince Albert Coat and top hat.

What is a Prince Albert Coat?

A Prince Albert coat: “a double-breasted frock coat usually with a flat velvet collar, becoming in vogue after a visit to the U.S. by Prince Albert in 1876.” The Prince Albert coat is a variant of a Frock Coat.

What is a Frock Coat?

According to Wikipedia, A frock coat is a formal men’s coat characterized by a knee-length skirt cut all around the base just above the knee, popular during the Victorian and Edwardian periods (the 1830s–1910s). It is a fitted, long-sleeved coat with a center vent at the back and some features unusual in a post-Victorian dress. These include the reverse collar and lapels, where the outer edge of the lapel is often cut from a separate piece of cloth from the main body, and also a high degree of waist suppression around the waistcoat, where the coat’s diameter around the waist is less than round the chest. This is achieved by a high horizontal waist seam with side bodies, which are extra panels of fabric above the waist used to pull in the naturally cylindrical drape. As was usual with all coats in the 19th century, shoulder padding was rare or minimal. Learn more on Wikipedia.

Doctor Abdiel Bliss Carpenter served two one-year terms as town supervisor once in 1843, and then again in 1848.

Grave marker of Jane Louisa Rowley Carpenter in Falls Cemetery from Find-a-grave
The grave marker of Jane Louisa Rowley Carpenter in Falls Cemetery from Find-a-grave

Abdiel Bliss Carpenter and his first wife Jane Louesa Rowley Carpenter had seven children together but she passed away in 1859. Abdiel remarried Caroline Elizabeth Carpenter and had three more children.

These are 4 of the 9 children

Two of the seven children born to Abdiel Bliss Carpenter and Jane Louesa Rowley

  • Abdiel Milton Carpenter
  • Frank Irving Carpenter

These are two of the three children that Abdiel had with Caroline Elizabeth Carpenter

  • Charles A. Carpenter
  • Helen E. Carpenter
Etching of Dr. Abdiel Bliss Carpenter, his wife Caroline, and their home on Latta Road from W.H. McIntosh, History of Monroe County, New York, 1877
Etching of Dr. Abdiel Bliss Carpenter, his wife Caroline, and their home on Latta Road from W.H. McIntosh, History of Monroe County, New York, 1877

Doctor Abdiel Bliss Carpenter owned land on both sides of Latta at 3490 and 3491 Latta Road. As you can see in this 1887 map below, it now shows the land is owned by Doctor A.B. Carpenter and his son Doctor A.M. Carpenter who lived right across the street from each other. Their office was on the south side of Latta Road. Eventually, Abdiel Bliss Carpenter retired to devote his time to farming and turned his practice over to his son, Abdiel Milton Carpenter, or Dr. Mit as his patients called him.

1887 Map of North Greece
1887 Map of North Greece

Both houses still stand today. The original house at 3490 Latta Road was built around the 1840s as a story-and-a-half rectangular edifice; the small porch on the west is most likely a remnant of a porch running across the front. The house had 15 rooms after the second floor, front addition, and pillars were added in the early 1860s.

3491 Latta Rd
3491 Latta Rd
3490 Latta Rd
3490 Latta Rd

On the north side, on land that was once owned by Lewis Combs, he cleared a hundred acres and planted wheat; the first year of farming produced such a bumper crop, Dr. Carpenter was able to pay off all his debts.

agriculture arable barley blur
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com
The grave of Abdiel Bliss Carpenter
The grave of Abdiel Bliss Carpenter

Abdiel Bliss Carpenter passed away on January 9, 1896, at the age of 86, and his remains are buried in the Falls Cemetery on West Ridge Road at Latona Road on the southwest corner.

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