Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Dr. Willis Roberts Education

Cahaba Female Academy

Dr. Willis Roberts Education
Dr. Willis Roberts was a veritable renaissance man of many accomplishments but the rudimentary details of his education have not been preserved. It is unknown where Dr. Roberts went to medical school. Ray Isbell suggests, “Perhaps a study of the avenues taken by his physician acquaintances, Dr. Abbot and Dr. Bibb, Willis' own path might be learned.” Willis’s fourth son, Joel Abbott Roberts, was named after Dr. Joel Abbot (t), a prominent Georgia doctor and member of Congress. Perhaps Willis learned medicine from Abbot. Willis Roberts worked for the Alabama governor, William Wyatt Bibb, who was also a physician. During this period, Willis could have been tutored by the governor. Also, an 1817 letter written by the Governor of Georgia, referral is made to “Doc. Willis Roberts.” Willis Roberts' youngest child was born in Pennsylvania, where the Roberts appeared to have had relatives. Also, Willis Roberts went on several buying trips to New York to stock his mercantile store in Cahawba. Roberts could have received some medical training in New York. Dr. Willis wasn’t known as a doctor in Cahawba when he arrived in 1819 because he was busy running his mercantile store and fulfilling his duties to Bibb. Willis only started advertising his medical services in the Alabama newspaper in 1823. [i]

[i] Isbell records, 910 Government Street, Mobile, Alabama.

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