Gesner, Abraham

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Gesner, Abraham

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b. 1797


Abraham Gesner, a medical doctor and a geologist, was born 2 May 1797 at Cornwallis, Nova Scotia and died 29 April 1864 at Halifax. Gesner was the son of Col. Henry Gesner, a Loyalist, and Sarah Pineo. In 1824 Abraham married Harriet Webster, the daughter of Dr. Isaac Webster of Kentville, N.S. The Gesners had 11 children, some of whom became prominent professionals in medicine and theology.

Gesner studied medicine and surgery in London and practised in Parrsboro. He wrote several books on geology and natural resources of New Brunswick and Nova Scotia and was appointed Provincial Geologist of New Brunswick in 1838. He lived in Saint John, New Brunswick, while engaged in exploration for the Geological Survey of New Brunswick.

In 1854 he obtained a patent for kerosene which he manufactured in New York. In 1863 he returned to Halifax where he was offered the chair of Natural History at Dalhousie College. Gesner's extensive collections of minerals, rocks, fossils, animals and bird specimens are now part of the New Brunswick Museum's collections.

Sources: Dictionary of Canadian Biography


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