Dr. Silvester Gardiner was an extraordinary individual, both in his time and through the lens of history. Born in 1708, he was the first New Englander to receive a medical education in Europe. But his entrepreneurial leanings soon eclipsed his medical practice, and he invested with other Boston merchants in a million-and-a-half-acre tract of land in Maine, known as the Kennebec Purchase.
In telling his story, biographer Olivia Coolidge traces the early settlement of Maine, from the first settlers struggling to survive bitter winters in crude huts, to the gradual establishment of trade, sawmills, gristmills, and other commerce, then attempts to increase the population with immigrants and instill civilization through the firm hands of religion, government, and Dr. Gardiner. This outstanding biography paints a vivid portrait, lively with detail, of a dynamic man and his imprint on the Kennebec River Valley.