Abraham Pineo Gesner

public profile

Is your surname Gesner?

Research the Gesner family

Abraham Pineo Gesner's Geni Profile

Share your family tree and photos with the people you know and love

  • Build your family tree online
  • Share photos and videos
  • Smart Matching™ technology
  • Free!


Abraham Pineo Gesner

Birthdate: (66)
Birthplace: Cornwallis Township, Nova Scotia, Canada
Death: April 29, 1864 (66)
Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada
Immediate Family:

Son of Colonel Henry Gesner and Sarah Gesner
Husband of Harriet Gesner
Father of George Weltden Gesner; Henry Gesner and Herbert Gesner
Brother of Rebecca Gesner; John Henry Gesner; Elizabeth Chipman; David Henry Gesner; Famicha Gesner and 6 others

Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:

About Abraham Pineo Gesner

Abraham Pineo Gesner (1797 - 1864) , physician and surgeon, geologist, and inventor; , third son of Colonel Henry Gesner and Sarah Pineo.

Canadian physician and geologist who invented kerosene. Although Ignacy Łukasiewicz developed the modern kerosene lamp, starting the world's oil industry, Gesner is considered a primary founder. Gesner was born in Cornwallis, Nova Scotia. He died in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

Dr and Mrs Gesner had seven sons and three daughters for whom they provided a Christian home and a good education. Two sons carried on their father’s work as chemists and metallurgists, one became a United States Army surgeon who served in the American Civil War, and another was a distinguished Episcopal clergyman. With such an admirable family it is hard to understand why their father’s grave in Camp Hill Cemetery, Halifax, was left unmarked for 69 years. It remained for Imperial Oil Limited, mindful that their great refinery across the harbour was the direct descendant of Gesner’s retort, to erect a handsome shaft over his grave in 1933 and inscribe on it a tribute to the pioneer geologist and the founder of the hydrocarbon refining industry. In 1969 the Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada set up an impressive monument to Gesner in front of his former home at Chipman Corner.

According to his son George Weltden, Abraham Gesner was of medium height but with broad shoulders. His eyes were black and piercing, and his hair remained black all his life. The published portrait shows him as partly bald, with heavy side-whiskers, perhaps in emulation of his friend Lord Dundonald. He played the flute and the violin, and was fond of the old Scottish airs. He loved to tell stories, and joined in the laughter as fully as his audience. He was abstemious, his only indulgence being an occasional good cigar. His religion was important to him and he was an active member of the Church of England in Nova Scotia and the Episcopal Church in Brooklyn.

Abraham Gesner was a man who believed that science was good, and that through technology it could make a better world in which to live. This philosophy, together with his religion, enabled him to meet his many disappointments without self-pity, and to pick up the pieces and go on to the next project with undiminished enthusiasm. If he could come back today and see the great aircraft now propelled over continents and oceans by his kerosene, he would be delighted but not surprised.

References and Sources

view all

Abraham Pineo Gesner's Timeline

May 2, 1797
Nova Scotia, Canada
April 29, 1864
Age 66
Nova Scotia, Canada