Robert Hallowell Gardiner

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This article is about the founding landowner. For the Christian lawyer and ecumenist, see, see Robert Hallowell Gardiner III.

Robert Hallowell Gardiner (September 9, 1782 - June 15, 1864[1]) was a prominent, educated land owner in Maine.[2] He was the grandson of Dr. Sylvester Gardiner, the founder of Gardiner, Maine, and a trustee for the Gardiner Lyceum school.[3]


Robert Hallowell Gardiner was born to loyalist parents in England in 1782. He inherited his grandfather's estate in 1787; the previous inheritor had been Gardiner's son William, who had received the estate in 1786 but who died suddenly a year later. Robert Hallowell, who was only five years old at the time, took on the name of Gardiner. He graduated from Harvard College and moved to Kennebec in 1803 to manage the land he had inherited.[3]

To Gardiner[edit]

When Robert Hallowell Gardiner moved to Gardiner in 1801, there were about 650 persons there, of whom 60 were squatters. Only two houses stood on Church Hill, and no carriage road led out of town in any direction. A one-mile stretch of dirt road did exist, however, from the river to New Mills.

The name New Mills originated when the first mill built at the location decayed and was taken down, and was then replaced by a new mill. Today, a bridge near the spot is called the New Mills Bridge.


Gardiner proceeded to repair the dams and mills. He settled property titles with the squatters liberally, and offered generous inducements for manufacturers to settle in the area. Since there were only a few stores in existence then, and many people were obliged to visit a neighboring settlement to trade, Gardiner built additional stores. He also had the land accurately surveyed. He endowed, and laid the cornerstone of, Christ Church; the building is one of the state's most beautiful granite structures.

Gardiner worked to free his land of legal entanglements and squatters, and, in the summer of 1804, he built a church, an inn, a mill, and a wharf in the village, which became known as Gardiner. He was the town's first mayor. He died in 1864.


  1. ^ Smith, Peter M. "Robert Hallowell Gardiner". Find A Grave. Retrieved 11 January 2013. 
  2. ^ "Early recollections of Robert Hallowell Gardiner, 1782-1864". Retrieved 11 January 2013. 
  3. ^ a b Erskine, Sanborn & Colcord. "The Gardiner Story 1849 - 1949". MEGenWeb Project. The City of Gardiner, Maine 1949. Retrieved 11 January 2013.