The Kennebec Historical Society will meet at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, May 21, at Christ Church, 2 Dresden Ave., Gardiner. The program will focus on Ken Martin’s book, “Seeing the Eliphant, A Maine Couple’s Adventures in Gold Rush San Francisco.”

It is a story about William King Jr’s mother’s maternal grandparents, James and Rebecca Gardiner White’s move from Gardiner, to Gold Rush San Francisco in the 1850s, according to a news release from the society. The basis for Martin’s book, which King commissioned and helped research, is a treasure trove of letters he found in an attic trunk in 1952. Martin will present the mechanics of writing and researching the book. King will highlight some of the White adventures and family history with slides and share some of the research side stories.

King, a retired small business man with 54 years of sales and management experience, serves as a senior adviser to the Maine Downtown Center who delivers the National Trusts main street program to 30 Maine communities including Augusta, Gardiner and Bath, where he lives in the winter, according to the release. He is an active board member at Mid Coast Hospital and has served on numerous local organization boards in the Bath Brunswick area.

Martin started his professional life as a college history professor and, later, museum director. Over the last 40 years he has written, co-written and edited more than 20 books, mostly regional and maritime histories, including the award-winning “Patriarch of Maine Shipbuilding: The Life and Ships of Gardiner G. Deering” (2008). He lives on the scenic east bank of Maine’s Kennebec River, a short way from Gardiner, James and Rebecca White’s hometown.

For more information, call 622-7718.

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