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William H. McCrillis Papers

Identifier: SpC MS 0332

Scope and Contents

The William McCrillis papers deal primarily with his activities as an owner of large amounts of timberland in northern Maine. The collection also includes materials of his sister, Harriet Griswold and of members of her family. The papers were arranged and re-foldered by staff in Special Collections at an earlier date and much of that arrangement and many folder titles have been retained. The papers are arranged in two series:

Series I : Papers of William H. McCrillis and Series II : Papers of heirs of William H. McCrillis. Series I has six sub-series: Correspondence, etc.; Papers from law practice; Personal finances and miscellaneous personal material; Records of various business ventures; Deeds; and McCrillis lumber business. Series II has two sub-series: Business records and Papers of Harriet Griswold.

Series I begins with several folders of correspondence of William McCrillis, 1840s-1870s, especially with the Hinckley and Egery Iron Company of Bangor. This is followed by materials from McCrillis's law practice, 1863-1875, and information about his personal finances, especially the amounts of taxes paid, 1874-1890. Several folders of records of directors of various dam companies reflect his activities as an incorporator of these companies.

The two largest sub-series in Series I contain information about McCrillis's extensive land holdings in Maine. The sub-series containing deeds is arranged chronologically and includes information on his holdings in Aroostook, Penobscot, Piscataquis, Somerset, Washington and Hancock Counties. The last sub-series, McCrillis lumber business, is arranged alphabetically by county, then by township and range. This sub-series contains information about McCrillis land holdings in Aroostook, Penobscot, Piscataquis, and Somerset Counties. Material includes deeds, maps, reports, surveys, financial information, correspondence, etc., about each township and its lumber. Many of these folders also contain documents dating after William McCrillis's death; they are included in his papers because they were started during his tenure.

Series II contains miscellaneous business records of the timberland business after McCrillis's death and includes correspondence, deeds and papers of Henry Prentiss, manager of McCrillis land holdings, as well as materials of the Griswold family. The collection ends with papers of Harriet Griswold, especially information about her estate.


  • Creation: 1830-1982
  • Creation: Majority of material found within 1840-1912


Restrictions on Access

Kept at Fogler Library's offsite storage facility. One week's notice required for retrieval.

Use Restrictions

Information on literary rights available in the Library.

Biographical Note

William McCrillis, the son of Dr. John McCrillis, was born on November 4, 1813, in Georgetown, Maine. He studied law in Bangor and began his own practice there in 1834. He soon established a large and profitable law business and was appointed County Attorney for Penobscot County in 1838. In that same year he was elected to the Maine House of Representatives; he also served in the House in 1859 and 1860. He was a delegate to the Republican National Convention in 1860. He was the owner of many timberlands in Maine and at the time of his death in 1889 was probably the largest individual landowner of this type of property in the state. With others, he was also an incorporator of several dam companies in Maine, including the Katahdin Dam Company, the East Branch of Pleasant River Dam Company, the Godfrey Falls Dam Company, and the Heron Lake Dam Company.

At his death, McCrillis's entire estate passed to his sister, Harriet S. Griswold, also of Bangor. By 1923, the land holdings were owned by her grandchildren, Margaret Griswold Locke, Merrill Griswold, Roger Griswold, and Anna Griswold, and organized into the McCrillis Land Association, a privately held Massachusetts business trust with the primary purpose of investing in Maine timberland. George T. Carlisle and Henry Prentiss and their successors, Prentiss and Carlisle Company, managed its operations. The Land Association now has two wholly owned subsidiaries, McCrillis Timberlands, Inc., which holds timberland, and McCrillis Corporation, which holds recreational land.


4 linear feet (4 boxes)

4 ledgers

Language of Materials



The William McCrillis papers deal primarily with his activities as an owner of large amounts of timberland in northern Maine. The collection also includes materials of his sister, Harriet Griswold and of members of her family.

Conservation Note

The collection has been re-housed in acid-free folders and boxes. Documents have been surface cleaned as needed and metal fasteners removed.

Guide to the William H. McCrillis Papers
Box And Folder List Available
April 2004
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Code for uncoded script
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English.

Repository Details

Part of the Raymond H. Fogler Library Special Collections Repository

5729 Raymond H. Fogler Library
University of Maine
Orono ME 04469-5729 United States