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Stetson Family Papers

Identifier: SpC MS 0480

Scope and Contents

The Stetson family papers consist primarily of the business and personal papers of George Stetson, his sons Edward and Isaiah Kidder, and Isaiah's son Irving G. Stetson. They reflect the involvement of the Stetsons in the lumbering, slate mining, ice harvesting, and banking businesses in Bangor, Maine, the northern woods of Maine, and in New Brunswick.


  • Creation: 1846-1952
  • Creation: Majority of material found within 1880-1925


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

The collection contains the business records and personal papers of three generations of the Stetson family of Bangor, Maine. It centers primarily on materials of George Stetson, his sons Isaiah Kidder and Edward Stetson, and Isaiah's son Irving G. Stetson. The Stetson family was engaged in various industries in the Bangor area including lumbering, shipping, slate mining, banking, and the ice trade.

George Stetson was born in Hampden, Maine on January 25, 1807. He moved to Bangor in 1834 and formed a partnership with Albert G. Brown, engaging in general trade under the firm name of Brown and Stetson. In 1835 he formed a partnership with his brother Isaiah and Cyrus Emery, doing business as Emery, Stetson and Co. The firm was in the wholesale and importing business and was a large manufacturer and shipper of lumber, owning and operating a mill on Kenduskeag Stream in Bangor for many years. The partners exported to the West Indies, using their own vessels and bringing back West Indies goods for their store. In 1850, Cyrus Emery withdrew from the business; the two Stetson brothers continued business under the name of Stetson and Co. The firm gradually withdrew from lumber manufacturing and trading and invested in timberlands and real estate. It is said that George Stetson was the first to ship ice from the Penobscot River.

In 1858 George Stetson also became president of the Market Bank of Bangor and in 1863 became president of the First National Bank of Bangor, with which the Market Bank had merged. He held this position until his death in 1891. In 1862 he was elected to the Maine legislature, serving two terms. He was chairman of the Board of Commissioners appointed to build the Bangor Waterworks and was one of the principal organizers of the Union Insurance Company and the Bangor Mutual Fire Insurance Company, serving as president of both companies for many years.

George Stetson married Adeline Hamlin in 1845 and had four children: George Hamlin, born in 1846; Edward, born in 1854; Isaiah Kidder, born in 1858; and Mary Adeline, born in 1860. He died on June 15, 1891.

Edward Stetson, born in Bangor on June 22, 1854, studied in the Bangor schools and in 1869 went to Phillips Exeter Academy to prepare for college. He graduated from Harvard in 1876 and then went to Harvard Law School. He was admitted to the Penobscot Bar in 1879, practiced law for two years and then entered his father's office. In 1887 he was elected vice-president of the First National Bank, becoming president upon the death of his father in 1891. He was treasurer of the Bangor Bridge Company and the Bangor and Aroostook Railroad and a director of the Merchants Insurance Company of Bangor. In 1880 he formed a partnership with his brother Isaiah under the firm name E. and I.K. Stetson, which did a large business in lumbering, ice cutting, and shipping and owned a shipyard where many wooden vessels were built. The Stetson brothers were also proprietors of the Bangor and Brewer Marine Railways where vessels were repaired. The icehouses and shipyard were located in Brewer, Maine; the offices were at 180 Exchange Street, Bangor; and their holdings of timberland were located throughout the northern part of the state.

In 1879 Edward married Edith H. Lobdell; they had one son, Clarence Cutting, born in 1884. Edward Stetson died on February 17, 1913.

Isaiah Kidder Stetson was born in Bangor on April 3, 1858. He attended the Bangor public schools, graduated from Phillips Academy in Andover, Mass., in 1876, and from the Sheffield Scientific School at Yale in 1879. For two years after his graduation he worked in his father's office and then entered into a partnership with his brother Edward in the firm of E. and I.K. Stetson. He also served as treasurer of the Blanchard Slate Mining Company, director of the Union Insurance Company, and treasurer of the Aroostook Construction Company. With partners Edward Stetson, J. Fred Webster, and Eben C. Webster, he formed Webster Stetson Company, an ice business. He served as president of Martinon Lumber Company and as a director of the First National Bank, becoming president when his brother Edward died in 1913.

Active in civic and community affairs, he was treasurer of the University of Maine Board of Trustees and of the Hampden Academy. A Republican, he was elected to the Maine House of Representatives in 1896, became House Speaker in 1899, and served terms in 1903 and 1905 as state senator from Penobscot County. He was a member of many civic and fraternal organizations in Bangor including the Tarratine Club, the Masons, and the Mystic Shrine. An early bicycle enthusiast, in 1897 he built the Niben Club bicycle path and clubhouse at Pushaw Lake outside the city. He was a member of the Unitarian Church of Bangor and was active in the New Unity Club and the Unitarian Memorial Association. He married Clara C. Sawyer in 1882; they had two children: Ruth W., born July 22, 1884, and Irving Gay, born November 23, 1885. Isaiah Stetson died on July 14, 1940.

Irving G. Stetson graduated from Phillips Academy in Andover in 1903 and from Harvard College in 1907. After working in a sawmill in the West for a year, he entered the Yale Forest School in 1908, graduating in 1910. He was in the logging and lumber business in Maine for many years. In 1910 with Walter G. Alpaugh he formed Stetson and Alpaugh, foresters and surveyors, with offices in Bangor and Willimantic, Connecticut. The firm did considerable forestry work including timber cruising, surveying, stumpage sales, inspection of operations and timberland management of all kinds. Stetson and Alpaugh served as state agents for the Evinrude Motor Company, and Irving Stetson had the first outboard motor in Maine which he bought in 1910 and used in his logging operations. Around 1912 the firm changed its name to I.G. Stetson and Co., then Stetson and Turner. Irving Stetson was also treasurer of Martinon Lumber Company, which had offices in Bangor and in St. John, New Brunswick. Upon the death of his uncle, Edward Stetson, in 1913, he was elected vice-president and director of the First National Bank, serving until 1925. In that year he organized the Waldo Lumber Company which for 44 years did business in wholesale lumber throughout the state, with a sideline in face brick and other clay goods.

In 1913, Irving Stetson married Eleanor Strickland, the daughter of Frederick Hastings and Charlotte Coombs Strickland. He died June 6, 1969.


36 cubic feet (30 boxes)

12 linear feet (ledgers)

Language of Materials



The Stetson family papers consist primarily of the business and personal papers of George Stetson, his sons Edward and Isaiah Kidder, and Isaiah's son Irving G. Stetson. They reflect the involvement of the Stetsons in the lumbering, slate mining, ice harvesting, and banking businesses in Bangor, Maine, the northern woods of Maine, and in New Brunswick.

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. Photographs have been housed in polypropylene sleeves and remain with the relevant documents.

Series Outline and Description

Series I: Business Records

Sub-series 1: Blanchard Slate Mining Co.; Boston Blanchard Co.

The Blanchard Slate Mining Co. was organized in 1880 on 1300 acres of property in the town of Blanchard, Maine, with capital of $250,000. A.C. Hamlin was president, H.E. Hamlin, secretary, and Isaiah K. Stetson, treasurer. Charles Hamlin later served as president and many of the records in this sub-series are from his tenure.

The Boston-Blanchard Slate Co. was organized in March 1902 with Charles Hamlin, Edwin T. Hamlin, and Addison Hamlin as directors; Charles Hamlin served as president and treasurer. The company letterhead lists it as quarriers and manufacturers of roofing and milled slate products in North Blanchard, Maine.

Neither Blanchard Slate nor Boston-Blanchard is listed in the Bangor city directory after 1912.

Records in this sub-series include incoming correspondence, 1880-1911; deeds, leases and permits, 1900-1908; and a large section of files labeled B.S. 1- 29 and B.B.S. 2-15. These files are the administrative files of both companies and contain such things as reports on property, inventories, insurance policies, cancelled checks, stockholder information, etc.

Sub-series 2: Crystal Dam Co.

Incorporated Jan. 29, 1878 with Charles Bryant, Isaiah Stetson, George Stetson, and Eugene M. Hersey as incorporators, the company was authorized "to construct a dam or dams, and make other improvements, and to purchase any dams and improvements now existing upon Houston Brook and Crystal Stream in the county of Aroostook, for the purpose of facilitating the driving of logs and other lumber ..." (Chapter 4, Maine Acts and Resolves of 1878).

This sub-series contains records of the Board of Directors, 1878-1882, and stockholder information, 1882.

Sub-series 3: Stetson and Co.

This company was formed in 1850 by brothers George and Isaiah Stetson; it continued the work of the earlier firm of Emery, Stetson and Co. in the wholesale and importing business, as well as manufacturing and shipping lumber. The firm also invested in timberlands and real estate.

Records include incoming correspondence, 1889-1893; outgoing correspondence, 1891-1893; and a record of company assets and liabilities, 1878-1891.

Sub-series 4: Union Ice Co.

The articles of association for this company, dated Feb. 18, 1886, list the company's purpose as "... to carry on the business of cutting, storing and selling ice at Orrington ... Maine; and also the business of manufacturing lumber at the same place." The incorporators were Edward Stetson, Harlan P. Sargent, Sam'l Sterns, D.A. Sargent, and I.K. Stetson. Edward Stetson served as clerk and treasurer.

Records include minutes of directors' meetings, 1886-1912; outgoing correspondence, 1886-1893; financial journals and ledgers, 1898-1913; and weekly time books, 1886-1892.

Sub-series 5: E. and I.K. Stetson

Established in 1880 as a partnership between brothers Edward and Isaiah K. Stetson, the firm operated a shipyard and lumber yard in Brewer and served as proprietors of the Bangor and Brewer Marine Railways. The brothers were also wholesale and retail dealers in southern pine lumber and wholesale dealers in Penobscot River ice.

One of the largest sub-series in the collection, the records begin with two journals and a ledger of the Bangor and Brewer Marine Railway Co., 1879-1881. This is followed by a large group of incoming correspondence, 1882-1915. The user should note that major sections of this correspondence, as well as the section of permits and leases which follows, were re-foldered at an earlier time. All folders were labeled E. and I.K. Stetson in this earlier project but correspondence of the Aroostook Construction Co. and Bangor and Aroostook Railroad, as well as many letters to Edward Stetson, are included here.

The remainder of this sub-series contains records of the forestry, ice, and shipping businesses of the firm. Financial, sales, and production records are included.

Sub-series 6: Penobscot Ice Co.

The articles of agreement signed Dec. 27, 1894 by William Engel, Charles E. Field, John R. Mason, and Walter E. Palmer list the business of the company as "manufacturing, trading, cutting, harvesting, storing, selling and shipping ice." By 1898, Isaiah K. Stetson had become a director of the company, serving as secretary and treasurer.

This sub-series contains articles of agreement and minutes of the Board of Directors, 1894-1898.

Sub-series 7: Aroostook Construction Co.

This company was the contractor of the Bangor and Aroostook Railroad. Isaiah Stetson was company treasurer in the 1890's and later president from 1919-1925. F.W. Cram was general manager, and other names associated with the company were Hiram H. Fogg, Frank Clark, and P.A. Hubbard.

Records include lists of stockholders and proxies at stockholders' meetings, 1912-1925; incoming correspondence, 1892-1894; outgoing correspondence, 1892-1913; and financial information from the Bangor and Aroostook Railroad, 1895 and 1897.

Sub-series 8: Fish River Railroad Co.

F.W. Cram was president and Edward Stetson treasurer of this company.

Records consist of one ledger of outgoing correspondence, 1901-1904, of the treasurer concerning financing and building this railroad.

Sub-series 9: First National Bank of Bangor

George Stetson was president of the bank from 1863 until his death in 1891. Edward Stetson was elected vice-president in 1887, becoming president when his father died. Isaiah K. Stetson was a director and also served as president; his son Irving was a vice president.

This sub-series contains four letter books of outgoing correspondence, 1912-1919, of Isaiah Stetson in his various capacities at the bank, as well as a stock ledger, 1915, and other miscellaneous documents.

Sub-series 10: Stetson and Alpaugh

In 1910, Irving G. Stetson, Leslie Hastings, and Walter G. Alpaugh entered into a partnership for the purpose of cutting spruce logs in Maine. Stetson and Alpaugh were to have complete charge of the business with Hastings acting as a silent partner. Letterhead for the firm lists its office at 180 Exchange St., Bangor, doing business as foresters and surveyors; exploring, valuations, surveying, topographic maps, supervision of logging operations, working plans, thinnings, forest planting, tree surgery, spraying, etc. are all listed as activities of the company. The company also acted as state agents for Evinrude Motor Co. of Milwaukee, manufacturers of detachable rowboat and canoe motors.

Records include incoming correspondence, 1910-1912, with a set of letters, 1912, concerning business with the Evinrude Motor Co. Financial information, invoices for goods shipped to lumber camps, supplies used, freight bills, scale bills, and time books give a view of activities in the Maine woods in the early decades of the 20th century.

Sub-series 11: I.G. Stetson and Co.

Around August 1912, Stetson and Alpaugh changed to its name to I.G. Stetson and Co.; its letterhead lists lumbermen, timber estimating, woods surveying and maps as its activities. Records include incoming correspondence and receipts, 1912-1913; outgoing correspondence, 1914-1919; financial information, freight and shipping bills, checks and worker hiring agreements. Included in this sub-series are journals, ledgers and cashbooks from Stetson and Turner, Stetson and Turner Co. and Waldo Lumber Co., which were successor companies to I.G. Stetson and Co.

Sub-series 12: I.K. and I.G. Stetson

This company served as agents and managed timberlands.

Records include outgoing correspondence, 1914-1920 and a cashbook, 1920-1946.

Sub-series 13: Martinon Lumber Co.

The company had its main office at 180 Exchange St., Bangor, with a Canadian office in St. John, New Brunswick. Isaiah K. Stetson served as president, Frank C. Hinckley as vice president, Irving G. Stetson as treasurer and Waldo P. Lowell as general manager. Lumbering operations were carried on at various places in New Brunswick, including Musquash and Rocky Gulch, as well as in Grand River, Quebec. The company dealt in spruce, pine and hemlock lumber.

This sub-series is one of the largest in the collection. There are extensive correspondence files, including correspondence of Waldo P. Lowell, 1915-1918; business and personal correspondence of Frank C. Hinckley, 1916-1918; and outgoing correspondence of I.G. Stetson, 1915-1918. The Lowell correspondence has been left as it was originally arranged: sometimes alphabetically by correspondent and at other times in straight chronological order. Financial records include journals and ledgers, invoices, and bills paid to various jobbers. There are also lumber records, scalers' reports, orders, time books and payroll records. A few records of the Grand Lake Lumber Co. are also included in this sub-series.

Sub-series 14: Crogan Sales Co.

Irving G. Stetson was treasurer of this company, which manufactured steel tapes and metal plating and did machine work.

Records include a journal, ledger, cashbook and sales ledger, 1925-1930.

Sub-series 15: Miscellaneous

Includes outgoing correspondence, 1889-1906, of the Bodwell Water Power Co., of which Edward Stetson was a director; journals, ledgers, and cashbooks of the Bangor Cast Stone Products Co.; and unidentified scale cards and permits, 1911-1913.

Series II: Personal Papers

Sub-series 1: Papers of George Stetson

Included in this series are invoices and other information, 1846-1849, for building George Stetson's house in Bangor; various deeds and mortgages he held; legal papers, 1870's-1880's; and a sizeable amount of information about his estate.

Sub-series 2: Papers of Isaiah K. Stetson

Included here is a group of personal bills, 1893-1912, of Stetson and his family for groceries, household items, medical and dental expenses, travel, etc. Also included are various papers from business affairs conducted outside the auspices of one of his companies, especially Bangor Bridge Co. records, 1887-1890; and records of E.A. Buck and Co., 1907-1908. Stetson's civic activities are reflected in records of the Maine State College of Agriculture and Mechanic Arts (now the University of Maine), the Niben Club, the New Unity Club, and the Unitarian Memorial Association, in all of which he was active. A personal scrapbook, 1891-1918, provides information about Stetson's political activities.

Sub-series 3: Papers of Edward Stetson

This sub-series particularly reflects Edward Stetson's activities as attorney for various family members. It includes incoming correspondence, 1892-1894; outgoing correspondence, 1893-1913; a section on Edward's activities as guardian for his nephew Eugene; and a large amount of material relating to his cousin Lily G. Stetson. As her attorney, Edward paid her personal bills and handled her financial affairs, especially after her marriage and subsequent move to Germany. Records in this section of the sub-series date from 1895-1913.

Sub-series 4: Papers of Irving G. Stetson

Papers in this sub-series include class notes, 1908-1910, from the Yale Forest School; incoming correspondence, 1909-1914; and a small group of papers of Ivory W. Coombs and the Strickland family.

Sub-series 5: Miscellaneous

This sub-series contains correspondence and financial information of the Maine Missionary Society, 1888-1908; information about the real estate holdings and the estate of John B. Foster, 1907-1913; a subscription book for the Maine Anti-Tuberculosis Association and unidentified bank and memo books.


The Stetson family papers came to the University of Maine Raymond H. Fogler Library Special Collections as a gift from the Maine State Museum in 1988.

Guide to the Stetson Family Papers
Box And Folder List Available
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