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Special Collections: Guide to the William Engel Papers

Arranged and described by Brenda Howitson Steeves
Raymond H. Fogler Library Special Collections Department
February 2004; revised September 2005

Collection title: William Engel Papers.
Provenance: Some Lowell & Engel Co. records given by Dwight Demeritt, 1995; additional materials given in 2005 by Eastern Maine Healthcare.
Collection number: MS 168.
Dates of collection: 1902-1914 (inclusive); 1904-1912 (bulk).
Size of collection: The collection consists of nine archival record cartons, one document box and two oversized boxes of material (12 cubic feet).
Box numbers: 1-12 (formerly Boxes 2110-2112, Cage Box 57 and unnumbered 2005 accession).
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.
Preferred citation: William Engel Papers, Special Collections, Raymond H. Fogler Library, The University of Maine at Orono.
Restrictions on access and use: There are no restrictions or limitations on the collection.


The collection contains the business records of William Engel (1850-1909), a timberland owner and lumber manufacturer from Bangor, Maine.

William Engel was born in Germany in 1850 and came to Bangor at age sixteen. He began work as a dealer in dry goods and notions, traveling throughout the eastern part of Maine. He soon attracted the attention of the dry goods firm of S. & J. Adams and was hired by them as a traveling salesman. Engel worked for this firm for eighteen years, traveling through towns in Penobscot, Piscataquis and Aroostook Counties. Following that, he worked for three years for Wheelwright & Clark. All during this time, Engel also invested in timberlands, foreseeing the economic opportunity that the Maine woods would later provide. By 1887, he had formed the firm of Stratton, Gilman & Engel, with I.F. Stratton and Frank Gilman as partners. Gradually the demands of this increasingly successful business led to Engel’s devoting full time to his logging and land interests. Mr. Stratton died in 1891 and Mr. Gilman in 1893; Engel then assumed the operation of the entire lumbering business. Around 1890 the firm name was changed to Wm. Engel & Co.

The firm became very successful and began to manufacture lumber as well. This operation was kept completely separate from the timberlands business, a policy that Mr. Engel followed throughout his business life. The first mill operated by the firm was at Webster, properties being acquired there in 1887. Letterhead from the 1890’s lists the firm as manufacturers of lumber with dry pine and hemlock boards a specialty. Its office was in Bangor and the sawmills and yard at Orono. Agents for the company included James M. McNulty, Wilfred A. Finnegan, and L.W. Vinal.

In 1895, Mr. Engel formed a stock company and built a shook and planing mill at Great Works under the name Wing and Engel Company. In 1898 he formed a partnership with Waldo P. Lowell of Bangor under the name Lowell & Engel. A mill was leased at Great Works and later the Hodgkins & Hall mill in East Hampden was purchased and remodeled, with the company operating a log boom and sawmill there. Waldo Lowell had general supervision and management of this mill and was regarded as an expert in his field. For a while the Lowell & Engel mills and lumbering operations employed over 1,000 men.

William Engel married Rachel Waterman in 1876, and they had one daughter, Sylvia, born in 1877. In addition to his business ventures, Engel was active in politics, serving as a member of the Bangor City Council in 1886 and in the Maine House of Representatives in 1887 and 1889. He was a member of the Maine Senate in 1895 and 1897, and in 1902 was elected mayor of Bangor. In 1896, he campaigned extensively in Maine and Michigan for William McKinley in his first run for the presidency.

William Engel retired from the firm of Wm. Engel & Co. in 1904, turning the business over to his long-time associate, James M. McNulty. McNulty managed the firm alone until 1913, when it was purchased by the firm of McNulty, Pierce, and Townsend. In 1915, I.M. Pierce purchased Townsend’s interest and Wilfred A. Finnegan, another employee of the company, purchased James McNulty’s interest. This partnership, known as I.M. Pierce and Company, continued until 1937.

William Engel died on December 20, 1909. The firm of Lowell & Engel was dissolved in 1912. After the dissolution of the firm, Waldo Lowell organized a lumber mill near Fredericton, New Brunswick, and in 1915 became general manager of the Martinon Lumber Company, a position he kept until his death in 1923.

Scope and Content Note

The collection contains records of William Engel’s timberlands and lumber manufacturing businesses, particularly those of the firms Wm. Engel & Co. and Lowell & Engel.

The collection brings together three accessions received at Fogler Library at different times and from different donors. It is arranged in four series: I. Papers of William Engel, II. Records of Wm. Engel & Co., III. Records of Lowell & Engel, and IV. Miscellaneous Engel family papers. Series II is further sub-divided into three sub-series.

Series I contains records primarily dealing with William Engel’s real estate holdings, including bankbooks and bills and receipts, 1902-1909, for insurance, taxes, etc., on Engel’s many land holdings. This series also contains trial balance sheets outlining the financial condition of Engel’s businesses, 1909-1912, as well as some information about his estate.

Series II makes up the bulk of the collection and is divided into three sub-series:
1. Financial records, 2. Bills and receipts, and 3. Lumbering records. The financial records contain check registers, cancelled checks, and bank statements, 1910-1917, which document payments made by Wm. Engel & Co. to its suppliers and contractors.

Sub-series 2, Bills and receipts, is the largest sub-series and includes vouchers for payments made to various contractors engaged in lumbering operations for the company. Arranged in roughly chronological order, they cover activities at Bowerbank, the Hayes and Hawks Camps, and at Rake Head Notch, among others. Contractors include C.W. Livermore, Lorenzo Littlefield, Ira Carpenter, D.A. McLeod, and C.E. Rackliff. Bills are for labor, food and supplies used at the lumber camps, shipping and freight, and general office expenses.

Sub-series 3, Lumbering records, includes permits and agreements, stumpage and survey reports, and scale bills.

Series III, Records of Lowell & Engel, includes financial information, miscellaneous bills and receipts, payrolls, and memoranda of charters for lumber shipped from the mills.

Series IV includes vouchers, 1912-1914, for items purchased by William Engel’s wife, Rachel, and their daughter, Sylvia Engel Ross, as well as a small selection of their bank statements. A folder of obituaries and Bangor city directory listings for William Engel is also included in this series for the convenience of the user.

The materials received in 2005 arrived at the library in five wooden storage crates labeled Wm. Engel & Co. and Lowell & Engel. The crates were found in the basement of the former Engel family home in Bangor and have been retained as part of the collection.

Series I: Papers of William Engel

Box 1


1               Bankbooks, 1904-1907, Wm. Engel real estate

2               Trial balance sheets, seasons 1909-1912

3-10          Bills and receipts, 1902-1909

11             Estate of William Engel: bank statements, etc.

Series II: Records of William Engel & Co.

Sub-series 1: Financial records

12-16         Check registers, Merrill Trust Co., July, 1911-May, 1917

Box 2

1               Check register, Merrill Trust Co., June-Oct., 1917

2               Cancelled checks, Merrill Trust Co. [samples]

3               Bankbooks, Merrill Trust Co., 1912-1913, 1916

4-7            Check registers, Merchants National Bank, Aug., 1912-Apr. 1, 1916

8-9            Cancelled checks, Merchants National Bank, 1916-1918

10             Bankbooks, Merchants National Bank, 1912-1914

11             Check register, Second National Bank, Mar., 1912-July 2, 1913

12             Bankbook and cancelled checks, Second National Bank, 1912-1914

13             Check registers, Eastern Trust & Banking Co., 1910-1911

14             Miscellaneous bank statements

Sub-series 2: Bills and receipts

15             Vouchers: C.W. Livermore, 1905-1906

16             List of vouchers, Bowerbank operation, 1909-1910

17-19         Vouchers: Bowerbank operation, 1909-1910, voucher #1-150

Box 3

1-12           Vouchers: Bowerbank operation, 1909-1910, voucher #151-1036

13              Vouchers: peavey log hauler, Bowerbank operation, 1911

14              Payroll vouchers: Bowerbank operation, 1911

15-18         Vouchers: Lorenzo Littlefield, 1909-1910 voucher #1-131

19-20         Vouchers: Lorenzo Littlefield, 1910-1911, voucher #1-100

Sub-series 2: Bills and receipts cont.

Box 4


1-2              Vouchers: Lorenzo Littlefield, 1911, voucher #101-185

3-6              Vouchers: Piscataquis drive, 1910, voucher #1-155

7                 List of vouchers, W.C. Runnels, 1909-1910

8-14            Vouchers: W.C. Runnels, 1909-1910, voucher #1-101

15               Freight and other bills, E.S. Atwood & Co., 1910-1911

16               Vouchers: E.S. Atwood & Co., 1910-1911, voucher #1-47

17-18          Bills and receipts of Ira Carpenter and others, 1910-1911

19               Payroll vouchers, Carpenter drive, 1911

20               Horse account: vouchers, etc., 1910-1913

21               Receipt book: D.A. McLeod labor account, 1910

22               Items removed from receipt book, 1910

Box 5

1               Receipt book: D.A. McLeod labor account, 1910

2               Items removed from receipt book, 1910

3               Receipt book: D.A. McLeod labor account, 1911

4               Items removed from receipt book, 1911

5               Receipt book: D.A. McLeod, 1910-1911

6               Receipt book: D.A. McLeod labor account, 1910-1911

7               Items removed from receipt book, 1910-1911

8               Receipt book: D.A. McLeod, 1911

9               Receipts: D.A. McLeod and J.M. McNulty, Bowerbank operation, 1910-1911

10-13         Vouchers: D.A. McLeod, Piscataquis drive, 1911

14-15         Miscellaneous vouchers and receipts, 1910-1912

16-17         Bills and receipts of Getchell Bros., 1911: Hayes and Hawks Camps

18              List of vouchers: C.E. Rackliff, 1911

19-21         Vouchers: C.E. Rackliff, 1911, voucher #1-132

22-23         Miscellaneous bills and receipts, 1912

Box 6

1-3             Miscellaneous bills and receipts, 1912

4-6             Vouchers: Orono barn, 1912, voucher #1-84

7               Vouchers: Orono barn, 1914

8                Vouchers: J. Frank Davis, Backaway drive, 1912-1913

9                Vouchers: Backaway drive, 1913

10-13          Vouchers: Rake Head Notch, 1912-1914

Sub-series 2: Bills and receipts cont.

Box 6 cont.


14-16           Miscellaneous bills and receipts, 1913

17               Bills from Penobscot Lumbering Assoc. for boomage, etc., 1913

18               Vouchers: Jas. B. Laws, 1913-1914

19               Vouchers: Cross Two Notch expense account, 1914

Box 7

1-4               Miscellaneous bills and receipts, 1914

5-9               Vouchers: lumber expenses, 1912, voucher #1-118

10-12           Vouchers: lumber expenses, 1912, voucher #1-119

13                Vouchers: lumber expenses, Stillwater, 1912

14-16           Vouchers: lumber expenses, 1913, voucher #1-128

17-21            Vouchers: lumber expenses, Stillwater, 1913, voucher #1-114

Box 8

1-3               Vouchers: lumber expenses, Hampden and Stillwater, 1913

4-8               Vouchers: lumber expenses, 1914, voucher #1-165

9-10             Vouchers: lumber expenses, Hampden, 1914, voucher #1-50

11-19           Vouchers: office expenses, 1912-1914

20                Vouchers: expense account, 1913-1914

21-22            Payroll vouchers, 1913-1914

Sub-series 3: Lumbering records

23                 Permits, agreements, 1904-1908

24-26            Stumpage, survey reports, 1902-1905

Box 9

1-4               Stumpage, survey reports, 1906-1909, 1911

5                 1903-04 scale cards, T. no. 7, Range 11, S.J. Bussell

6                 Scale bills, C.W. Livermore, 1906

7                 Scale bills, J.H. Laing, 1913

8                 Log hauling account sheets, Lorenzo Littlefield, 1911

9                 Piscataquis drive, 1914 [oversized, located in Box 11]

10               Memo books, 1912-1913

Series III:  Records of Lowell & Engel

Box 9 cont.


11                Statements, mill cash, season 1909

12-13           Condition of company, 1910, 1911

14                Miscellaneous bills and receipts, 1899-1912

15-22           Payrolls, Apr., 1909-Jan. 1912 [oversized, located in Boxes 11 and 12]

23                Miscellaneous scale bills, 1909

24                Scale bills, etc., Eastern Manufacturing Co., 1909

25-26            Scale bills, J.H. Laing, 1909, 1910

27                Scale bills, etc., J.M. McNulty, 1909

28                Stumpage, survey reports, 1911

29-40            Lumber surveyed and rafted, 1910-1911

Box 10

1                 Bangor boom account, 1909 [oversized, located in Box 12]

2                 Logs purchased from J.M. McNulty, 1909 [oversized, located in Box 12]

3                Acct. sales, season 1909

4                Logs a/c to show pieces on hand at mill, East Hampden, 1911 [oversized, Located in Box 12]

5                Account sales of lumber, 1911

6                Account of sale of lumber to Eastern Manufacturing Co., 1911

7-8             Memoranda of charters, 1909, 1910

9                Lumber shipped by Eastern Manufacturing Co., 1911

10-11         [Items] sawed at band saw, 1913

Series IV: Miscellaneous Engel family papers

12-13          Vouchers: S. & R. Engel, 1912, voucher #1- 66

14               Vouchers: Caroline Engel, 1912, voucher #1-20

15-16          Vouchers: S. & R. Engel, 1913-1914

17               Vouchers: R.W. Engel special, 1914

18               Vouchers: S.E. Ross special, 1914

19               Rachel and Sylvia Engel: miscellaneous bank statements

20               Obituaries and Bangor city directory listings for William Engel

Box 11 and 12

Oversized items

Collection also includes five wooden storage crates, 1909-1910, 1913-1915

Finding Aids for selected manuscript collections in the Special Collections Department at Fogler Library are accessible online in URSUS, in a browsable Guide to Manuscript Collections. Please contact Special Collections at or (207) 581-1686 for further information.

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Special Collections Staff: | Revised: 03/17/2015
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