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William King: Politician, Military Leader, and Entrepreneur

Text by Peter Goodwin and Joyce Wanger

Images from Patten Free Library

A man of limited formal education but seemingly limitless energy and business acumen, William King fought as tirelessly for Maine's statehood as he worked to build an unparalleled business empire.

His many accomplishments include organizing the defense of the Maine coast during the War of 1812, acquiring extensive land holdings throughout Maine and building a business empire involving international shipping, shipbuilding, banking and farming.

Once one of the richest men in Maine, his legacy of statehood for Maine and leadership as the new state's first governor far outweighed any economic impact his business efforts may have achieved.