Pattangall, William (1865 - 1942)

Genre: Non-Fiction

William Pattangall, born in Pembroke, Maine, was a newspaper editor, writer, lawyer, and judge.

An 1884 University of Maine graduate, he studied law for a short period after college and then spent time working in shoe factories and aboard ships. He returned to his studies and was admitted to the bar in 1893. He established a law practice in Machias and was elected to the Maine House of Representatives in 1897 and 1901.

After moving to Waterville, he was again elected to the House in 1909 and 1911. During his second term representing Waterville, he was appointed Attorney General and reappointed in 1912, 1915, and 1916. In 1926 he was appointed to the Maine Superior Court and selected as the Chief Justice in 1931. He retired in 1934.

In addition to his political career, Pattangall is noted as a political satirist whose caustic comments were greatly feared by the many Maine politicians he lampooned. Using the penname Stephen A. Douglas Smith, Pattangall published a series of biting letters, called the Meddybemps Letters in the Machias Union newspaper, of which he was the editor from 1903 to 1909. A second series, Maine Hall of Fame which consisted of short biographies of the state's leading politicians, was published in the Waterville Sentinel in 1909 and 1910 (and in book form in 1916); he also was the editor of the Sentinel.

Selected Bibliography

  • Maine's Hall of Fame: Brief Biographies of the Great Men of Our State (1916)
  • The Meddybemps Letters: Reproduced from the Machias Union of 1903-1904 (1924)

Selected Resources