History of Hancock Lumber Company

Established in 1848, Hancock Lumber Company is a 6th generation, family-owned business operating a land company, a sawmill division, a network of retail lumberyards across Maine & New Hampshire, home design showrooms, and a truss manufacturing facility.

History of Hancock Lumber

Click to view a video tour of 1946 logging operations at M.S. Hancock in Casco, Maine

Hanging on the wall in the company’s main office in Casco Village is an original copy of a hand-written contract dated October 4th, 1848 for the construction of a new mill for the grand sum of $840. In the original contract of 1848 between N&S Decker and Ambrose F. Wright the agreement reads, “Nathan and Spencer Decker agree to pay to the said Wight for building the said mill and dam the sum of Eight hundred and fifty dollars, one hundred in two months and the remainder when the work is completed…” It is only by mere circumstances that Hancock Lumber exists under this name and is not called Decker Lumber. Nathan Decker originally began the lumber business in Casco Village in 1859, around the same time he married his wife, Hannah Stuart Hancock.

Hannah was the widow of Sumner M. Hancock who had died, leaving her with a baby boy, Sumner O. Hancock. The couple lived in Casco village and Nathan raised Sumner as his own; in fact, the child’s name always remained “Hancock”. Sumner O. Hancock inherited the Decker fortune as there were no other children. Eventually the family chose to rename the business Hancock Lumber, as it remains today over 160 years later. Family Business Magazine recognizes Hancock Lumber Company as the 71st oldest family business in America.

Today Hancock Lumber Company is one of the largest, most dynamic and vertically integrated lumber companies in New England with 530 employees serving over 10,000 customers annually. Our sawmill division is the largest manufacturer of Eastern White Pine boards in the world with annual production of 80,000,000 board feet, operating three sawmills in Bethel, Casco and Pittsfield. In 2008, the sawmill division captured the coveted Philip C. Hastings award in recognition for the company’s leadership in reducing energy usage. The energy efficiency upgrades reduced the kilowatt usage by almost 25%, saving nearly 800,000 kilowatt hours. In 2011, Hancock Lumber was named the Maine International Trade Center’s (MITC) Exporter of the Year, with nearly 25% of their production sold outside the United States. Seven years running the company has been named a “Best Place to Work in Maine”.

Click here to read about the history of Hancock Lumber as featured in Timber Processing Magazine

Six generations of continuous operation: growing trees, keeping Maine green, manufacturing renewable and sustainable Eastern White Pine products and creating housing for Mainers. This is what we do. To make it even better, we do it all as a local, independent Maine company in an age of global giants. Maine needs local companies like ours to compete, win, and, remain independent. When you step back and look at our company in this way you see how special we really are and how lucky we are to be connected to all of you.