Born in 1856 in East Saginaw, William Butts Mershon witnessed and participated in the lumbering era from its infancy, through its prosperity and into its decline. Along with his brother, Edward Clark Mershon, he took over his father's planing mill, renaming the business "W. B. Mershon & Co." and expanding until his mill, later relocated to Carrollton, became the nation’s leading producer of wooden boxes. The original mill, considered the first planing mill in the Saginaw Valley, had been built by his grandfather, E. J. Mershon, and operated by his father, Augustus Hull Mershon, on S. Franklin in East Saginaw. Mershon eventually expanded his business interests into the salt industry and copper mining. Engaged in many political and civil roles, Mershon held public offices from alderman to mayor of the consolidated Saginaws (1894-95) and served as a member of the city parks and cemeteries commission and the citizens’ water committee. Mershon was also famous for his exploits in the sports of hunting and fishing. Travelling locally, nationally, and internationally, often in one of the several private hunting cars he co-owned, Mershon sought game far and wide, becoming an authority among sportsmen. He is also widely known as a pioneer conservationist, a co-founder of Field and Stream Co. Ltd., and a key proponent of gaming laws. His two books, Recollections of My Fifty Years Hunting and Fishing and The Passenger Pigeon are considered essential to the sportsman and the conservationist alike.