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History and GovernmentCongressional BiographiesRhode Island

William SPRAGUE

(1830-1915)
Senate Years of Service:
1863-1875
Party:
Republican; Liberal Republican

SPRAGUE, William, (nephew of William Sprague [1799-1856], son-in-law of Salmon P. Chase), a Senator from Rhode Island; born in Cranston, R.I., September 12, 1830; attended the common schools and Irving Institute, Tarrytown, N.Y.; engaged in the calico-printing business and the manufacture of locomotives; Governor of Rhode Island 1860-1863; head of a Rhode Island regiment that was one of the first to answer the call for troops in 1861; tendered a commission as brigadier general in 1861, but declined; elected as a Republican to the United States Senate in 1862; reelected in 1868 and served from March 4, 1863, to March 3, 1875; was not a candidate for renomination; chairman, Committee on Manufactures (Thirty-eighth through Fortieth Congresses), Committee on Public Lands (Forty-third Congress); unsuccessful candidate for governor of Rhode Island in 1883; engaged in agricultural pursuits near Narragansett Pier, R.I.; died in Paris, France, September 11, 1915; interment in Swan Point Cemetery, Providence, R.I.

Bibliography

Dictionary of American Biography; Shoemaker, Henry Wharton. The Last of the War Governors: A Biographical Appreciation of Colonel William Sprague. Altoona, PA: Altoona Publishing Co., 1916; Lamphier, Peg A. Kate Chase and William Sprague: Politics and Gender in a Civil War Marriage. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2003.

Source: Biographical Directory of the United States Congress, 1771-Present

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