Governor William Sprague

Inducted: 1967
Born: 1830
Died: 1915

Governor William Sprague, 1830-1915, was a member of the Sprague family of industrial and political prominence. William became the “Boy Governor” of Rhode Island at age 30 on a Unionist-Republican-Fusion ticket and shortly thereafter led the first Rhode Island Regiment into combat at the First Battle of Bull Run. He became a U.S. Senator in 1863 as a Republican and served two terms during Reconstruction. During his tenure he married Kate Chase, daughter of Chief Justice Salmon P. Chase. In the Panic of 1873, his once-mighty A&W Sprague textile empire collapsed. Sprague ran again for Governor in 1883 on a reform ticket but lost. He spent much of his later years abroad.

Mathew Brady [Public domain or Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons. Hon. William Sprague (1830-1915). Library of Congress description: “Hon. Wm. Sprague of R.I.”

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