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 William Sprague IV

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William Sprague IV Famous memorial

Birth
Cranston, Providence County, Rhode Island, USA
Death
11 Sep 1915 (aged 84)
Paris, City of Paris, Île-de-France, France
Burial
Providence, Providence County, Rhode Island, USA
Plot
Group 273 1/2, Lot 0, Space 17
Memorial ID
6004305 View Source

27th Governor of Rhode Island, US Senator. Named after his uncle, William Sprague III, who was also a Governor and US Senator as well as a US Representative from Rhode Island, he was educated at the Irving Institute in Tarrytown, New York, which was cut short on account of the murder of his father Amasa, on New Year's Eve in 1843, in Knightsville, Rhode Island. Along with his older brother, he began working in the family business, the A & W Sprague Manufacturing Company, which became the largest calico printing textile mill in the world. He became interested in politics and in 1860 he was elected as the Rhode Island Union Party candidate for Governor, and was re-elected each of the following two years. At the age of 29, he was the youngest governor of a state at that time. After the outbreak of the American Civil War in April 1861, a brigade of volunteers from Rhode Island was formed that came under the command of Colonel (later major general) Ambrose Burnside, in the First Battle of Bull Run on July 21, 1861. During the battle, he acted as an aide to Burnside and had his horse shot from under him. The Confederate victory made it clear to him that the war would last for a long time and although he was offered a commission as a brigadier general of Volunteers in August 1861, he declined the appointment to focus on his duties as governor. In 1862 he attended the Loyal War Governors' Conference in Altoona, Pennsylvania, which ultimately backed President Abraham Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation and the Union war effort. Retiring from the governor's office in 1863, he was elected to the US Senate from Rhode Island and served two six year terms from March 1863 until March 1875. While in office, he served as chairman of the committees on public lands and on manufactures and as a member of the committees on commerce and on military affairs. In November 1863 he married Kate Chase, daughter of Secretary of the Treasury Salmon P. Chase, who was considered the belle of Washington. The Panic of 1873 caused his financial and political fortunes to rapidly deteriorate, as severe setbacks occurred to the A & W Sprague Company followed. In 1882 he and his wife divorced and he remarried Dora Inez Clavert of West Virginia. In 1900 he regained his interest in politics to become the first Town Council President of Narragansett, Rhode Island. After a fire destroyed his mansion in October 1909, he and his wife moved to Paris, France and during the early years of World War I, they opened their apartment as a convalescent hospital for the wounded soldiers of all nationalities. He died of complications from meningitis, just one day short of his 85th birthday. He was the last living US Senator who had served during the Civil War.

27th Governor of Rhode Island, US Senator. Named after his uncle, William Sprague III, who was also a Governor and US Senator as well as a US Representative from Rhode Island, he was educated at the Irving Institute in Tarrytown, New York, which was cut short on account of the murder of his father Amasa, on New Year's Eve in 1843, in Knightsville, Rhode Island. Along with his older brother, he began working in the family business, the A & W Sprague Manufacturing Company, which became the largest calico printing textile mill in the world. He became interested in politics and in 1860 he was elected as the Rhode Island Union Party candidate for Governor, and was re-elected each of the following two years. At the age of 29, he was the youngest governor of a state at that time. After the outbreak of the American Civil War in April 1861, a brigade of volunteers from Rhode Island was formed that came under the command of Colonel (later major general) Ambrose Burnside, in the First Battle of Bull Run on July 21, 1861. During the battle, he acted as an aide to Burnside and had his horse shot from under him. The Confederate victory made it clear to him that the war would last for a long time and although he was offered a commission as a brigadier general of Volunteers in August 1861, he declined the appointment to focus on his duties as governor. In 1862 he attended the Loyal War Governors' Conference in Altoona, Pennsylvania, which ultimately backed President Abraham Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation and the Union war effort. Retiring from the governor's office in 1863, he was elected to the US Senate from Rhode Island and served two six year terms from March 1863 until March 1875. While in office, he served as chairman of the committees on public lands and on manufactures and as a member of the committees on commerce and on military affairs. In November 1863 he married Kate Chase, daughter of Secretary of the Treasury Salmon P. Chase, who was considered the belle of Washington. The Panic of 1873 caused his financial and political fortunes to rapidly deteriorate, as severe setbacks occurred to the A & W Sprague Company followed. In 1882 he and his wife divorced and he remarried Dora Inez Clavert of West Virginia. In 1900 he regained his interest in politics to become the first Town Council President of Narragansett, Rhode Island. After a fire destroyed his mansion in October 1909, he and his wife moved to Paris, France and during the early years of World War I, they opened their apartment as a convalescent hospital for the wounded soldiers of all nationalities. He died of complications from meningitis, just one day short of his 85th birthday. He was the last living US Senator who had served during the Civil War.

Bio by: William Bjornstad


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  • Maintained by: Find a Grave
  • Added: 28 Nov 2001
  • Find a Grave Memorial ID: 6004305
  • Find a Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/6004305/william-sprague: accessed ), memorial page for William Sprague IV (12 Sep 1830–11 Sep 1915), Find a Grave Memorial ID 6004305, citing Swan Point Cemetery, Providence, Providence County, Rhode Island, USA; Maintained by Find a Grave.