SPRAGUE, William (1830-1915)

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.

Brown University
Providence, RI
Papers: Letters of Sprague to his future wife in William and Catherine Chase Sprague papers, 1850-1900; correspondence in Mary Allen Rivers collection, 1846-1881; and Alfred Nattie Duffie letters, 1862-1863.

Columbia University
Rare Book and Manuscript Library
New York, NY
Papers: 1861-1871. 66 items. Incoming political correspondence.

Pierpont Morgan Library
New York, NY
Papers: 1862-1875. 3 items.

Rhode Island Historical Society
Providence, RI
Papers: 1819-1874. 3 feet.

University of Rochester
Rush Rhees Library
Rochester, NY
Papers: 3 letters (1861) in various collections. Finding aid.

Yale University Libraries
Manuscripts and Archives
New Haven, CT
Papers: In Alexander Stewart Webb papers, 1818-1930; and Carrington family papers, 1749-1929.

  • Belden, Thomas Graham, and Marva Robins Belden. So Fell the Angels. Boston: Little, Brown Co., 1956.
  • Knight, Benjamin. History of the Sprague Families, of Rhode Island. Santa Cruz: H. Coffin, 1881.
  • Lamphier, Peg A. Kate Chase and William Sprague: Politics and Gender in a Civil War Marriage. Lincoln: University of Kansas Press, 2003.
  • Shoemaker, Henry Wharton. The Last of the War Governors: A Biographical Appreciation of Colonel William Sprague. Altoona, PA: Altoona Tribune Publishing Co., 1916.
  • Sokoloff, Alice. Kate Chase for the Defense. New York: Dodd, Mead & Co., 1971.