William Sprague IV, former Governor and U.S. Senator from Rhode Island was born on September 12, 1830 in Cranston. Sprague was Governor from 1860-1863 and served in the U.S. Senate from 1863-1875.

Sprague was born in the Governor William Sprague Mansion in Cranston, the youngest son of  Amasa and Fanny Morgan Sprague. His Uncle, William Sprague III, had served as Governor, U.S. Senator and was a member of the U.S. House of Representatives.

After attending the Irving Institute, Sprague went to work at the A. & W. Sprague Manufacturing Company, the family textile manufacturing business. He became involved in politics and was elected Governor in 1860 at the age of 29 running as a Rhode Island Union Party candidate.

When the Civil War broke out in 1861, Sprague served as an aide to Colonel Ambrose Burnside in the Battle of Bull Run, while serving as Governor. During the battle, his horse was shot out from under him.

In 1863, Sprague married Kate Chase, daughter of Secretary of the Treasury Salmon Chase. The couple had four children. The couple later divorced and Sprague married Dora Inez Clavert. They later moved to Paris, France where Sprague passed away at age 85 in 1915. He is buried in Swan Point Cemetary in Providence.

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Ken Abrams

Lifestyle Editor Ken Abrams writes about music and more for What'sUpNewp, Providence Monthly, SO RI, and The Bay. He DJ's "The Kingston Coffeehouse" Tuesday nights, 6-9 PM on WRIU 90.3 FM.