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William Cameron Sproul (September 16, 1870 – March 21, 1928) was an American politician who served as a Republican member of the Pennsylvania State Senate from 1897 to 1919[1] and as the 27th Governor of Pennsylvania from 1919 to 1923.[2] He also served as chair of the National Governors Association from 1919 to 1922.

William Cameron Sproul
William Cameron Sproul.jpg
27th Governor of Pennsylvania
In office
January 21, 1919 – January 16, 1923
LieutenantEdward Beidleman
Preceded byMartin Brumbaugh
Succeeded byGifford Pinchot
Pennsylvania State Senator, 9th District
In office
1897–1919
Preceded byJesse Matlack Baker
Succeeded byRichard J. Baldwin
Chair of the National Governors Association
In office
August 18, 1919 – December 14, 1922
Preceded byHenry Justin Allen
Succeeded byChanning H. Cox
Personal details
Born
Emerson Columbus Harrington

(1870-09-16)September 16, 1870
Colerain Township, Pennsylvania, U.S.
DiedMarch 21, 1928(1928-03-21) (aged 57)
Wallingford, Pennsylvania, U.S.
NationalityAmerican
Political partyRepublican
EducationSwarthmore College (BA)

Contents

Early life and educationEdit

Sproul was born at John Douglass House to William Hall and Deborah Dickinson (Slokom) Sproul[3] in Colerain Township, Lancaster County, Pennsylvania on September 16, 1870. The family relocated to Chester, Pennsylvania in 1883 and Sproul graduated from Chester High School in 1887.[4] He attended Swarthmore College, was a member of the Phi Kappa Psi fraternity and graduated with honors in 1891.

Business CareerEdit

After graduation, Sproul acquired an interest in the Franklin Printing Company of Philadelphia. Sproul later purchased a half interest in the Chester Times newspaper.[4]

Sproul was employed in the field of newspaper publishing, and rose to the rank of president of the Chester Daily Times.[5] Additionally, he made a substantial profit through investments in railroads and manufacturing interests.

In 1895, Sproul was elected a director of the First National Bank of Chester.

In 1898, he became vice president of the Delaware River Iron Shipbuilding and Engine Works but resigned a year later when he organized the Seaboard Steel Casting Company and served as president.

In 1900, he was elected president of the Chester Shipping Company. He was president of the Ohio Valley Electric Railway Company, the Lackawanna & Wyoming Valley Railroad Company and of the General Refractories Company. He was director of the Philadelphia, Baltimore and Washington Railroad Company, the Delaware County Trust and Title Insurance Company, the Commercial Trust Company of Philadelphia and the American Railways Company.[3]

Political careerEdit

 
Willim Cameron Sproul and son Jack in Armistice Day parade, Nov. 11, 1918

A prominent Republican, Sproul served in the Pennsylvania State Senate for the 9th District from 1897 to 1919. At age 26, he was the youngest member of the senate and the youngest man to become senator from Delaware County.[3] In 1911, he drafted the landmark Sproul Road Bill, which created the state highway system.

In 1918, Sproul was elected as the 27th Governor of Pennsylvania and served until 1923. As governor, he focused on expanding funding for education, roadway construction, and veterans' services. He also spurred an effort to expand state forest land in order to replenish the state's woodlands after years of degradation by lumber companies.

Sproul was a candidate for the Republican presidential nomination in 1920. He was later offered the nomination for vice president on a ticket with Warren Harding, but he declined. In 1926, Sproul chaired the bi-state committee that organized the construction of the Benjamin Franklin Bridge between Philadelphia and Camden.

Personal lifeEdit

 
Sproul homestead in Chester, Pennsylvania

On January 21, 1892, Sproul married Emeline Wallace Roach, the daughter of shipbuilder John Roach.[6] They had two children, Dorothy Wallace Sproul (1892–1931) and John Roach Sproul (1894–1949), who married Henry D. Hatfield's daughter, Hazel Bronson Hatfield.

Although Sproul was a millionaire, he died intestate on March 21, 1928.[7][2] He is interred at the Chester Rural Cemetery in Chester, Pennsylvania.[8]

LegacyEdit

His birthplace is known as the John Douglass House and was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1990.[9]

The following are named in his honor:

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "William Cameron Sproul". www.legis.state.pa.us. Retrieved August 10, 2018.
  2. ^ a b "William C. Sproul, Ex-Governor, Dies. Former Pennsylvania Executive Succumbs at 57 After Illness of Several Months. Began Life As Farmer Boy. After College He Bought Interest in a Newspaper, but Later Took Up Financial Interests". New York Times. March 22, 1928. Retrieved December 27, 2013. William Cameron Sproul, former Governor of Pennsylvania, three times President of the Union League of Philadelphia and a nationally known figure in Republican politics, died at his home, Lapidea Manor, near Chester, shortly before 10 o'clock tonight ....
  3. ^ a b c d Ashmead, Henry Graham (1914). History of the Delaware County National Bank. Chester, Pennsylvania: Press of the Chester Times. p. 159. Retrieved August 11, 2018.
  4. ^ a b Ashmead, Henry Graham (1914). History of the Delaware County National Bank. Chester, Pennsylvania: Press of the Chester Times. p. 159. Retrieved March 1, 2018.
  5. ^ Jordan, John W. (1914). A History of Delaware County, Pennsylvania and Its People. New York: Lewis Historical Publishing Company. pp. 515–516. Retrieved August 11, 2018.
  6. ^ "Governor William Cameron Sproul". www.phmc.state.pa.us. Retrieved August 12, 2018.
  7. ^ "Governor William Cameron Sproul". www.phmc.state.pa.us. Retrieved March 3, 2018.
  8. ^ "William Cameron Sproul". www.findagrave.com. Retrieved August 11, 2018.
  9. ^ National Park Service (July 9, 2010). "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service.
  10. ^ "Sproul Hall". www.housing.psu.edu. Retrieved August 12, 2018.
  11. ^ "Wallingford PA Community Spotlight - Sproul Estates". www.wallingfordpahomes.com. Retrieved August 12, 2018.

External linksEdit

Political offices
Preceded by
Jesse Matlack Baker
Member of the Pennsylvania Senate 9th District
1897-1919
Succeeded by
Richard J. Baldwin
Preceded by
Martin Brumbaugh
Governor of Pennsylvania
1919–1923
Succeeded by
Gifford Pinchot
Preceded by
Henry Justin Allen
Chair of the National Governors Association
1919–1922
Succeeded by
Channing H. Cox