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Free Genealogy Biography of William Sprague
Pennsylvania Volunteer of the Civil War

Captain William Bradford Sprague

Captain William Bradford Sprague was born in Maple Grove, North Danville, Vermont, March 24, 1822. He learned the trade of tailor in Jacksonville, Pennsylvania, and when a young man settled in Westmoreland county, Pennsylvania. He married, in 1844, and moved to Saltsburg, Indiana county, Pennsylvania, later to Allegheny county, Pennsylvania, where he engaged in the drug business.

After his return from the war he resumed his interrupted drug business at Elizabeth, Allegheny county. In 1875 he established a drug store at West Elizabeth, which he conducted until his death, November 14, 1884. It is through Captain William Bradford Sprague that descent is claimed from Governor William Bradford, "the Puritan." In 1861, being then forty years of age, he began recruiting men in Allegheny county for war service, being then engaged in the drug business in Elizabeth, Allegheny county, Pennsylvania. After the company was formed he was elected captain, and assigned to the One Hundred and First Regiment Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry, 101st Regiment. The strenuous campaign of the regiment on the Peninsula, followed by the Kinston-Goldsboro expedition, impaired the Captain's health, and he was honorably discharged January 20, 1863, on the surgeon's certificate of disability. After his return home he regained his health and soon afterward again enlisted, serving in the quartermaster's department in General Aiken's division of cavalry.

On the night of President Lincoln's murder he was one of the guards stationed at one end of the "Long Bridge" to prevent the escape of the assassin. Captain Sprague was a good soldier and an exemplary citizen. He was a Republican in politics, a consistent member of the Presbyterian church for many years, and held in high esteem in the communities in which he resided. He married, in 1844, Sarah McQuaide. Children; Ronel, deceased; Mary Emily, married John F. Blair, of Elizabeth; James, now living at Pittsburgh, East End; Elizabeth, deceased; Nancy Edith, married John McKee, of Wilkinsburg, Pennsylvania; Charles Diehl, deceased; Ida (of previous mention), married George W. Conrad, and resides in Wilkinsburg, Pennsylvania. Their only child, James Sprague Conrad is of further mention.

Captain William Bradford Sprague was a descendant of Governor William Bradford, of Plymouth and Mayflower fame, born at Austerfield, England, 1589, married Alice Hauson, came to New England in the "Mayflower," 1620, and was the first governor of Plymouth Colony until his death in 1657. The descent is through James Bradford, a descendant of Governor William, whose fourth son, William Bradford, had a son Joshua, who married Anna Cleveland. In this generation the trace is lost, but the tradition is strongly supported that Captain Sprague gained his name, William Bradford, through family right.

Source: Genealogical and Personal History of Fayette County, John W. Jordan, Lewis Historical Publishing Co., 1912.

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