From Debbie Lacy, correspondent.
The following was extracted from page 410 and 411 of "A Biographical Encyclopedia of Rhode Island".
"SPRAGUE, Samuel Stearns, merchant, son of Elisha Leavens & Clarissa (Day) Sprague, was b. at South Killingly, CT, 3 July 1819 at the old homestead of his ancestors. Elisha Leavens Sprague was a well-to-do farmer, who had inherited the estate and learned the trade of his father who was a blacksmith. The first progenitor of the family was Edward Sprague, of Upway, county of Dorset, England, whose sons, Ralph, Richard and William lived in Salem, MA in 1628 & it appears from the genealogy of the family that Ralph was the father of Samuel of Malden, MA, who was the father of Samuel 2nd, of the same place, whose son John removed to Killingly, CT in 1752. The latter was the father of John 2nd, who was the father of Daniel, whose son Elisha Leavens was the father of the subject of this sketch. Clarissa Day was the daughter of Rev. Isreal Day, a prominent Congregational Minister, who was for many years settled at South Killingly, CT. She died 2 Nov 1831 leaving two sons, Elisha Rudolphus and Samuel Stearns, whose father married again in Nov. 1833 his 2nd wife being Bathsheba Bliss of Warren, MA, who is now in her 94th year of her age, and resides with Samuel S. Sprague
Elisha L. Sprague died in 1834 leaving his sons the farm & other property. Samuel S. received his early education in the common schools, and at the academy at Brooklyn, CT. His only brother having already begun to prepare for college, Samuel, who was then 14 years of age, took charge of the farm & afterwards bought out his brother's interest in the estate. With the proceeds derived therefrom his brother was enabled to complete his collegiate education. The other property left them by their father was lost during the financial crisis of 1837.
On the 8th of Nov. 1842, Mr. Sprague m. Esther Pierce Hutchins, d. of Simon & Lydia Hutchins of Killingly, CT who belonged to a large and influential family. He continued to carry on the farm until the spring of 1852, when desiring to change his business and better his prospects in life, he sold the homestead, which had then been in the possession of the family for over 100 yrs., and built a house at Danielsonville, CT to which he removed his family, while he went to Providence, RI and the first of Sept. entered into the flour and grain business, in company with Daniel E. Day, on Peck's Wharf, Dyer St.. near the foot of Clifford St.
In May, 1853, he removed his family to Providence. About two years thereafter the firm removed to the corner of S. Water & Crawford streets, where they remained about 12 years, during which time they built up a large and profitable business. Until 1866, they had occupied stores owned by others, but in that year they purchased the large brick store & loot on Dyer St., formerly owned and occupied by Messrs. Spellman & Metcalf, who were engaged in the same business. To this store they soon after removed and continued to carry on business there until July 1876, when Mr. Sprague sold his undivided interest in the real estate to D. E. Day, the company dividing the stock in trade and the partnership of Day, Sprague & Co. was dissolved.
Mr. Sprague then formed a co partnership with two of his sons, Charles H. & Henry S. and the firm is still known as S. S. Sprague & Co. The new firm temporarily occupied a store adjoining the one formerly occupied by Day, Sprague & Co., where they continued in the same line of business until October 1877, when they removed to the Columbia Elevator & Mills, built for their use by Alexander Duncan, which property they leased for a term of ten years, and now occupy. The business of this firm is more extensive than any in which Mr. Sprague has ever been interested. They have several grain elevators in Christian Co., IL, where their agents purchase grain & ship to Providence & other markets. In all his business connections Mr. Sprague has been from the first an active working partner, in buying, selling, and general management. In 1879, he became interested in valuable real estate investments in Minneapolis, MN and other places.
He is a director of the Rhode Island Hospital Trust Co; also one of the directors of the Rhode Island National bank, and for 5 years has been one of the Board of Commissioners of the state Sinking Fund. Mr. Sprague has been closely devoted to the interests of his business, and although he has consented to fill official positions, has never sought, and often declined such positions.
From 1868 to 1870 he served as a member of the Common Council of Providence, from the Sixth Ward, and was also one of the Board of Aldermen from 1871 to 1873.
He is one of the original members of the Union Congregational Church, from the Richmond Street Society; was an active member of the Building Committee, and is now chairman of the Society Committee. He manifests a general interest in the public enterprises & benevolent institutions of the day, and is a generous supporter of all good works. His successful career is attributable to his rare business capacity, industry, perseverance, and prudence, combined with that uprightness of character upon which all true success is based.
He has been twice married. His first wife, already mentioned, died 29 June 1865, and on the 22nd of Oct 1866, he married Adeline M., daughter of Deacon Lucius F. and Lydia E. Thayer of Westifeld, MA. By the first marriage there were four children: Charles Hutchins, Henry Shepard, Frank Elisha, and Alida Esther."
"The Ralph Sprague Genealogy", by E. G. Sprague, page 163.
Samuel Stearns Sprague in 1852 sold his estate in South Killingly and in 1853 moved to Providence, RI after residing for a short time in Danielsonville, CT; in 1891 was the senior partner of the firm of S. S. Sprague & Co., with his sons, Chas. H. and Henry S., proprietors of the Columbia Elevator Grain Mills, 144-146 Dyer Street, Providence, established 1876; was a member of the Common Council from the 6th ward in Providence 1868-9.