Notes on William Wallace Sprague (1830 - 1913)
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Notes on William Wallace Sprague

From "The History of Fayette County, Iowa" (1878)

          Sprague, W. W., farmer, Sec. 23; P.O. Oelwein; born in Essex Co., N.Y., in 1830; located in this county in 1858. Married Miss Betsy Miranda in 1858; she was born in Chittenden Co., Vt., Dec. 2, 1829; they have seven children living--Philander D., born June 25, 1857; Lucy L., born June 28, 1859; Lucretia A., born Oct. 30, 1860; Olive L., born April 3, 1862; Samuel B., born June 10, 1864; Sidney C., born March 7, 1867; Mrs. Sprague had one child by her first husband--Herbert W. Kinston, born May 7, 1851. Mrs. Sprague is member of the Presbyterian Church. He has been School Director three years. He owns 112 1/2 acres of land, worth $25 per acre.
In the 1878 Fayette County History there is also an entry which may be a brother or cousin of W. W. Sprague.

          Sprague, H. C., farmer, Sec. 26; P.O. Oelwein; born in St. Lawrence Co., N.Y., Oct 25, 1833; located in this county in 1855. He married Miss Sarah Powers Sept. 14, 1863; she was born in Boone Co., Ill., Nov. 6, 1844; they have five children--William Sherman, born Aug. 18, 1866; Florence L., Sept. 21, 1869; Charles F., Sept. 3, 1872; Freddy Lester, born Feb. 7, 1875; Alley May, born Aug. 20, 1877. Republican. He enlisted in the 5th I.V.I., June 29, 1861, and served with his regiment until Jan. 5, 1864, when he was transferred to the 5th I.V.C., with which he served until Aug. 11, 1865, when he was mustered out; he was wounded at the battle of Champion Hill. He owns 132 1/2 acres of land, valued at $30 per acre.
On the 1870 census of Fayette county the household of W. W. and Betsy Sprague includes 80-year-old "Betsy"? Sprague, described as a male, born in Vermont, and listed as a soldier of 1812.

1870 Census - Jefferson Twp., Fayette Co., Iowa

From the Oelwein Register, July 2, 1913.

          William Wallace Sprague was born in Essex county, New York, July 12, 1829. He came with his parents to Jackson county, Iowa, when he was a child. He was married to Miranda Day and came to Fayette county in 1856, locating on a farm two miles east of Oelwein. Here he lived till after the death of his wife which occurred Sept. 1, 1891. At the time of his death his home was with his youngest son, Sidney C. Sprague. Mr. Sprague was of the true pioneer stock, enduring with cheerfulness the hardships of pioneer life, and rejoicing in the strength that enabled him to bend the forces of nature to the good of humanity.
          He was the father of seven children to whom he has left the priceless heritage of a good name. It was ever his proud boast that his given word was as good as a signed contract. He endeavored to rear his sons and daughters in the straight line of duty and truth, teaching them ever that virtue, honesty, and truth are the brightest jewels of life's crown. If sometimes in the struggle to be just he seemed to miss the law of kindness, those who knew his gentleness and unfailing patience during the helpless stricken years know that it was because of the firm belief that justice must be done at whatever cost. He was a Universalist in belief and a firm believer that God is just and loving.
          In April 1899 he was stricken with paralysis of the left side, rendering him almost helpless, but yet able to be abouth the house until November, 1909, when he suffered a severe illness and a second stroke, since when he has never left his bed. During the trying years that would have driven less strong spirits into a state of nervous irritability, he never uttered one word of complaint. To friends who endeavored to sympathize with him, his unfailing reply was, "I have no complaint against the Almighty. He has left me my right hand and my eyesight." Four weeks ago he was stricken with a mortal weariness. He called his sons and daughters to his bedside saying he was dying. Asked if he felt badly, he answered, "No, I am so glad to go." But the gentle spirit was to be further purified by suffering and he lingered through the weary days till in the stillness of the Sabbath afternoon he fell peacefully asleep and "He was not, for God took him" June 29th at four o'clock. Three children have gone home before the father. Those left to minister to him in the last weary days are Mr. Lucretia Powers, Mrs. Lucy Howard, Samuel B. and Sidney C. There are thirty grandchildren and 12 great grandchildren.

                    Were a star quenched on high.
                    Still gleaming through the sky.
                    Render it's pathway bright.
                    So when a good man dies.

                    For years beyond our ken.
                    The light he leaves behind him.
                    Shines on the hearts of men.
                    Shines on the hearts of men.

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