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Old Chester, PA: Biographical Sketches

Gov. William Cameron Sproul

William Cameron Sproul

Photograph from
One Hundred Years, The Delaware County Nation Bank Chester, PA 1814-1914


William Cameron Sproul

William Cameron Sproul was Delaware County's only governor of Pennsylvania, serving from January 21, 1919 to January 16, 1923.

(The biographical sketch below was taken from One Hundred Years, The Delaware County National Bank Chester, PA 1814-1914)

Years in parentheses are years of service as a Director of The Bank of Delaware County and/or The Delaware County National Bank

Hon. William Cameron Sproul (1907 - -), son of William H. and Deborah Dickinson (Slokom) Sproul, was born near Octoraro, Lancaster county, September 16, 1870. A child of four years when his parents removed to Negaunee, Michigan, before he was six he attended private school, and at eleven entered the High School of that city, and later, when the family removed to Chester, he became a student at the Chester High School, graduating in the normal (teachers') class of 1887. In the fall of that year he matriculated at Swarthmore College, graduating with commencement honors from that institution in 1891. Soon after his graduation from Swarthmore, Mr. Sproul acquired an interest in the Franklin Printing Company, of Philadelphia, and later purchased a half interest in the "Chester Times," a daily to which in his school days he had been a frequent contributor.

His journalistic life soon brought him into politics in Delaware county, hence, when twenty-six, he was nominated and elected State Senator, the youngest man to attain that position in the history of the district. Although the youngest man in the Senate, a distinction he retained for six years, he was assigned to many important committees. In 1900, he was re-elected, and in 1903, he became prominent in the advocacy of a State system of good roads, and his bill, that session, was the beginning of the movement. In that session, he was nominated as president of the Senate, and received the unanimous vote of the Republican members of that House. In 1904, in 1908, and again in 1912, he was re-elected, and has served (1914) for eighteen years uninterruptedly in the Senate of Pennsylvania.

In the business world, Mr. Sproul is very active. In 1895, he was elected a director of the First National Bank, of Chester, and in 1898 vice president of the Delaware River Iron Shipbuilding and Engine Works, better known as "Roach's Shipyard," a position he resigned the following year, when he organized the Seaboard Steel Casting Company, of which he is president. In 1900, he was elected president of the Chester Shipping Company. He is president of the Ohio Valley Electric Railway Company; of the Lackawanna & Wyoming Valley Railroad Company, and of the General Refractories Company. He is a director of the Philadelphia, Baltimore & Washington Railroad Company of the Delaware County Trust and Title Insurance Company, of the commercial Trust Company, of Philadelphia, and of the American Railways Company.

He was a member of the Pennsylvania Commission of the Jamestown Exposition, and had a like place in the Louisiana Purchase Exposition, at St. Louis, in 1904. He is a member of the State Commission to erect a statue to General Meade at the National capital; a member and treasurer of the board of trustees of the State Hospital for the Criminal Insane, at Farview, Wayne county, and chairman of the Pennsylvania Historical Commission. He is a member of the Pennsylvania Historical Society, the Delaware County Historical Society, a director and vice president of the Union League, of Philadelphia. Mr. Sproul is a director of the Pennsylvania Training School for Feeble Minded Children, at Elwyn, and a trustee of Swarthmore College, where the large telescope in the Sproul Observatory is his gift to his alma mater. In 1912, at the one hundred and twenty-fifth anniversary of Franklin and Marshall College, at Lancaster, Mr. Sproul was given the honorary degree of Doctor of Laws.

Gov. Sproul's home in Chester was located at the northwest corner of 9th & Kerlin Streets.





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2002 John A. Bullock III.

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