Member Biography

William Cameron Sproul 

Sessions Office Position District Party
1897-1898       9 Republican
1899-1900       9 Republican
1901-1902       9 Republican
1903-1904     President Pro Tempore 9 Republican
1905-1906       9 Republican
1907-1908       9 Republican
1909-1910       9 Republican
1911-1912       9 Republican
1913-1914       9 Republican
1915-1916       9 Republican
1917-1918       9 Republican
1919-1920       9 Republican

COUNTIES: Delaware  


09/16/1870 - 03/28/1928

William Cameron Sproul (R9) Delaware County 1897-1919

Early Life: 

William Cameron Sproul, born September 16, 1870, Andrew’s Bridge, Lancaster County, Pennsylvania; son of  William Hall and Deborah Dickinson Slokum Sproul; relocated, Chester, Pennsylvania, 1883; Chester High School, 1887; Swarthmore College, Phi Kappa Psi fraternity, graduated with honors, (B.A.),1891; printing, newspapers publishing; investments railroads, manufacturing interests, banking shipbuilding, steel casting; elected, Republican, Pennsylvania State Senate, 1897-1919, elected, President Pro Tempore, 1903-1905; elected, Republican, 27th Governor of Pennsylvania, 1919-1923; married, Emeline Wallace Roach, children, Dorothy Wallace Sproul, John Roach Sproul; died, March 21, 1928 (age 57) Chester, Delaware County, Pennsylvania, interment Chester Rural Cemetery, Chester, Delaware County, Pennsylvania.

Early Career:     

Acquired, Franklin Printing Company of Philadelphia, purchased, Chester Times newspaper, president; Elected, director, First National Bank of Chester, 1895; vice president, Delaware River Iron Shipbuilding and Engine Works 1898, resigned; organized, Seaboard Steel Casting Company, president, 1899.

Elected, president, Chester Shipping Company, 1900; president, Ohio Valley Electric Railway Company, Lackawanna & Wyoming Valley Railroad Company, Coal River Railway, Spruce River Coal Land Company of West Virginia and General Refractories Company; Director, Philadelphia, Baltimore and Washington Railroad Company, First National Bank of Chester, Delaware County Trust and Title Insurance Company, the Commercial Trust Company of Philadelphia and American Railways Company; director, Pennsylvania Training School Feeble Minded Children; trustee, Swarthmore College.

Professional titlesbusiness ownershipboard membershipslocal governmentclub memberships:

Member, Union League, University Club, Corinthian Yacht Club of Philadelphia, Manhattan Engineers’ Club of New York.

Pennsylvania Politics:

Elected, Republican Pennsylvania State Senate, 9th district, Delaware County, 1897-1919, president pro tempore, 1903-1905; committee assignments, member Appropriations, Congressional Apportionment, Corporations, Elections, Executive Nominations, Finance (Chairman), Judiciary General, Public Road and Highways, Railway; drafted the landmark Sproul Road Bill, created the state highway system 1911; served twenty-two consecutive years, Pennsylvania State Senate, resigned, January 20, 1919.

Elected, Republican, 27th Governor of Pennsylvania, 1919-1923.  

Chair, National Governors Association, 1919-1922.

Political Career:

Elected, 27th Governor of Pennsylvania, 1919-1923, focused on expanding funding, education, roadway construction, and veterans' services, replenish the state's woodlands after years of depletion by lumber companies, was to plant one tree for each Pennsylvania World War I casualty energized a huge reforestation project, culminating with Sproul State Forest, Clinton County. 

Candidate, Republican presidential nomination, 1920; declined, nomination, vice president with Warren Harding. 

Chaired, bi-state construction committee, Benjamin Franklin Bridge, Philadelphia and Camden, New Jersey, 1926.


Once a millionaire, he died intestate, dispensed his entire fortune, to Quaker charities.  

Awarded, honorary Doctor of Law Degree, Franklin and Marshall College, Lancaster, Pennsylvania, 1912. 

His house known as, John Douglass House, built 1769, remolded 1815, restored 2007, also known as the Governor Sproul Birthplace, located, Colerain Township, Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. National Register of Historic Places, 1990. 

When son, John Roach Sproul (1894–1949) married Hazel Bronson Hatfield, daughter of the 14th Governor of West Virginia Henry D. Hatfield, who, he himself just happened to be the nephew to Devil Anse Hatfield, leader of the Hatfield clan.

Interesting coincidence, Governor William Cameron Sproul, Lieutenant Governor Edward E. Beidleman, Lieutenant Governor, both former State Senate President pro tempores, serving at the same time.

The following, named in his honor:

  1. Sproul Hall, a Penn State University residence hall built, 1966. 
  2. Governor Sproul Apartments, Broomall, Pennsylvania
  3. Sproul Estates, a residential development, Wallingford, Pennsylvania, built on the site of his former residence
  4. Sproul State Forest, Clinton and Centre counties.
  5. Sproul Road, which parallels much of PA Route 320 in between Wayne, Radnor and Marple Townships.
  6. Sproul Observatory, Swarthmore College, Telescope, one of the largest in the east.


Cox, Harold. "Senate Members S"Wilkes University Election Statistics ProjectWilkes University.

The Pennsylvania Manual, (1918). Miller, H.P., (Compiler). Baker, W.H., (Assistant Compiler). Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, pages 1084, 1095, Biographical Sketches of Senators, page 1064. 

William Cameron Sproul (1870-1928) - Find a Grave Memorial