Biography of Ernest M. Sprague
Cuyahoga County, OH Biographies

ERNEST M. SPRAGUE has gained success and prestige in his profession, that of contracting engineer, and in the City of Cleveland he maintains his offices at 1538 Hanna Building.

Ernest Marshall Sprague was born on the family homestead farm near Farmington, Oakland County, Michigan, on the 20th of October, 1865, the family having been founded in that section of Michigan in the pioneer period of its history, and the branch of the Sprague family of which the subject of this review is a scion having been founded in America in 1626, when representatives of the name came from England and settled in Rhode Island, where the family has been one of prominence for many generations. The family gave patriot soldiers for service in the War of the Revolution and also the War of 1812. In the second war with England Caleb Sprague served as a drummer boy with his father in a company that rendered good account of itself in the conffict of 1812-14. This youthful drummer and patriot, grandfather of him whose name initiates this sketch, established residence in the State of New York, where his son Lorenzo was born in the year 1828. In the early '30s they became the pioneer founders of the family in Oakland County, Michigan, where Lorenzo continued to reside until his death in 1898. His wife, whose maiden name was Laura G. Mead, was horn in the State of New York in 1820, she having survived him about two years and having been eighty years of age at the time of her death in 1900. The paternal ancestors of Mrs. Sprague in America came from England to this country in 1656, settled in Connecticut, and were numbered among the founders of Greenwich, that state. Mrs. Sprague was a daughter of Amos Mead, who served as captain of a company in the War of 1812, and who was one of the pioneers of Farmington, Michigan.

Ernest M. Sprague, son of Lorenzo and Laura G. (Mead) Sprague, passed the period of his childhood and early youth on the old home farm which was the place of his birth, and supplemented the discipline of the district schools by a course in the high school at Ann Arbor, the seat of the great University of Michigan. In preparing for the profession of his choice he entered this university, and in the same was graduated in 1888, with the degree of Civil Engineer. Within a short time after his graduation he found employment in the engineering department of the Chicago & North Western Railroad, with which he continued his service six years. He was next detailed to the position of general inspector of the Milwaukee, Lake Shore & Western Railroad, a line that had been acquired by the Chicago & North Western, and in this connection he continued his service two years. He then retired from railroad engineering work to accept a position in the engineering department of the Detroit Bridge & Iron Works, one of the important industrial concerns of Detroit. In 1898 he went to Denver, Colorado, in the capacity of western representative of the Gillett Herzog Manufacturing Company of Minneapolis, Minnesota, and in 1900 still further recognition of his ability came when he was made contracting manager for the American Bridge Company, with headquarters in Denver. There he remained in this executive service until 1903, when he was transferred, in the same official capacity, to Cleveland, Ohio. In 1920 he resigned his position with the American Bridge Company to assume the post of contracting engineer with the McClintic Marshall Company, of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, together with similar functioning with a subsidiary concern, the Riter Conley Company. In this connection he continues to maintain his headquarters in Cleveland, and this position he still maintains.

In 1905 Mr. Sprague established his residence in East Cleveland, and there he has been active in civic affairs as a loyal and progressive citizen. He served as a member of the city council and also as a member of the sinking fund commission. Since the adoption of the city manager system of municipal government, he has served during the past six years as city commissioner, being vice president bf that body.

Mr. Sprague is a member of the American Society of Civil Engineers, the Cleveland Athletic Club, the Big Ten University Club, and the Cleveland Chamber of Commerce. His basic Masonic affiliation is with Windermere Lodge, Free and Accepted Masons; his chivalric alliance is with Coeir de Leon Commandery, Knights Templar, and he is a member of Lake Erie Consistory of the Scottish Rite, besides which he is a life member of El Jebel Temple of the Mystic Shrine in the City of Denver, Colorado.

Mr. Sprague married Miss Maude L. Sill, who was born in the State of Illinois, and who is a daughter of George H. and Amanda Sill. Mr. Sill, a native of Pennsylvania, became a resident of Illinois and from the latter state removed with his family to Denver, Colorado, when his daughter Maude L. was a child. Mr. and Mrs. Sprague have two children: Robert M., aged sixteen years (1924), is a senior in the Shaw High School, and Jean K., the thirteen year old daughter, is a student in Laurel School.

A History of Cuyahoga County
and the City of Cleveland
By: William R. Coates
The American Historical Society
Chicago and New York, 1924

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