Caleb J Sprague

Caleb J. Sprague, one of the most notable and progressive farmers and stock-raisers of Farmington Township, was born in Walworth Township. Ontario County, N. Y., July 8. 1832. His father Caleb Sprague was born and educated in Providence, R. I. His natal day was January 17, 1789. When a young man he went to New York and located in Ontario County, where he followed his trade of milling. Here he married Lydia Aldrich, who became the mother of our subject.

The father of our subject came to Michigan in -- 1834, traveling by team to Buffalo, thence to Detroit by boat, whence they teamed it again to Farmington Township. He found a log house already on the place which he purchased, a fine tract of one hundred and ninety acres which was partly cultivated. He was a Whig in politics and a member of the Baptist Church in which he served many years as a Deacon. Both he and his good wife lived to the age of sixty-eight years, and now lie side by side in their long sleep in the Knapp cemetery in Novi Township. They were the parents of two daughters and four sons, and they had the happiness of seeing all except one grow to manhood and womanhood. The four now surviving are-Alonzo, Lorenzo, Caleb and Jonathan.

Our subject was but a little fellow of three years when he came to Michigan, and he took his first schooling in Farmington Township and completed it at Northville. He remained at home with his parents until his marriage, April 24, 1857. His bride was Mary E., daughter of Joshua and Hannah (McCumber) Simmons, natives of Massachusetts, and who located land in Wayne County, this State, in 1824. Mrs. Sprague was born in Wayne County, this State, November 8, 1835. After their marriage, the young couple located on a farm of eighty acres near the village of Farmington, where they remained until he bought the place where he now resides.

Mr. Sprague has one of the finest farms and one of the handsomest residences in the county. It was in 1863 that he purchased this farm of one hundred and eighty acres, and in 1875 he erected his fine residence at a cost of $5,000. He takes a justifiable pride in having everything about his home in the best shape and most beautifully arranged, and among other attractions has a lovely fountain. He built a reservoir in his house which furnishes water to every room and supplies force for that used in his grounds. A large wind-mill on the premises gives the propelling power. He has been one of the best farmers in the county, and has raised some extraordinary cattle. Among these were two pairs of twin steers of remarkable beauty and build. He has taken them to all the fairs, and in every case they took the prize, and have been the talk of the county. One pair weighed seventy-four hundred pounds, and the other sixty-eight hundred they were graded Durham. He has a handsome oil painting of them which he naturally takes great delight in showing. He at one time kept fine wool sheep, and it has always been his pride to excel his neighbors in the line of graded stock.

Mr. and Mrs. Sprague were never blessed with any children, but they adopted one daughter Lettie, who married Byron Pearce, for whom Mr. Sprague built a neat and pretty home in Farmington. They were bereaved by the death of this daughter in 1886. Mr. Sprague is a Mason, belonging to Blue Lodge No. 151, of Farmington, also to the Royal Arch and Commandery at Northville. In all of them he has been placed in responsible offices as he is looked upon as a leading member. In his religious views he is a Universalist. He is widely known throughout the county and adjoining country as a man of liberal views and honorable dealings, and he has the good word of all who know him.

Source: Portrait and Biographical Album of Oakland County, Michigan.  Chicago: Chapman Bros., 1891.
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