A man named William Sprague built the Sprague Mansion in 1790. Mr. Sprague made his fortune in textiles; becoming the first manufacturer of cotton fabric in calico patterned print. After the death of William, the home and family business was left to his two sons Amasa and William II. Amasa became the businesses overseer while his brother William II went on to follow a life of politics. They were the richest men in America in Civil War times.
On the day of New Year’s Eve 1843, Amasa’s badly beaten body, which included with a gunshot wound in the arm, was discovered. Although there were no witnesses to the crime, there was a family to blame the murder on, the Gordons. At the time, there was much prejudice against the Irish.
Nicholas Gordon, an Irish immigrant, owned a small pub near the Sprague factory. Workers frequented the pub and drank a pint or two of brew. The Spragues were infuriated with the mere thought that their employees were drinking on the job. Amasa had the city council revoke Nicholas’ liquor license, although it’s said that there was no reason to do so. A prostitute who kept confusing the brothers’ names was the main prosecution’s witness. Despire the lack of tangible evidence, John was found guilty of murder and hanged. A few years later, evidence was uncovered that indicated Amasa’s brother, William, was the killer.
Paranormal activity has been reported in this home since the early nineteen hundreds. People have felt strange presences, heard phantom footsteps on the stairs and saw eerie reflections in the cupola. People have reported feeling that the antique dolls are staring at them. The first apparition to be added to published reports is that of a man, walking down a staircase in the house. This man is believed to be William Sprague I, Amasa’s and William’s father who died after a chicken bone was caught in his throat or Kate’s son, William, who committed suicide when he lost his job in 1890. This same apparition has been seen in the wine cellar and is also believed to be responsible for cold gusts of air in that area.
In 1968, a caretaker who was living in the house at that time, held a séance. During the session, the caretaker reported making contact with two spirits, that of Amasa Sprague and a former butler named Charles who used to be the family’s butler whose daughter was supposed to marry one of the Spragues but the man married someone else. It is reported that the séance ended when the Ouija board began to repetitively spell out the words “My land!” At this point the caretaker asked one more question, inquiring what these restless souls needed so that they could find peace. The answer he received; “Tell my story.”
1351 Cranston Street
Cranston, RI 02920-6721, United States