Royal Chapin Taft, Sr.
39th Governor of Rhode Island
In office
May 29, 1888 – May 28, 1889
LieutenantEnos Lapham
Preceded byJohn W. Davis
Succeeded byHerbert W. Ladd
Member of the Rhode Island House of Representatives
In office
Personal details
Royal Chapin Taft

(1823-02-14)February 14, 1823
Northbridge, Massachusetts
DiedJune 4, 1912(1912-06-04) (aged 89)
Providence, Rhode Island
Resting placeSwan Point Cemetery
Political partyRepublican
Spouse(s)Mary Frances Armington
ChildrenRoyal Chapin Taft Jr. (died 1942)
ParentsOrsmus Taft
Margaret Smith
ResidenceProvidence, Rhode Island
EducationWorcester Academy
ProfessionBusinessman (banking and railroads)

Royal Chapin Taft Sr. (February 14, 1823 – June 4, 1912) was a US politician and businessman, whose served as the 39th Governor of Rhode Island from 1888 to 1889. He was a member of the Taft political family; as a descendant of Robert Taft Sr., he was a distant cousin of President of the United States William Howard Taft.


Taft was born in Northbridge, Massachusetts, on February 14, 1823, and was educated at Worcester Academy. His parents were Orsmus Taft and Margaret (Smith) Taft; on October 31, 1850, he married Mary Frances Armington.[1] They had four children.[2]

He served as the treasurer of Central Congregational Church in Providence from 1855-56.[3] He belonged to the Republican Party, and was an elected member of Rhode Island House of Representatives from 1880-84 before his term as governor.

Taft was a member of the firm Bradford & Taft, wool dealers, from which he retired in 1885.[2] He was also president of Merchants' National Bank from 1868[4] president of the Boston & Providence Railroad, and a director of the New York, New Haven and Hartford Railroad (which took control of the B&P in 1893).

In 1890 he became a charter member of the Rhode Island Society of the Sons of the American Revolution. He served as the Society's president from 1897 to 1898.

He died June 4, 1912, at his home in Providence, Rhode Island.[5][2] At the time of his death, he was the oldest living ex-governor of Rhode Island.[2] He is interred at Swan Point Cemetery, Providence.[6]


He was a patron of the arts, with a large private collection; parts of his collection are now part of various institutions such as the Rhode Island School of Design.[7]

Taft Hall at the University of Rhode Island is named after him,[8] as well as the Royal C. Taft Outpatient Building (1891) at Rhode Island Hospital in Providence.[9]


  1. ^ According to [1], he was at that time resident in New York.
  2. ^ a b c d "Obituary: Ex-Governor Royal C. Taft". Brooklyn, NY: The Brooklyn Daily Eagle. 5 June 1912. p. 3. Retrieved 15 May 2015.
  3. ^ Historical manual of the Central Congregational Church, Providence, R.I. 1852-1902. p. 93.
  4. ^ See "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2006-05-19. Retrieved 2006-08-17.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link), which claims to be a transcript of "Industries and Wealth of the Principal Points in Rhode Island, being the city of Providence, Pawtucket, Central Falls, Woonsocket, Newport, Narragansett Pier, Bristol & Westerly." from 1892
  5. ^ "Ex-Gov. Royal C. Taft Dead. Retired Rhode Island Banker Was 90 and Kin of President Taft". New York Times. June 5, 1912.
  6. ^ "ROYAL CHAPIN TAFT". Retrieved March 26, 2014.
  7. ^ See footnote 4 on "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2006-09-07. Retrieved 2006-08-17.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link), which describes Mrs. Taft giving the school 169 prints from his collection in 1945.
  8. ^ "URI History and Timeline". University of Rhode Island. Retrieved 18 Jul 2010.
  9. ^ Mentioned in [2], which is otherwise irrelevant
Party political offices Preceded byGeorge P. Wetmore Republican nominee for Governor of Rhode Island1888 Succeeded byHerbert W. Ladd Political offices Preceded byJohn W. Davis Governor of Rhode Island1888–1889 Succeeded byHerbert W. Ladd