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About Royal C. Taft, Governor
Royal Chapin Taft (February 14, 1823 – June 4, 1912) was a US politician and businessman, whose most distinguished post was that as the 39th Governor of Rhode Island, an office he held from 1888–1889. He was a member of the Taft political family; he shared a great-great-great-great-grandfather (Robert Taft, Sr.) with President of the United States William Howard Taft.
He was born in Northbridge, Massachusetts, on 14 February 1823, and was educated at Worcester Academy, where he graduated in 1872. His parents were Orsmus Taft and Margaret (Smith) Taft; on 31 October 1850, he married Mary Frances Aimington.
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.
He was also president of Merchants' National Bank from 1868 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). He died 4 June 1912, and is interred at Swan Point Cemetery, Providence.
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.
Taft Hall at the University of Rhode Island is named after him, as well as the Royal C. Taft Outpatient Building (1891) at Rhode Island Hospital in Providence.