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Civil War Generals Price and Price

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  • Civil War generals Price and Price 2010

    Missouri ranks third among the States with the most battles and engagements in the War Between the States. Her best known Confederate general was Sterling Price, born in Virginia, September 4, 1809.  The Price family is from a line of Welsh nobility. Price graduated from Hampden-Sydney College and studied law.  In 1831 he came to Fayette, Missouri with his family to raise tobacco and various crops.  He was a business man, Democratic politician, served several terms in the Missouri House of Representative and was chosen its speaker.  His service in the U. S. Congress was shortened due to his participation in the Mexican War.  At war’s end he was appointed military governor of Mexico.  On his return home Brigadier General Price was elected governor of Missouri.  A moderate politically, he rejected secession.  The Camp Jackson Massacre by General Nathaniel Lyon in St. Louis changed his stance.  Governor Claiborne Jackson and Price met in St. Louis with General Lyon to try and neutralize the mounting problem.  Lyon replied by declaring war on the state government.  June 14, 1861, Lyon moved on Jefferson City occupying the capital.

    Governor Jackson and the Lt Governor took the State Seal and Treasury to Marshall, Texas establishing the Missouri government in exile.  Missouri was admitted to the Confederate States of America August 19, 1861.

    Fortuitously Jefferson City was spared from assault. October 7, 1864 the occupying Union garrison strength was considered too strong to attack.  General Sterling Price drew in his long battle lines and passed around the capital city leaving it unmolested. 

    A monument was placed originally at the “Y” intersection of Moreau Drive, Greenberry Road, and Hough Park Street. The initial attack was aborted at this location.  The large rock now stands where Fairmont Boulevard joins Moreau Drive.  The bronze plaque states”
    “Deciding against attack the Confederate Army under Gen. Sterling Priced turned from Jefferson City, October 17, 1864.  This marker dedicated April 6, 1933 by Winnie Davis Chapter United Daughters of the Confederacy

    Winnie Davis was the daughter of Jefferson Davis, the first and only President of the Confederate States of America. 

    At the end of the war General Sterling Price, General “Jo” Shelby and numerous other confederates never surrendered.  A colony was set up at Carlota in Mexico which was unsuccessful Price returned to Missouri, October 3, 1867 General Price died of cholera in St. Louis.  Honors were given to him fifty years later as Missouri’s greatest statesman-soldier.  His statue is in Keytesville, Missouri


    Mr. and Mrs. Robert Hawkins III commissioned me to paint the six Confederate generals from Missouri in 1994.  The image of General Price was edited from “The Pride of Old Missouri” for this ornament.

    The Hawkins generously donated the gouache painting to the Confederate Soldiers Museum near the Jefferson Davis Home in Biloxi, Mississippi.  In 2005 Hurricane Katrina destroyed the entire museum.  All arti8facts were swept away.  Previously, I had a copy made in Italy of the original work.  The resilient generals now reside in a print.

    Thomas Lawson Price


    The list of people who played a part in Missouri’s Civil War saga includes such famous names as Wild Bill Hickok, Buffalo Bill Cody, William T. Sherman, and Samuel Clemens, who is better known as Mark Twain.  The individual who perhaps contributed the most to a very young City of Jefferson was Thomas L. Price, a visionary. Price was born near Danville, Virginia January 19, 1809, the same year as Sterling Price.  Thomas Lawson’s father, a Virginia tobacco planter, was a large slave owner.  The founder of the Price family in America was John Price who left England for Virginia around 1610.

    The Missouri Compromise of 1821 admitted two new states to the Union.  Maine came in as a free state; Missouri came in as a slave state to maintain the balance in the Union.  Ten years later Thomas L. Price moved to Jefferson City, Missouri offered prosperity in real estate holdings and business.  In 1838 he established the first stage line between Jefferson City and St. Louis. Stage lines were extended over various routes from the capital city.  He was elected the first mayor of the city in 1839 and served two terms.  The entrepreneur was one of the incorporators of The Capital City Bank and president of the Jefferson Land Company.

    In 1847 Thomas L. Price was commissioned brevet major general of Missouri militia by Governor Edwards. His political career was extensive.  He served as the representative from Cole County in the state legislature and was elected to the United States Congress.

    T the outbreak of the Civil War President Abraham Lincoln promoted him to brigadier general.  In a brief time he resigned the commission to accept a seat in the US Congress.

    As a promoter of the Pacific Railroad, he was one of the largest contractors of the road.  Price was a major participant of the construction of the Kansas Pacific Railroad.


    The Sterling Price and the Thomas L. Price families rather paralleled each other.  Both had origins from Great Britain and immigrated to Virginia about the same period.  They were educated gentlemen from planter backgrounds who chose Missouri to create a new home. They ran against each other for governor.  Sterling Price won.  Thomas L. Price served as Lieutenant governor of the state from 1849-1853.  The generals were members of the Democratic Party.  Personal circumstances put them on opposite sides during the war.

    At war’s end General Thomas L. Price was in favor of a conciliatory Tory policy.  He favored the restoration of peace based on forgiveness.  General Blair was dispatched to New Orleans to meet General Sterling Price upon his return from exile in Mexico.  The special representative was bearing the “olive branch” offering personal services to obtain a full pardon for Sterling Price form President Johnson.  In a formal tone Sterling Price responded, “General Blair, I appreciate your offer very highly, but I have no pardon to ask.”  Each man was faithful to his convictions.

    On the evening of January 2, 1867, General Sterling Price’s son, Captain Celsus Price married Celeste Price, the daughter of General Thomas L. Price of Jefferson City.  Sterling Price suffered ill health and could not attend

    General’s grandson was named after his distinguished grandfather, Thomas L. Price.  The grandson’s mansion was built around 1910 at 1002 West main, the end of the trolley line.  Over some one hundred years the property has had various owners.  The Lutheran Senior Services now owns the expanded mansion with the surrounding land.  Ultimately, the “new” Price Mansion was rechristened Heisinger Bluffs after a previous owner.  The splendid Christian retirement home is situated in a stunning location offering a prime view of the Missouri River.

    Thomas Lawson and Sterling Price were to share a great granddaughter, the late Juliet Price Gibson Idol of Jefferson City.  The gracious Lady resided at 3329 Country Club drive across the road from my residence.

    The late Dr. Ed Loeffler wanted something unique for a well-to-do lady who had most everything.  I had just returned from my first year painting in Venice, Italy with Luciano Dall’Acqua. Dr. Loeffler generated my first sale in the United States.  “E VA", water color painting, was his Christmas gift to a great southern lady, the Generals Prices’ great-granddaughter.

    Mrs. Idol lived next door to Mrs.  Myrene Houchin Hobbs.  Cole County Historical Society was organized at her home, Melody Farms.  Mrs. Hobbs was the Society’s first president.

    All Missouri has been influenced by the upper South.  People from Virginia, Kentucky, Tennessee and North Carolina populated the state and guided it through Indian uprisings, westward expansion, and Civil War.  Their traditions were the well-warn traditions of veteran pioneers, our heritage from the bluegrass valleys, and Appalachian Hills.  Increasing numbers have come in to mingle with old stock from the Upper South and diversify the Missouri population.

    Researched and Written by Sabra Eagan


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