Missouri Digital Heritage :: Collections :: Sterling Price, 1853-1857

Missouri State Archives
Sterling Price, 1853-1857

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Sterling Price, 1853-1857


Sterling Price was born in Prince Edward County, Virginia on September 11, 1809 to Pugh Williamson Price and Elizabeth Ross Price. Price attended Hampden-Sydney College in Virginia from 1826 to 1827 where he studied law. The family immigrated to Missouri in 1830, settling near Keytesville in Chariton County. On May 14, 1833, he married Martha Head, daughter of Judge Walter Head, a wealthy Virginia planter. The couple raised seven children on their farm near Keytesville. Price allied himself with a group of wealthy southern planters and merchants who dominated Missouri politics during the 1830s and 1840s. Price was the representative from Chariton County to the Missouri General Assembly from 1836-1840. Elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1844, he resigned at the start of the Mexican-American War in 1846. Price accepted a commission as colonel of the 2nd Regiment, Missouri Infantry. He returned home to Missouri in 1848. In 1852, Price was elected Missouri's eleventh governor. He believed popular sovereignty should determine the slavery question. Governor Price also supported the 1854 Kansas-Nebraska Act and declined to aid pro-slavery Missourians attempts to take over Kansas. Following the end of his term, Price presided over the 1860 State Convention called to decide whether Missouri would secede from the Union. Missouri remained in the Union. In May 1861, Governor Claiborne Fox Jackson assigned Price to command the newly reformed Missouri State Guard. In 1862, Price became a major general in the Confederate Army, directing battles in Missouri, Arkansas, and Mississippi. Rather than surrender his forces at the end of the war, Price led the remainder of his army to Mexico in June of 1865, where he sought service with the Emperor Maximilian. He returned to St. Louis in 1867 impoverished and in poor health. Sterling Price died on September 29, 1867.

The Collection

Records (1849-1857) of Governor Sterling Price (1809-1867) include appointments, correspondence, petitions, proclamations, reports, resignations, telegrams, and writs of election.

Rights and Reproductions

Copyright is in the public domain. Preferred citation: (Item description), (date); Sterling Price, 1853-1857; Office of the Governor, Record Group 3.11; Missouri State Archives, Jefferson City.

How to Use This Collection:

The official title lists dates of service from inauguration to end of term. Records (1849-1857) refer to the date range of materials included within the collection. All references to places are within the state of Missouri unless indicated, and county is specified when known. The spelling of proper names varies greatly. When correct spelling could not be determined the original spelling was retained. Officeholders are Missouri officials unless noted (U. S. Senator and U. S. Secretary of State, etcetera). State Representatives are referred to as Representative. U. S. Representatives are noted with the title Congressman. Scanned images shown are the best available.

Additional Resources

The collection finding aid PDF file provides information pertaining to additional Price material held by the following institutions: Missouri Historical Museum, St. Louis; Missouri Valley Special Collections, Kansas City Public Library; National Archives, Washington, D. C.; the State Historical Society of Missouri, Columbia; and the Elmer Ellis Library, University of Missouri, Columbia.

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