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Sterling Price

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The later Missouri Governor and Confederate Major General sues

for providing lodging and meals and stabling a manʼs horse

Sterling Price, 1809-1867.  Governor of Missouri, 1853-1857; Confederate Major General.  Manuscript legal Document Signed, one page, 7½" x 11", no place [Keytesville, Missouri], February 27, 1841.

This is an interesting affidavit by Price, then a member of the Missouri General Assembly, as plaintiff in support of a lawsuit in the Circuit Court of Chariton County, Missouri, against defendant Cornelius Vernay.  Price has sued for "the sum of fifty four dollars, after allowing all just credits and setoffs, for the board lodging, meat, drink, and other necessaries found and provided . . . at the special instance and request" of Vernay and for "stabling and provender found and provided for the said defendant's horse at the like special instance and request for a long space of time."  Price evidently seeks a prejudgment attachment against Vernay's property, because he alleges in this affidavit that Vernay "has absconded from his usual place of abode in this state so that the ordinary process of law can not be served upon him,” which is a ground for an attachment under Missouri law. 

Price has signed near the right margin at the conclusion of the affidavit.  His oath was administered by Edward B. Cabell, the clerk of the circuit court, who has signed at the conclusion.  Internet genealogy information says that Cabell was a descendant of Chief Powhatan, the father of Pocohontas.

Price was born in Virginia, where he attended college, studied law, and was admitted to the bar.  At age 21, he and his family moved to Missouri.  He ran a hotel and store in Keytesville, Missouri—the county seat of Chariton County, where he made this affidavit.  This lawsuit undoubtedly arose out of his business in Keytesville.

At the time of this suit, Price was also politically connected as a member of the Missouri General Assembly.  He served four years, 1840-1844, including a time as speaker of the Missouri House of Representatives.  He was then elected to the United States House of Representatives but served in Congress less than two years before he resigned to participate in the Mexican War.

Price organized the Second Regiment of the Missouri Mounted Volunteer Cavalry, of which he was appointed colonel. Once in Santa Fe, he assumed command of the Territory of New Mexico and later served as the military governor of New Mexico.  President James K. Polk promoted him to brigadier general of volunteers in 1847.  On March 16, 1848, Price commanded the last battle of the Mexican War, which occurred six days after the United States had ratified the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo.

Price returned to Missouri after the war, where he became a slaveowner, a major tobacco planter, and a politician.  He was elected Governor of Missouri, serving 1853-1857.  In early 1861, he presided over the Missouri state convention, which voted against secession. 

Price himself initially opposed secession, but he was so incensed when the Union seized control of Camp Jackson in St. Louis that he accepted Governor Claiborne Fox Jackson's appointment as commander of the reorganized Missouri State Guard in May 1861.  He later served as a Confederate Major General after merging the Missouri State Guard into the Confederate Army of the West. 

Price led his troops in an effort to secure Southwest Missouri for the Confederacy, participating in the Battle of Wilson's Creek, near Springfield, Missouri, in August 1861.  Wilson's Creek was the first major battle of the Civil War west of the Mississippi River and is sometimes called the Bull Run of the West."  Price later commanded troops in several other battles in Missouri, Arkansas, Kansas, and Mississippi, including the Battle of Pea Ridge, Arkansas.  He commanded the ill-fated Price's Raid of 1864, the last major action west of the Mississippi.

This document has an excellent, bold signature by Price.  There are separations at the folds, some of which have been archivally repaired on the back.  Overall the document is in fair to good condition.

Unframed.  Please ask us about custom framing this piece.


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