Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
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PRICE, Thomas Lawson, contractor, born near Danville, Virginia, 19 January, 1809; died in Jefferson City, Missouri, 16 July, 1870. His father was a wealthy tobacco-planter. In 1831 the son settled in Jefferson City, Missouri He first engaged in mercantile pursuits, and afterward bought and sold real estate. In 1838 he obtained the contract for carrying the mail between St. Louis and Jefferson City, and established the first stage-line connecting those places. Ultimately he gained control of all the stage-routes in the state, and became lessee of the State penitentiary. He was chosen the first mayor of Jefferson City in 1838, and was re-elected. In 1847 he was appointed brevet major-general of the 6th division of Missouri militia, and in 1849 he was elected lieutenant-governor on the Democratic ticket. In 1856 General Price headed a Benton delegation to the Democratic national convention that nominated James Buchanan, but was not admitted. In 1860 he was elected to the state legislature, and on 21 September, 1861, was appointed by General John C. Fremont brigadier-general of volunteers. The appointment expired by limitation, 17 July, 1862. He was elected to congress in place of John W. Reid, expelled, and served from 21 January, 1862, till 3 March, 1863. In 1864 he was nominated by the Union men for governor, although there was no hope of his election. About this time his health began to fail, and his only subsequent appearance in public life was as delegate to the Democratic national convention in 1868, where he acted as vice-president when Horatio Seymour was nominated. During the greater part of his career General Price was connected with railroads, both as contractor and officer. When a member of the legislature he was largely instrumental in inducing the state to lend its aid to the construction of the Iron Mountain and Hannibal and St. Joseph roads. He was also identified with the construction of the Missouri Pacific and the Kansas Pacific. Of the former he was one of the first and largest contractors. Besides building the greater part of the Kansas Pacific, he was also a fund commissioner and director of that road, and united with other capitalists in extending the line from Denver to Cheyenne.
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