Sterling Price, "Old Pap," was born in Prince Edward County, Virginia, on September 20, 1809. He was educated at Hampden-Sydney College and afterwards studied law. About 1831 he moved to Missouri with his parents and soon after purchased a farm in Chariton County which became his home.
Price served six years in the legislature, and was speaker the last four. From 1844 to 1846 he was a member of Congress, and resigned in the latter year to participate in the Mexican War as colonel of the 2nd Missouri Infantry and Brigadier General of volunteers. He was appointed military governor of New Mexico by General S. W. Kearny, and later became governor of Missouri from 1853 to 1857.
In March 1861 he was president of the state convention that opposed secession, and disagreeing with the extreme Unionists, he accepted command of the Missouri militia in May of that year. At the battle of Wilsonís Creek he combined his forces with those of General Ben McCulloch to defeat the Federal General Lyon; he later captured the town of Lexington, with three thousand prisoners, but was forced to retreat into Arkansas by General S. R. Curtis.
At the Confederate defeat at Elkhorn (Pea Ridge), Price and McCulloch by mutual agreement were under the command of Earl Van Dorn. After this battle Price accepted a Confederate commission as major general in the Provisional Army to rank from March 6, 1862. His campaign around luka and Corinth in October 1862 was unsuccessful; he also failed at Helena, Arkansas, the following year. In 1864 he aided Kirby Smith in repulsing Steeleís Camden expedition.
His raid through Missouri in September and October 1864, after initial successes, was finally turned back at Westport; and the end of the war found him in Texas with his command. After the collapse of Maximilianís Mexican Empire, where Price had gone following the Confederate surrender, he returned to Missouri in 1866, and died in St. Louis on September 29, 1867. He is buried in Belle-fontaine Cemetery there.