Senator Samuel Price (July 28, 1805-February 25, 1884) was born in Fauquier County, Virginia. When he was about 10 years old, his family moved to Preston County. They later moved to Kentucky, where Price studied law. Moving back to Western Virginia, he settled in Nicholas County and was admitted to the bar in 1828. By 1830, he served as a census taker and as commonwealth’s attorney. He was clerk of the county court for Nicholas County from 1831 to 1834.
Price was elected to the House of Delegates in 1834 from Fayette and Nicholas counties and later reelected to a second term. He moved to Wheeling in 1836. That same year Price became prosecuting attorney for Braxton County, serving from 1836 to 1850. In 1837, he married Jane Stuart. They spent 39 years together and raised nine children.
In 1838, Price moved to Lewisburg. In 1847, he was again elected to the Virginia legislature, as a Whig from Greenbrier County. He was outspoken in favor of internal improvements, especially a rail link from the east to the Ohio River. The voters returned him to the House of Delegates again in 1848 and 1849. As a delegate to the Virginia Constitutional Convention of 1850–51, Price was one of four delegates who represented the district of Greenbrier, Pocahontas, Fayette, Raleigh, Nicholas, and Kanawha counties. When he returned to Greenbrier County, his constituents voted to send him back to the House of Delegates under the new constitution. The session began on January 12, 1852, and he resigned on April 27 and returned to his law practice.
Price next returned to Richmond as a member of the Secession Convention of 1861. He sought reconciliation and voted against secession; however, he subsequently signed the Ordinance of Secession. In 1862, he was arrested by Col. (later Maj. Gen.) George Crook for refusing to take the oath of allegiance to the United States. While on parole, awaiting proper exchange, Price was rescued by Confederate forces. The next year, 1863, he was elected lieutenant governor of Confederate Virginia, which also made him president of the state senate. He served until forced to vacate the office by Union victory in May 1865.
Returning to Lewisburg, Price was appointed circuit judge later in 1865, but he declined the appointment because he would not take the ‘‘test oath’’ affirming loyalty to the United States. In 1866, he became a director of the Chesapeake & Ohio Railroad. In 1872, the voters of Greenbrier County elected him as their representative to the West Virginia constitutional convention. He was elected president of the convention that drafted a new constitution for West Virginia, restoring the rights of former Confederates and enabling pro-Southern forces to take control of the state.
Unsuccessful as a candidate for U.S. Senate in 1876, Price was appointed to fill the vacancy caused by the death of Sen. Allen T. Caperton, serving from August until the following January. In addition to his legal and political careers, Price was a faithful lifelong member of the Presbyterian Church. He served his church as Ruling Elder for more than a quarter of a century. He died at his home in Lewisburg and is buried at nearby Stuart Manor.
This Article was written by Michael M. Meador
Last Revised on October 22, 2010