In 1864 the Missouri Democratic Party was all but dead. The Civil War and the Radical movement had badly crippled the conservative, traditionally-southern Democratic political organization. With absolutely no hope of winning, the party nominated a former Lieutenant Governor. Sure enough he lost-by more than 40,000 votes. The party would be in trouble for several years. But it might have staved off its own death by accepting defeat rather than quitting entirely. Thomas Lawson Price was the man thrown into the political breach. Price was the first Mayor of Jefferson City. He first came to Missouri in 1831, from Virginia. He decided to settle in St. Louis but that city was ravaged by cholera so he moved west to Jefferson City. There, Price opened a mercantile business which he ran shrewdly. He invested the profits in land and became wealthy.