Archives of Maryland
(Biographical Series)

Jesse Dashiell Price (1863-1939)
MSA SC 3520-1610


Born August 15, 1863, in Whitehaven, Somerset (now Wicomico) County.  Son of Charles Wesley and Martha Ann (Dashiell) Price.  Attended public schools.  Methodist Episcopal South.  Married Sallie B. Amiss (1867-1944), November 27, 1889.  One child, Ruth.  Died in Baltimore, May 14, 1939.  Buried, Parsons Cemetery, Salisbury, Wicomico County.

Jesse D. Price was born on August 15, 1863, son of Charles Wesley Price and Martha Ann Dashiell of Whitehaven, Wicomico County (then Somerset). His father was a merchant and teacher. Jesse was an only child.

He attended public schools and upon graduation from high school moved to Salisbury, Wicomico County, and began a long and prosperous business career.  By 1887, Jesse D. Price established a retail shoe business, which later became the E. Homer White Shoe Company. He maintained an interest in this company in the capacity of president and director, as late as 1925.  Meanwhile, he branched out into other business enterprises.  In 1900 Jesse D. Price began the manufacture of ice in Salisbury, with the establishment of the Crystal Ice Company, which later became the Salisbury Ice Company.  He was also a founder of the Salisbury Lime and Coal Company.  Over the years his over business involvements included a presidency of the Wicomico Building and Loan Assocation; a vice-presidency of the People's National Bank; and, a directorship in the Eastern Shore Gas & Electric Company.

Jesse D. Price was a democrat in his political beliefs.  He began his long political career as a member of the Salisbury City Council, and then in 1903, was elected to a four year term as Wicomico County treasurer.  In 1907 he was elected to the Maryland State Senate, where he served on the Finance, Elections, Federal Relations, Printing, and Contingent Expenses of the Senate Committees.  During his tenure, secured funding for a bridge over the Nanticoke River at Sharpstown.  The bridge was built and dedicated in 1910.

Jesse D. Price was elected Senate President upon his re-election to that body in 1912.  In his opening remarks to the Senate that year, Price acknowledged his background by "endeavor[ing] to conduct the business of this branch of the Legislature along the lines of the most modern and progressive business methods."  He lobbied for support of a plan to conduct the business of the Senate in less than the ninety days allowed by the Constitution, in order to save the taxpayers' money at the rate of about $2000 a day.  He also pressed for the reform of the Primary and General Election Laws, and a thorough revision of the State Constitution.  Ninety days later when session ended at midnight, the Senate had passed

a primary law for the election of United State Senators; ...a Presidental primary election law; ...the Baltimore City Charter; the Ten-Hour Law for Women; the Child Labor Law; the Compulsory Educational Law; ...a law changing the condemnation proceedings in the State; a law creating a school of technology, ...a new State Normal School; and the completion of ...State care of insane.
When Jesse D. Price was re-elected Senate President in 1914, the Democratic platform
promised to foster the agricultural interest of the State; to enact an Employer's Liability Law that would do justice both to the employer and the employed; to enact a Senatorial Primary Law in harmony with the 17th Amendment to the Constitution..; to a reform in the Legislative procedure; to the extension of the Good Roads System of the State, and ... completion of our State Care of the Insane; Penal Reform, and Home Rule, and a revision of our Tax Laws.
Mr. Price noted in his closing remarks to the Senate that "all of these promises have been redeemed in good faith."

On September 30, 1914, J. Harry Covington, U.S. Representative of the 1st Congressional District, resigned, and Jesse D. Price was elected to fill the vacancy. He took his seat on December 7, 1914, and served the 1st District from 1914-1919, when he lost his bid for re-election.  Jesse Price returned to his many business interests, but continued to serve the State in a number of capacities.  He was on the Board of Managers of the Eastern Shore State Hospital, located in Cambridge, from 1918-1935; he served as Vice-President of the Pine Bluff Sanitorium Commission, later the Eastern Shore Tuberculosis Sanitorium, 1920, and on the Board of Managers from 1922-1929; and was a member of the State Tax Commission from 1922-1935.

On November 27, 1889, Jesse D. Price married Sallie B. Amiss, daughter of Joseph W. Amiss of Virginia and Joyce Hathaway of North Carolina.  They had one daughter, Miss Ruth Price.  The family were members of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South.  Fraternally, Mr. Price was associated with the Loyal Order of the Moose, Improved Order of Red Men, Knights of Pythias, Royal Arcanum, Maccabees, and the Chamber of Commerce and Rotary Club of Salisbury.

Jesse D. Price died at his residence at 3333 North Charles Street in Baltimore on May 15, 1939.  He was buried in Parsons Cemetery in Salisbury.

Extended Biography

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