Vance, Zebulon Baird, 1830-1894

Alternative names
Birth 1830-05-13
Death 1894-04-14

Biographical notes:

Confederate general; governor of North Carolina, and U.S. senator.

From the description of Autograph letter signed : [Washington], to William F. Vilas, 1888 May 1. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 270574072

Confederate Army officer, governor of North Carolina, and U.S. senator from North Carolina.

From the description of Papers, 1857-1893. (Duke University Library). WorldCat record id: 20460648

Zebulon Baird Vance, a native of Buncombe County, N.C., was governor of North Carolina, 1862-1865 and 1877-1879, and United States senator, 1879-1894.

From the description of Zebulon Baird Vance papers, 1824-1915. (Oceanside Free Library). WorldCat record id: 26319956

Governor of North Carolina.

From the description of Autograph letter signed : Raleigh, to an unidentified correspondent, 1878 Dec. 3. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 270574069

Zebulon Baird Vance was born in Buncombe County, N.C., on 13 May 1830, one of seven children born to Margaret Baird (1802-1878), daughter of Hannah (Erwin) and Zebulon Baird, and David Vance (1792-1884), son of Priscilla (Brank) and David Vance. He attended Washington College and the University of North Carolina, where he earned a law degree. In 1853, Vance married Harriet Newell Espy (1832-1878), called Hattie. She was the only child of Mary Louisa (Tate) and Thomas Espy. Harriet and Zebulon Vance had five sons, one of whom died in infancy. In 1880, after Hattie's death, Vance married Florence Steele Martin, a widow with one son.

At 24, Vance ran for and won a seat in the North Carolina State House of Commons; in 1856, he was defeated in bids for State Senate and Congress, but was elected to the United States House of Representatives in 1858. As a supporter of the Union and states rights, he resigned his position when North Carolina appeared to be leaning toward secession.

During the Civil War, Vance was a captain in the 14th North Carolina Infantry Regiment and a colonel in the 26th North Carolina Infantry Regiment. In 1862, he was elected governor of North Carolina, where his efforts on the behalf of his constituents earned him the nickname War Governor of the South. He was reelected in 1864, arrested by Federal troops in 1865, and later returned to the practice of law. In 1870, the state legislature elected him to the United States Senate, but since he was still under parole, he could not serve. He was reelected as governor in 1876 and United States Senator in 1879, in which capacity he served until his death on 14 April 1894.

From the guide to the Zebulon Baird Vance Papers, 1824-1915, (University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Library. Southern Historical Collection.)


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  • Families--Social life and customs
  • Patronage, Political--History--19th century
  • Railroads--Finance
  • Educational law and legislation--History--19th century
  • Governors--History--19th century
  • Lumber trade--History--19th century
  • Tariff--Law and legislation
  • Real property--History--19th century
  • Real estate investment--History--19th century
  • Railroads
  • Taxation--Law and legislation
  • Silver question
  • Reconstruction--Sources
  • Governor
  • Nickel mines and mining--History--19th century
  • Legislators--History--19th century
  • Railroads--History--19th century
  • Soldiers--Correspondence


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  • Buncombe County (N.C.) (as recorded)
  • North Carolina (as recorded)
  • North Carolina (as recorded)
  • Confederate States of America (as recorded)
  • Mitchell, Mount (N.C. : Mountain) (as recorded)
  • Southern States (as recorded)
  • Law and legislation--North Carolina (as recorded)
  • Confederate States of America (as recorded)
  • Southern States (as recorded)
  • North Carolina (as recorded)
  • Danville (Va.) (as recorded)
  • Mecklenburg County (N.C.) (as recorded)
  • Virginia (as recorded)
  • North Carolina (as recorded)
  • Confederate States of America (as recorded)
  • United States (as recorded)