About this Famous Person
Zebulon Baird VANCE
Confederate military officer in the American Civil War, the 37th and 43rd Governor of North Carolina, and U.S. Senator
Source : Tim DOWLING
Zebulon Vance was born in Buncombe County, North Carolina near present-day Weaverville, the third of eight children. His family is known to have owned a relatively large number of slaves (18). His uncle was Congressman Robert Brank Vance, for whom his elder brother, Robert B. Vance, was named. At age twelve he was sent to study at Washington College in Tennessee, now known as Washington College Academy.The death of his father forced Vance to withdraw and return home at the age of fourteen. It was during this time that he began to court the well-bred Miss Harriette Espy by letter.
To improve his standing, Vance determined to go to law school. At the age of twenty-one, he wrote to the President of the University of North Carolina, where he was a member of the Dialectic and Philanthropic Societies, former Governor David L. Swain, and asked for a loan so that he could attend law school. Governor Swain arranged for a $300 loan from the university, and Vance performed admirably. By 1852 Vance had begun practicing law in Asheville, and was soon elected county solicitor (prosecuting attorney). By 1853, he and Harriette Espy were married, and they would subsequently have four sons.