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(Tribune Papers) – Driving on Merrimon Ave near Reems Creek Road, you come to a historical marker that reads, “ZEBULON B. VANCE 1830-1894: Civil War governor. He led state, 1862-65, 1877-79; U.S. Senator, 1879-94. Colonel, 26th N.C. Regiment, 1861-62. Birthplace 6 miles N.E.”
Mention of the Civil War, Confederates, and slavery is enough to get you tarred and feathered anymore, but the Civil War was an important part of American history and Vance played an integral part in the state during that time.
Vance, a prominent figure in North Carolina’s political history, was a man of many accomplishments, leaving a lasting impact on the state and beyond. From a young age, Vance’s journey to political prominence began, culminating in him becoming one of the most revered leaders the state has ever produced.
Born on May 13, 1830, at the family’s homestead along neslted along Reems Creek in Buncombe, Vance was born to David Vance II and Mira Margaret Baird Vance. His early education was largely provided by his mother, who continued to support his learning in Asheville after his father’s passing in 1844. In 1851, Vance enrolled at the University of North Carolina, where he immersed himself in the study of law.
Vance’s political ambitions were evident from the outset of his career. Just a few months after establishing his legal office in Asheville in early 1852, he was elected…