The Civil War in North Carolina

Reminiscences and Memoirs of North Carolina and Eminent North Carolinians

Bookmark and Share

that the Black mountains were higher than the White mountains in New Hampshire, and his name is borne by its loftiest summit. A controversy arose between Dr. Mitchell and Mr. Clingman, in regard to this highest peak, and in 1857, Dr. Mitchell again visited that mountain for the purpose of verifying his former measurement. On the 27th June, he dismissed his son Charles, who was his only assistant, and requested him to return on Monday and renew this survey; he said that he would cross the great range and descend into the valley on the other side. He never was seen again alive. His body was found below a precipice in a pool of water about 14 feet deep, over which he had fallen and in which he had perished.

        Following the imperfect sketch of Governor Swain, we take up that of his pupil and his life long friend, Zebulon Baird Vance.

        The family is of Irish origin. From "An Account of the Family of Vance in Ireland," by Wm. Balburnie, printed at Cork, 1860, we extract the following:

        "The next of the family proceeding from Dougal, is named William, who was located at Aughavid, Ballydug, Tyrone. His will is dated 19th April, 1713. He left four sons. One of these, David, went to America, and fought under Washington. (Page 31.)

        "I now return to the eldest son, John. He married and had four sons and three daughters. One of these daughters married Andrew Jackson, of Mahrafelt, who emigrated to America, and there gave birth to Andrew Jackson, late President of the United States, of whom it is written 'that he was the bravest soldier, the wisest statesman that ancient or modern history has ever recorded.'

        "Another son was in the American war, and was killed in battle. A descendant of his was a member of Congress from North Carolina in 1824."*

        * This was Dr. Robert B. Vance.

(Page 35.)

        Whatever credit may be given to this statement, (and there could be no object in the writer to violate the truth,) our own records show that the grandfather, David Vance, was born near Winchester, Va., and came to North Carolina before the Revolutionary war, and first settled on the French Broad river; that when Lord Cornwallis sent a strong force under Colonel (or Major) Patrick Ferguson, and endeavored to win by force of arms or blandishments of art the people of Western Carolina to the Royal cause, that Vance joined McDowell, who led the Burke and Rutherford boys to battle, and under the gallant lead of Cleaveland, Shelby, and others, who attacked Ferguson on King's Mountain, killed him, and completely routed his army. We shall speak more of this battle when we reach Cleaveland County; of its gallant achievement and important results. It was the turning point of the Revolution, and was the cause of American success.

        At this time the whole South lay prostrate before the arms of the British; Georgia had surrendered, so had South Carolina. Lord Cornwallis, defeating Gates at Camden, had unmolested possession of Charlotte. This battle turned the tide of war, for soon followed the victory of Cowpens, then the drawn battle of Guilford, and the finale at Yorktown.

        After the war was over, Mr. Vance returned to his home on the French Broad river, where he spent the remainder of his days, universally esteemed for his integrity and ability. Colonel Joseph McDowell, of Burke County, David Vancc, of Buncombe, and Musentine Matthews, of Iredell County, (Speaker that year of the House, 1796,) were appointed to run the line between North Carolina and Tennessee. (Moore's History, 136.)

        He married a Miss Brank, and left several children, among them Dr. Robert B. Vance, who defeated for Congress Hon. Felix Walker, in 1823.*

        * For sketch of Felix Walker, see Rutherford County.

This singular canvass resulted in a tie in the popular vote, and was settled
Page 64 of 471
Index - Contents
Featured Books & CD-ROMS