For the Genealogy of the Vance family, see Appendix.
His brother, Robert Brank Vance, was born the 24th of April, 1828, and is the oldest son, and second child, of David and Mira M. Vance, of Buncombe County, N. C.
His education was very limited. His father dying when Robert was in his sixteenth year, a great portion of the burden of sustaining his mother devolved on him. On attaining his majority he was elected Clerk of the Court of Please and Quarter Sessions, which office he held for eight years, and voluntarily retired from in 1856. Mr. Vance's business was merchandising, which he followed until the war broke out in 1861. Being Union in sentiment, he voted against secession, but when the proclamation of Mr. Lincoln was received at Asheville, N. C., he, in common with most of his neighbors, took sides with the South. All of the male members of the family, including his brother Zebulon, and his three brothers-in-law, (one of whom, Rev. R. N. Price, was a traveling Methodist minister,) went into the army at once. Robert was left in charge of the families; but, being dissatisfied, he went to work and raised a company, which was organized as "The Buncombe Life Guards." He was elected captain. The companies came and rendezvoused at Asheville, where the 10th and the 29th North Carolina Regiments were organized at "Camp Patton." Vance was elected colonel of these forces, receiving every vote but one--his own.
The regiment was first ordered to Raleigh, and from there was sent to East Tennessee, where it formed a part of the garrison at Cumberland Gap, following E. Kirby Smith into Kentucky. The regiment suffered considerably in the battle of Murfreesboro, Colonel Vance having his horse killed in that engagement. He had just gotten off his horse and was holding the bridle, when a shell exploded near by, a piece entering the horse by the stirrup-leather. The act of dismounting no doubt saved Colonel Vance's life.
After the battle of Murfreesboro, Vance was taken sick with typhoid fever, and sent home by General Bragg. In the mean time he was promoted to the rank of brigadier general. On his return to the army General Bragg sent him back to North Carolina and upper East Tennessee to organize the troops, such as could be got up, and take command in that portion. During a raid he made across the Smoky mountains into Tennessee, he was captured at Cosby Creek, where the Federals attacked him, and he riding by mistake into their ranks. He was kept in prison till near the close of the war, when he was paroled until exchanged.
In 1866, he was elected Grand Master of Masons in North Carolina, which office he held for two years.
In 1872, he was nominated to a seat in Congress from the Eighth district of North Carolina, and beat his competitor, W. G. Candler, a Republican, 2,555 votes.
He was re-elected in 1874, beating Plato Durham, Independent Democrat, 4,442 votes. In 1876 he defeated E. R. Hampton, Republican, over 8,000 majority. In 1878, he was reelected without opposition to Congress.
At the time of this writing General Vance has succeeded in having daily mails to every county town in his district, and had money-order offices established all over the district.
His principal speeches in the House of Representatives have been on the civil rights' bill, the tariff, the internal revenue laws, the necessity of fraternal relations between the North and South, the remonetization of silver, etc., which were acceptable to his people.
Many times, through the years since laymen were admitted into the councils of the Southern Methodist Church, General Vance has been elected delegate to the annual conferences and two or three times to the general
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