Robert B. Vance
|Member of the North Carolina House of Representatives for Buncombe|
January 4, 1893 – January 9, 1895
|Preceded by||J. P. Lowery|
|Succeeded by||Virgil S. Lusk|
|Member of the U.S. House of Representatives|
from North Carolina's 8th district
March 4, 1873 – March 3, 1885
|Preceded by||Zebulon B. Vance|
(prior to Civil War, 1861)
|Succeeded by||William H. H. Cowles|
Robert Brank Vance
April 24, 1828
Buncombe, North Carolina
|Died||November 28, 1899 (aged 71)|
Asheville, North Carolina
|Spouse(s)||Harriett V. McElroy (1851)|
Lizzie R. Cook (1892)
|Branch/service||Confederate States Army|
|Battles/wars||American Civil War|
Robert Brank Vance (April 24, 1828 – November 28, 1899), nephew of the earlier Congressman Robert Brank Vance (1793–1827) and brother of Zebulon B. Vance, was a North Carolina Democratic politician who served as a member of the U.S. House of Representatives for six terms (1873–1885). He was chairman of the United States House Committee on Patents. During the American Civil War, Vance served in the Confederate States Army, where he reached the rank of brigadier general.
Birth and family
Vance came from a Scotch-Irish, slave-owning family, with a history of military and public service, including his paternal grandfather, who served in the Revolutionary War, and his own father, who fought in the War of 1812. His younger brother was Zebulon B. Vance.
Vance had always grown up around slaves. When he was twelve, his father owned 12 slaves, the names of which eight are known – Sandy, Leah, Ann, Aggy, May, Bob, Richard and Venus. Venus, the eldest of his father's slaves, had raised Vance and his siblings, and was referred as "Mammy Venus."
In total, the slaves tended to the Vance children, cooked the family's meals, made the housing wares, fetched the water, cultivated the farm crops, and, otherwise, allowing Vance to spend his formative years pursuing his education and reading the classics from a 500-volume library that his family inherited from his uncle
When Vance was twenty, he was elected clerk of the Buncombe County Court of Common Pleas and Quarter Sessions, the position his father held until his death. Rather than seek re-election, in 1858, he decided to become a merchant in Asheville. Later, he became the joint Secretary and Treasurer of the Holston Conference Female College before it closed during the war.
Vance entered the Confederacy forming the "Buncombe County Life Guards" (later, Company H of the 29th North Carolina Infantry Regiment). After training at Camp Patton, in Asheville, Vance was unanimously elected as the regiment's colonel.
The regiment was sent to eastern Tennessee to guard the bridges on the Bristol-Chattanooga road. They all took up position at the Cumberland Gap, seeing their first real action on March 24, 1862. They later accompanied Edmund Kirby Smith into Kentucky, and on December 30, 1862, Vance commanded the brigade of James E. Rains, after his death, at the Battle of Murfreesboro. There were many casualties in the brigade, with Vance's own horse killed beneath him by a shell. After the battle, Vance had to step down from his post as he contracted typhoid fever, but he was commended for his service by General John P. McCown, which led to Jefferson Davis commissioning him as brigadier general on March 4, 1863.
After a lengthy recovery from his illness, Vance was placed in charge of the North Carolina–Tennessee mountains under the command of General Braxton Bragg, with orders to harass the Union flanks and disrupt the flow of enemy supplies.
On January 14, 1864, he was assigned a mission at Cosby Creek, Tennessee. Vance intercepted a major supply train going to General Ambrose Burnside's troops near Knoxville, but when he tried to take the wagons to North Carolina, Vance, and nearly all of his troops, were captured by Sergeant Everett W. Anderson of the 15th Pennsylvania Cavalry.
Vance was detained at various Union prisons in Nashville, Louisville, Fort Chase (Ohio), and Fort Delaware until a former prisoner of Vance's, Reverend Nathaniel G. Taylor, intervened on Vance's behalf, as Vance had treated him well and, eventually, released him
President Lincoln issued Vance a special parole, allowing him to buy clothes for other Confederate soldiers. On March 10, 1865, Lincoln granted Vance a conditional full pardon, allowing him to return to North Carolina, but requiring him not to fight again.
In 1872, Vance ran as a Democrat, and won the congressional seat once held by his uncle and brother. He served six terms, from 1873 to 1885. During that time he missed 340 of 2,301 (15 percent) of his roll call votes.
While in office, he obtained appropriations for every county in his district to get daily mail delivery, and to have the French Broad River dredged from Brevard to Asheville for transportation.
He sat on the Committee on Pensions for Veterans of the War of 1812, the Committee on Coinage, and was the four-term Chairman of the Committee on Patents.
After leaving Congress, Vance was appointed assistant commissioner of patents by President Grover Cleveland. He also became a member of the North Carolina General Assembly in 1893, where he served one term, until 1895.
Family and faith
Vance married Harriett V. McElroy in 1851. They had six children, two of whom died before adulthood. Harriet died in 1885.
In 1892, he married Lizzie R. Cook. They had no children.
Vance was a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South.
Vance was a published poet. He released the following collections of his work:
- Heart-throbs from the Mountains (some piece were written while he was imprisoned in Fort Delaware)
- The White Plume of the Cherokee
- Shadows of Mountain Life
- Alexandra Kindell; Elizabeth S. Demers, eds. (February 27, 2014). Encyclopedia of Populism in America: A Historical Encyclopedia [2 volumes]. ABC-CLIO. pp. 755–757. Missing or empty
- Martin Reidinger (1996). "Robert Frank Vance, 13 May 1830-14 Apr. 1894". In William S. Powell (ed.). DICTIONARY OF NORTH CAROLINA. University of North Carolina Press.
- Vance Birthplace, official website Archived December 9, 2003, at the Wayback Machine. Ah.dcr.state.nc.us. Retrieved on April 3, 2012.
- Zebulon B. Vance (1987). Gordon McKinney; Richard M. McMurry (eds.). "Biographical Sketch". The Papers of Zebulon Vance. Frederick, MD: University Publications of America.
- David Vance Sr. will of 1813. See also, 1810 Census for Buncombe County, NC.
- David Vance (Sr), United States Census, 1930; Buncombe, North Carolina; roll M19 1181, page 255,, Family History film 0018084.
- "Ledger of August 1844 Administrator's Sale". Zebulon B. Vance Birthplace Primary Source Collection: "Vance Family Histories".
- "Vance Birthplace:Enslaved People of the Vance Family". North Carolina Historic Sites.
- "ANTIBELLIUM SLAVERY: BEHIND THE BIG HOUSE PROGRAM" (PDF). North Carolina Historic Sites.
- "Zebulon Vance". North Carolina in the Civil War and Reconstruction. Learn NC. University of North Carolina, School of Education.
- Clement Dowd (1897). Life of Zebulon B. Vance. Observer Printing and Publishing House.
- Maurice A. Weinstein (1995). Zebulon B. Vance and "The Scattered Nation". Charlotte, NC: Wildacres Press.
- Price, Richard Nye (1903). Holsten Methodism from Its Origin to the Present Time, Vol. IV: From the year 1844 to the year 1870.
- Ezra J. Warner Jr. (April 15, 2006). Generals in Gray: Lives of the Confederate Commanders. Louisiana State University Press. pp. 313–314.
- "Rep. Robert Vance: Former Representative for North Carolina's 8th District".
- Howard L. Rosenthal and Keith T. Poole. "United States Congressional Roll Call Voting Records, 1789-1990". University of Georgia.CS1 maint: uses authors parameter (link)
- John D. Wright (2003). The Routledge Encyclopedia of Civil War Era Biographies. New York & London: Routledge Taylor & Francis Group. p. 603.
- "Eighth Census of the United States, Slave Schedules: R.B. Vance", United States Census, 1860; Asheville, Buncombe, North Carolina; roll M653, 1,438,.
- "Mount Hermon Masonic Lodge". Mount Hermon 118. Retrieved April 26, 2015.
- "The Proceedings of the Grand Lodge of North Carolina". Raleigh, North Carolina: The Grand Lodge of Ancient, Free, and Accepted Masons of North Carolina.
- Robert B. Vance (1887). Heart-throbs from the mountains. Nashville, TN: Southern Methodist Publishing House.
- "Riverside Cemetery". nps.gov. National Register of Historic Places.
- Warner, Ezra J. (1959). Generals in Gray: Lives of the Confederate Commanders. Louisiana State University Press. ISBN 0-8071-0823-5.
- John P. Arthur (1914). Western North Carolina: A History. Edwards & Broughton Printing Company.
- Samuel A. Ashe, ed. (1907). Biographical History of North Carolina From Colonial Times to the Present, vol. 6. C.L. Van Noppen.
- John G. Barrett (1963). The Civil War in North Carolina . UNC Press Books.
- Jerome Dowd (1888). Sketches of Prominent Living North Carolinians. Edwards & Broughton.
|U.S. House of Representatives|
| Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from North Carolina's 8th congressional district
William H. H. Cowles