Of all of North Carolina political figures, none rarely rank above Zebulon B. Vance. This US Congressman, Governor, and US Senator, who led North Carolina through the war years, was revered by many after the war. He is still highly esteemed today, and a bronze likeness of the governor is one of two North Carolinians in Statuary Hall in the US Capitol.
But, Vance was not always so highly esteemed. He opposed secession in the early days of the war, a position that won him few friends. This piece gives us a glimpse inside how many people felt about Vance in 1861. It come from the Western Democrat, January 29, 1861:
Mr. Vance, Again - We stated some weeks ago that Mr. Vance, the member of Congress from the Mountain District, was franking Andrew Johnson's coercion speech into this state. We are informed that Mr. Vance says he sent but one copy into the State, and that was to a gentlemen who requested it. We make this statement simply because we desire that no erroneous charge shall go out in our paper uncorrected, and not because we consider the gentlemen too patriotic to do as we charged if he thought he could increase his chances for promotion thereby. He belongs to the small-fry, monkey-acting, Jim Crow class of politicians anyhow. He voted for the motion of a Black Republican to lay on the table an anti-coercion resolution offered by Mr. Pryor of VA--A man who would do that will bear watching.