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DEATH OF SENATOR VANCE

 

SUDDEN STROKE OF APOPLEXY CAUSED HIS END

 

He Became Unconscious and Physicians had No Hope of His Recovery- Most Popular Man of His Time in North Carolina- Twice Elected Governor During the War - Was Serving His Third Term in United State Senate.
 

 

Washington, April 14,1894 - Senator Zebulon B. Vance of North Carolina died at his home, 1627 Massachusetts Avenue, at 10:45 to-night. He had not been in good health for a year and in the early part of the session of Congress he was compelled to abandon his Senatorial duties and take a trip to Florida in the hope of recuperating. His trip proved beneficial, and on his return to Washington he was able for a while partially to resume his official duties. His improvement, however, did not continue long, and for the last few weeks he had been confined to his home.

 

He was practically an invalid, but lately had been unable to receive a few intimate friends and superintend the interests of his constituents. During the past week, he was reported as improving and the serious change for the worse to-day was wholly unexpected.

 

Shortly before 11 o'clock to-day he had an attack of apoplexy, and became unconscious, regaining consciousness only a few minutes before death. His wife, Thomas Allison, Harry Martin, Mr. and Mrs. Charles Vance, Judge and Mrs. Houke, and the Rex. Dr. Pitzer and Drs. W. W. Johnson and Raffin were at his bedside when he died.

 

The critical condition of Mr. Vance became known this evening, and inquiries from his friends in this city were made at the house. Senator Ransom and Representative Henderson of North Carolina, and a few other close friends remained the greater part of the evening in the parlors of the Vance residence and waited anxiously for tidings from the sick room. They left about half an hour before the Senator died.

 

The Sergeant-at-Arms of the Senate will have charge of the funeral, and will make all the necessary arrangements as soon as the family decide on what day it shall be held.

 

The death of Zebulon Vance removes the most popular man of his time in North Carolina. He was honored with the highest offices in the gift of the people of that State, and for thirty years he was without a rival in their affections. A genial nature, combined with high qualities of mind and character, furnished the elements of his popularity, and from his earliest life he was an object of public interest.

 

Senator Vance traced his lineage from the best North Carolina families. His paternal grandfather was a Revolutionary hero, and on his mother's side, Col. Zebulon Baird served the State for many years in military and legislative capacities.

 

Born near Asheville, Buncombe County, May 13, 1830, Senator Vance passed his youth in the home that always remained his. Opportunities for education were necessarily primative in this backwoods region, but the family library enabled him to prepare his mind for instruction in Washington College, Tennessee, and afterwards in the University of North Carolina. Then he studied law with Judge Battle of the Supreme Court of North Carolina and Samuel F. Phillips, ex-Solicitor General of the United States, and was admitted to the bar in 1852.

 

Buncombe County at once honored him with election as County Solicitor. In 1854 he represented his county in the Legislature. The next year he took part in the editorial management of The Asheville Spectator, the leading Whig paper of that section. He failed of election to the State Senate in 1856, but in 1858 he was sent to Congress for an unexpired term, and again for the succeeding full term.

 

At the outbreak of the war he was an opponent of secession. He withstood the movement publicly and with all his power. When North Carolina severed its allegiance, however, he believed his duty was first to the State, and he was among the first to tender his services as a voluntee. He received a commission as Captain in the Twenty-sixth North Carolina Regiment, and gained rapid promotion to the Colonelcy. He was in command at New-Berne, and took part in the early battles near Richmond. While in the trenches around Petersburg in 1862 he was elected Governor of North Carolina by an immense majority, without even the formality of a nomination or candidacy.

 

His administration of this office was marked by great efficiency, and the troops of his State became known as the best equipped in the Confederate service. His constituents enthusiastically re-elected him in 1864, and he continued in office until the Government displaced him in 1856.

 

At that time, he afterwards boasted, the resources he had gathered were sufficient to keep the North Carolina troops in the field for two years longer. He left Raleigh with Gen. Johnston's army in April, 1865, and joined Jefferson Davis at Charlotte. Afterward he sought refuge in the interior of the State, where he was arrested in May, and was taken to the old Capitol Prison in Washington. He secured a parole in July.

 

He figured prominently in his State after this as a strong opponent of the reconstruction policy. The Democrats of his State wanted to nominate him for Governor in 1868, but on account of his political disabilities he declined to be a candidate. In 1870 he was elected to the United States Senate. That body refused to receive him, and after two years, he sent his resignation to the Legislature. In 1876 he received by an almost unanimous convention vote the nomination of his party for Governor, and was elected by a large majority. The Legislature sent him to the Senate in 1879, and he was elected again without opposition in 1885. His third term began in 1891.

 

As a Senator he stood with his party in opposition to a high tariff and to all forms of capitalistic monopoly. He was always an interesting speaker by reason of a lively style of speech and a rich fund of anecdote and humorous illustration, upon which he drew to enliven his opinions. He could always count on an attentive audience on both sides of the chamber. He enjoyed great popularity in Washington, as well as in his State. More North Carolina boys are are said to have been named after him than after any man who ever lived in the State.

 

About two years ago he was so seriously ill that the physicians who attended him despaired of saving his life. The vitality with which he had been endowed enabled him to fight the disease, and in the Winter of 1892 he resumed his place in the Senate. His old-time aggressiveness, however, had left him. It was partly renewed in the extra session last Fall, when he made a speech against the repeal of the silver-purchase clause of the Sherman bill. Except on that occasion, he acted as if he felt that he must save his remaining strength. His appearance compelled his friends to share this opinion, for he had become aged and feeble.

 

Senator Vance was twice married. His second wife and four sons by his first wife are living.

 
(This article ran in the New York Times, April 15, 1894)
 

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