About Elizabeth Vance
Additional Curator's Notes:
Elizabeth Vance, never married. It is proven that she had two children out of wedlock (Nancy and Jim), and most sources state there were two more, and that the four children came from two fathers. Once source claims seven children. At this point, I'll add the children for whom I have sources, along with the fathers, if known. Others can be added as discovered.
Elizabeth Vance was the daughter of Abner Vance and wife Susannah Howard. She was born c.1794 in Virginia, most likely Russell County. She died after 1850 in Logan County, Virginia (now West Virginia). Family believes she is buried in the Hatfield Cemetery, Logan County, but no stone has been found.
Elizabeth's father Abner shot and killed a man who got one of his daughters pregnant and refused to marry her. The man was Lewis Horton. Abner was tried for murder, convicted and hung. Family lore has always claimed the daughter was Elizabeth and that the pregnancy resulted in the birth of her daughter Nancy. Some web trees call her Elizabeth Vance Horton. This is clearly incorrect. She did not marry Lewis Horton.
Another theory is that was her daughter Nancy was sister to NC Gov. Zeb Vance, b. 1830-d. 1894. Many researchers believe that Nancy's grandfather Abner Vance was from North Carolina. Her grandmother Susannah Howard Vance was from North Carolina stock. It is possible that they were related, perhaps even cousins. However, if the children of Abner and Susannah ever visited family in North Carolina, and if it occurred, particularly before the marriage of David Vance Jr. to Mira Margaret Baird, Nancy Vance Hatfield, b. 1813 could conceivably have been the result. All of this makes for interesting speculation, but will likely have to forever remain mere speculation.
Elizabeth Vance appears on the 1830 US Census for Logan County, Virginia, living in a household containing one male aged 5-10, two females aged 5-10, one female aged 10-15, and one female aged 40-50. Unfortunately for genealogists, this census does not list names of everyone in the household or relationships. It is probably safe to assume that the oldest female is Elizabeth herself. This is probably the census that gives rise to the claim that she was the mother of at least four children.
Elizabeth Vance appears on the 1850 US Census for Logan County, Virginia, listed as a single woman, age 56, with an occupation as farmer. In the same household are James Vance, age 18; Mary Vance, age 19; and Jane Vance, age 1. This particular census doesn't not ask relationship of members of the household to the head of household. James, at age 18, is the correct age to be her son. Mary would be Jim's wife and Jane their child.
This is the list of supposed children of Elizabeth Vance:
- Mary VANCE b. 1831 -- FALSE -- this is Jim Vance's wife.
- Nancy A. VANCE b. 1813 "Devil Anse's Mother" -- TRUE
- James "Bad Jim" VANCE b. 1832 -- TRUE
- Richard VANCE b. 1822 -- not proven, and probably wrong, based on 1830 census
- Zeb VANCE b. -- not proven, and probably wrong, based on 1830 census
- Phoebe VANCE b. 1812 -- not proven, but possible
- Sarah VANCE b. 1815 -- not proven, but possible