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Ancestors of Margaret Jane "Peggy" Vance

Generation No. 5

      16. Sr. Abner Vance, born 1760 in Surrey, NC; died July 16, 1819 in Washingtonco. , VA. He was the son of 32. Ephriam Vance and 33. Theodosia Hewlings. He married 17. Susannah Howard 1779 in Lenanon, Russell Co., VA.

      17. Susannah Howard, born 1767 in NC; died 1855 in Logan Co., WV. She was the daughter of 34. Abraham Howard and 35. Jane Allen.

Notes for Sr. Abner Vance:



No birth record of Abner Vance has ever been found. It is estimated that that Abner Vance was born around 1759/60, due to the fact that he and a Mathew Vance swore the Oath of Allegiance in Chatman, Pittsylvania County, Virginia on 29, July 1777. Under Virginia law the requirements for swearing the Oath of Allegiance was: "Any white males, over 16 years of age."

Abner and Thomas Vance were on the tax lists of 1782-1787 for Montgomery County, Virginia.

Abner Vance was enumerated on the 1789, 1791-1977 and the 1802 Russell County, Virginia Personal Property tax list.

Abner Vance was married to Susannah Howard, she was called Susannah Vance in the will of her father's wife in Surry County, North Carolina in 1806. No marriage record has ever been located for them. They had several children and there has never been any birth records found for none of the children.

In 1784 Abner Vance and James Howard were on the Surry, North Carolina tax list as owning 250 acres of land.

Russell County, Virginia court records shows that Abner Vance was ordered to appear in court to answer charges of breach of peace by Daniel Horten, on July 1, 1817. Abner Vance was "solemnly called but came not." His bond had been posted by John and James Vance who were called to court on 6 August 1817 as the court attempted to recover the penalty of a recognizance. The court ordered that the writ be dismissed at the Vance's cost.

16 October 1817, at a court called and held by the justices of Russell County, Virginia, Abner Vance, labourer, and Susanna Vance, spinster, were charged with the murder of Lewis Horton who died on 27, September 1817 in Russell County, Virginia. Susanna Vance was allowed to give security of two thousand dollars for her personal appearance, being unable to procure security she was remanded to jail until she found such security or was released by due course of the law. Abner Vance remained in jail with no bond set for his release.

The next hearing on the docket in Russell County Court, 16 October 1817, was William Wingo, who was charged as an accessory before the fact to the murder of Lewis Horton. Wingo's bond was posted for the said Wingo, by Squire McGuire and Frances McKinney.

On 4 November 1817, Richard Vance was committed to the jail in Russell County, Virginia charged with being an accessory after the fact to the felonious shooting and wounding of Lewis Horton by Abner Vance. Richard Vance was remanded to the jail of Russell County, Virginia. The next term of the court for Russell County was in April 1817. The jury heard these cases: Abner Vance was found guilty of murder in the first degree in manner and form as in the indictment against him is alleged; thereupon he is remanded to jail on 14 April 1818. The next day of court, same judge and jury brought forth an indictment against Susanna Vance for murder "not a true bill." Susanna Vance was discharged from imprisonment. On the next day, 17 , April 1818, William Wingo was again let go on bond and the Commonwealth Attorney, by comment of the court, said that he would not prosecute further on behalf of the Commonwealth against Richard Vance and he was released.

On the same day, 17, April 1818, Abner Vance was called before the bar for sentencing, when asked if he had anything to say he said that he had nothing but what he had all already said. Thereupon it was considered by the Court that he be hanged to death by the neck until he be dead, and that the execution of the judgement be made and done upon him, the said Abner Vance by the Sheriff of Russell County, Virginia, on Friday the 17th July next, between eleven in the forenoon and two in the afternoon of the same day at the place of execution in this county.
Memorandum: At the trail of this cause and before the Grand Jury retired from the bar the counsel for the prisoner excepted to two opinions of the Court and a third after the jury retired from the bar to an opinion of the Court, which three exceptions were signed and sealed by the Court and ordered to be made a part of the record in this case. (This amounted to an appeal.) Court was adjourned.

14 September 1818. Superior Court of Law, Russell County, Virginia. The Commonwealth against Abner Vance, upon indictment for murder. A copy of the judgement of the General Court awarding a new trial in this cause was produced and ordered to be ________? On the records of this court. The writ of error stated, "The Court are unaminously of opinion that there is an error in this: that the court rejected evidence of the witness introduced by the prisoner to prove his insanity before the fact of which he was accused, and in deciding it was improper to introduce such proof until the prisoner's insanity was proven on the day he shot the deceased. Wherefore it is considered that the said judgement be severed and annulled, and a new trial awarded, and in the meantime that he be detained in the safe custody in the jail of the Superior Court of Russell County until the next term, and until he be discharged by due course of the law.

15 September 1818, William Wingo appeared in court according to the condition of his recognizance entered into before this court at the last term is ordered into custody of the sheriff to be committed into jail. William Wingo acknowledged himself indebted to the Governor for bond: yet Polly Wingo, wife of the said, William Wingo, shall make her personal appearance before the court on tomorrow to give evidence on behalf of Abner Vance indicted of murder, and shall not depart without leave of the court, then this recognizance be void. The trail of Abner Vance is continued till tomorrow at ten o'clock.

16 September 1818, a 48 man jury pool was called and after two days only 7 men had been selected as jurors, the court decided to postpone Abner Vance's trail until the next term of court. Spring term of S uperior Court, Russell County, Virginia, 12 April 1819. Again a jury could not be seated, after two days only two men had been selected as jurors. A change of venue was ordered by the court to Washington County, Virginia Superior Court.

Although no court records can be located for Washington County, Virginia, it is known that that they upheld the Russell County verdict and sentence. Abner Vance was sentenced to be hung on 16 July 1819. There is no official record found of the hanging.
The Lynchburg Press, a newspaper in Lynchburg, Virginia did print the following alleged eyewitness account of the hanging:
"27 July 1819. On Friday the 16th instant, Abner Vance was executed at Abingdon, in pursuance of his sentence, for the murder of Lewis Horton. He addressed the spectators, about four thousand, for an hour and a half, with considerable ability: he died with the most heroic fortitude. He accused some of giving false evidence against him: and said that if he had obtained a fair trial, and nothing but the truth had been sworn against him, he thought the penitentiary would have been proper punishment for his offense."

Abner Vance, while in prison awaiting trail composed a ballad, "The Vance Song or Abner Vance's Death Ballad, which is recognized by the Southwest Virginia Folk Lore Society, as the oldest song still in existence, written west of the Blue Ridge.

Susanna Vance, spinster who was arrested and incarcerated in the early months of the case, seems to be the daughter of John Vance, son of Abner. John had been living in Floyd County, Kentucky, which was located next door to Russell County, Virginia. On 1 February 1813, John and Mary Wilson had applied for a marriage license, John was 33 years old, and it is thought that this was his second marriage.
Susanna Vance was released from jail in Russell Count on 16 April 1818, and on 18 August 1818 in Floyd County, Kentucky a supbponea was issued against John Vance to appear and show why his children shall not be bound out as the law directs and the sheriff is directed that on the service of the same he take possession of the said children, named William and Susanna, and have them here at the next court. This comes from the book,
Annals of Floyd County Kentucky 1800-1826, by Charles C. Wells. It seems to appear that this is the same Susanna that was involved with the murder of Lewis Horton.

Judge Elihu Sutherland of Dickenson County, Virginia wrote to William Vance, of Sword's Creek, (Russell County, Virginia), who is also a descendant of Abner Vance:
He said in 1927, "As I have been told by older people Vance did not kill the Horton he aimed to kill. His mind was to kill Daniel, but Lewis put himself in the way and provoked the old man until he told him to go away or he would kill him, and Horton run and crossed the Clinch River, a distance of about 200 yards and told the old man to "shoot and be damned." The old man fired and Horton rolled off his horse into the river."

Court records for Abner Vance can be found in Order Book #5 and 6 at Russell County, Virginia Court House, Lebanon, Virginia.


Green are the woods where the Sandy flows, and peace it dwelleth there. In the valley, the deer, they like secure and the red buck roam everywhere.
But Vance no more shall Sandy behold, nor drink of it's crystal wave. The partial judge has pronounced his doom, the hunter has found his grave.

The judge said he was my friend, though Elliot's life I saved. A jury man, I did become, that Elliot, he might live.
The friendship that I have shown to others has not been shown to me. Humanity, it belongs to the brave and I hope it remains with me.

It was by the advice of McFarland that Judge Johnson did me call. I was taken from my native home and placed in yon stonewall.
My persecutors have gained their quest, they promised to make good. They sword that they would never rest till they had gained my life's blood.

There are David Horton, Bob and Bill, a lie against me swore, in order to take my life away that I might be no more.
But they and I must meet when Gabriel's trump shall blow. Perhaps I shall rest in Abraham's breast while they roll in the gulf below.

I killed a man, I don't deny, he threatened to kill me. And for this I am condemned to die, the jury all agree.
But, I and they together must meet when all things are made known. And if I have shed innocent blood, I hope mercy will be shown.

Bright shines the sun over Clinch's hills, so soft the west wind blows. The valley, it is covered all over with bloom, perfumed by the sweet red rose.
But Vance no more shall Sandy behold nor smell it's sweet perfume. This day his eyes must be close in death, his body conveyed to the tomb.

Farewell my friends and children, dear. To you I bid farewell. The love I have for your precious souls no mortal tongue can tell.
Farewell, my true and loving wife, to you I bid adieu, and when I reach fair Cannan's shore, I'll wait and watch for you.

It has been reported that he sang this song right before he was hung.

This from HISTORY OF LOGAN COUNTY by Henry Ragland.

..Abner Vance was hung for killing a man named Horton-justifiable killing, as was afterwards shown-had four sons and four daughters who came to Logan County early in the century and settled on the waters of the Tug, and who are the progenitors of the Vance family of this county. Abner Vance, the father spoken of was a native of North Carolina, and after serving in through the Revolutionary War, settled in Russell County, Virginia, and married a Miss Howard. His sons spoken of above were James, who married a Miss Miller, John, who married a Miss Rader, Richard, who married a Miss Sutherland, and Abner Jr. who married a Miss Perry. His daughter's married respectively Francis Browning Jr., Josh Dempsey, James Brown, and John McCloud. There was another daughter-Bettie-who was never married, but had two children of whom John Ferrell was the reputed father. These were Mrs. Ephriam Hatfield and the late James Vance.

This is how Henry Ragland wrote the story, now the names of his daughters are as follows:
Tabitha married Frances Browning Jr.
Millie married James Brown
Sarah married John McCloud
Bettie never married but was the mother of Nancy Vance wife of Ephriam Hatfield and James "Bad Jim" Vance.
Ragland says that Abner and Susannah had four boys and four girls. But he has five daughters listed. The John Dempsey was not married to one of Abner's daughters, but John Dempsey was the husband of a daughter of Francis Browning Jr. and Tabitha Vance. Mr. And Mrs. Joseph Demsey became the parents of the heavy weight boxer, Jack Demsey, and Francis Browning Jr. and Tabitha Vance were his grandparents.

NOTE: According to some researchers Abner Vance never served in the Revolutionary War. This has never been any proof to substainiate the claim. There has never been any proof as to him being a Baptist Preacher either, all of the court records names him as a laborer. Some of Mr. Ragland's facts are not quite correct.

More About Sr. Abner Vance:
Record Change: March 19, 2004

More About Susannah Howard:
Record Change: March 19, 2004
Children of Abner Vance and Susannah Howard are:
  i.   Acenthia Vance, born in Russell, VA.
  More About Acenthia Vance:
Record Change: March 19, 2004

  ii.   John Vance, born 1780 in Russell, VA; died in Y; married (1) Hannah Rader; born 1794 in VA; died in Y; married (2) Mary A. Duty.
  More About John Vance:
Record Change: March 19, 2004

  More About Hannah Rader:
Record Change: March 19, 2004

  iii.   Tabitha Vance, born 1782 in Russell, VA; died Aft. 1860 in Logan Co., WV; married Sr Frances Frank Browning 1796 in Washingtonco. , VA; born December 25, 1780 in Russell, VA; died 1858 in WV.
  More About Tabitha Vance:
Record Change: March 19, 2004

  More About Sr Frances Frank Browning:
Record Change: March 19, 2004

  iv.   James Vance, born 1784 in Russell, VA; died in Boone Co; married Barbara Miller; born in Boone Co. , KY.
  Notes for James Vance:

--Robert Frost
From: To: Subject: Re: Vance and Lewis Date: Wed, 1 Sep 2004 20:02:09 EDT Glenda, This is from Abstracts of Wills, Inventories, and Administration Accounts of Frederick County, Virginia 1743-1800. Hope this helps. If there is a second date it is the date of probate. Page 10 Vance, James Will, 26 February 1750. 12 November 1751. Children to be schooled as extrx. shall think proper. Daughters: Mary Vance (eldest), Sarah Vance (youngest). Sons: Samuel Vance, William Vance (youngest). Wife: Elizabeth Vance. Exrs: wife and brother William Vance and brother Robert Glass. Wit: John Wilson, John Beckett, Isaac Gras---. Page 37 Vance, James Will, 12 November 1781. October 1785. Sons: William, James, David and Samuel. Daughters: Sarah Gilkinson, Mary Wilson. Grandchildren James and Elizabeth Wilson. Wit: William Chipley, Sarah Chipley, Elizabeth Chipley. Page 13 Vance, Andrew Will, 19 December 1750. No date on probate. Sons: James, Andrew and Alexander Vance, to receive all lands, except wife Jan's part. Son John to receive five shillings. Exrs: wife Jane and son Samuel Vance. Wit: Thomas Britton and John Cook. Anita

  More About James Vance:
Record Change: March 19, 2004

  More About Barbara Miller:
Record Change: March 19, 2004

  v.   William H. Vance, born 1789 in Russell, VA; died in Tazwell, VA; married Nancy Burnsides; born 1789; died in Y.
  More About William H. Vance:
Record Change: March 19, 2004

  More About Nancy Burnsides:
Record Change: March 19, 2004

  vi.   Sena Alena Vance, born 1791 in Russell, VA; died in Y; married Joseph Dempsey 1797; born 1799; died in Y.
  More About Sena Alena Vance:
Record Change: March 19, 2004

  More About Joseph Dempsey:
Record Change: March 19, 2004

  vii.   Alena Vance, born 1791; died in Y; married Joseph Dempsey; born 1799; died in Y.
  More About Alena Vance:
Record Change: March 19, 2004

  More About Joseph Dempsey:
Record Change: March 19, 2004

  8 viii.   Sr RICHARD VANCE, born 1792 in Russell, VA; died Bet. 1855 - 1867 in Logan Co., WV; married MARY SIMMS March 25, 1813 in Floyd Co. KY..
  ix.   Elizabeth Vance, born 1794 in Russell, VA; died Aft. 1850 in Logan Co., WV; married Unknown.
  More About Elizabeth Vance:
Record Change: March 19, 2004

  More About Unknown:
Record Change: March 19, 2004

  x.   Nancy Vance, born 1794 in Russell, VA; died in Y.
  More About Nancy Vance:
Record Change: March 19, 2004

  xi.   Mary Vance, born 1796 in Russell, VA; died in Y; married James Brown.
  More About Mary Vance:
Record Change: March 19, 2004

  More About James Brown:
Record Change: March 19, 2004

  xii.   Jr Abner Vance, born 1796 in Russell, VA; died in Y; married Jane Perry; born 1807; died in Y.
  More About Jr Abner Vance:
Record Change: March 19, 2004

  More About Jane Perry:
Record Change: March 19, 2004

  xiii.   Elijah Vance, born 1803 in Russell, VA; died in Y.
  More About Elijah Vance:
Record Change: March 19, 2004

  xiv.   Minerva Vance, born 1811 in Russell, VA; died in Y.
  More About Minerva Vance:
Record Change: March 19, 2004

  xv.   Sarah Vance, born 1811 in Russell, VA; died in Y; married John MC CLOUD.
  More About Sarah Vance:
Record Change: March 19, 2004

  More About John MC CLOUD:
Record Change: March 19, 2004

  xvi.   Nancy Vance, born 1813 in Russell, VA; died 1860 in Logan Co., WV; married Ephraim Hatfield August 28, 1828 in Pike Co., KY; born 1812 in Russell, VA; died 1881 in Newton, Mingo Co. WV.
  More About Nancy Vance:
Record Change: March 19, 2004

  More About Ephraim Hatfield:
Record Change: March 19, 2004

  xvii.   Isabella Vance, born 1815 in Russell, VA; died in Y.
  More About Isabella Vance:
Record Change: March 19, 2004

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