VANCE Family Stories !

My Father's story of Abner Vance

I can remember my Father talking about Abner Vance my G,G,G,G,Grandfather. The story was passed down over the years from one generation to another. Not saying this is true, but this is what I was told by a great man!!My Father!!

Abner Vance was born in North Carolina in the mid 1700's. He was referred to as Rev. Vance! He came to Southwest Virginia in the late 1700's, settling in Russell Co. He farmed, trapped and done some surveying to support his family. His daughter Elizabeth fell in love with a man that did not have good intentions toward her. To make a long story short, he ruined her reputation.

Abner and Susannah, his wife, tried to get the man to marry Elizabeth, but he refused. After a brief argument, Abner shot the man and killed him. He supposidly hid out in Logan Co. WVa. for some time before coming back to Russell Co. and turning himself in. In the end he was found guilty of murder and sentenced to hang. He was hanged on July 16, 1819 in Washington Co. Va.

His daughter Elizabeth never married, but had several children, one of them was "BAD" Jim vance, that was involved in the Hatfield and McCoy feud. Another of them, Nancy married Ephraim Hatfield, and was the mother of Anderson "DEVIL ANSE" Hatfield. Is this story about Abner true? I don't know! I only know what I was told!! Let me hear your version about the events leading up to the death of Abner Vance! I really would like to hear from you. My e-mail Address is:

Tim Vance


__________________________________________________________________________ Abner Vance in Pittsylvania Co. Va.

Abner Vance spent some time in Pittsylvania Co. Va. along with some other Vances, QUESTION: Who were the other Vances, were they related to Abner?

This is the oath of allegiance sworn in 1777!! I do swear or affirm that I renounce and refuse all allegiance to George the third, king of Great Brittain, his heirs and successors, and that I will be faithful and bear true allegiance to the commonwealth of Virginia, as a free and independentstate, and that I will not, at any time do, or cause to be done, any matter or thing that will be prejudicial or injurious to the freedom and independence thereof, as declared by congress, and also, that I will discovere and make known to someone just of the peace for the said state, all treasons or traiterous conspiracies which I know or hereafter shall know to be enacted. That the justice of the peace before whom such oath or affirmation will and shall on or before the first day of january:

Lankfords List:

Abner Vance

Matthew Vance

Charles Kennons List:

Benj. Burgess

Edward Howard

Ezekial Howard

William Shorter's list:

Thomas Burgess

E-mail Me At

Tim Vance



One of the most legendary characters in Logan County history was Abner Vance. He was a Revolutionary War veteran from North Carolina, an indian scout, and a surveyor. No proof of his Service in the military has ever been found. As a Baptist minister, Abner spent many years traveling the countryside spreading the Baptist faith. He loved to write and sing the early mountain ballads and hymns.

Abner and Susannah had a daughter [Elizabeth] who ran away with Dr. Lewis Horton. After several months, Dr. Horton returned with the girl. He and Abner got into an argument and Abner shot and killed Dr. Horton.

Abner stayed in this area [Logan Co., VA] until friends convinced him that if he went back to Russell County, he would get a fair trial. But the trial ended in a hung jury, and was moved to Washington County. In the second trial, Abner was found guilty and sentenced to hang. Tradition says that while in jail awaiting his execution, Abner wrote the famous Death Ballad of Abner Vance, which he sung standing on the scaffold minutes before he was hung. There are several different versions of this song, but apparently no one knows which one is the original.

A newspaper account of the hanging says that Abner addressed the spectators, about 4,000, for an hour and a half, with considerable ablility.

Supposidly he received a pardon from the Governor of Virginia, but the pardon was received after the hanging. No copy, or record has been found for this pardon, did the pardon exist? I don't know!




Welcome relatives and friends. On this page you will find the story that ran in the Lynchburg Virginia Press on July 27, 1819, concerning the death of Abner Vance!

On Friday the 16th instant, Abner Vance was executed at Abingdon, in pursuance of his senrence for the murder of Lewis Horton. He addressed about 4000 for an hour and a half, with considerable ability; and died with the most perfect composure and heroic fortitude. He accused some persons of giving false evidence against him; and said that if he obtained a fair trial, and nothing but truth had been sworn against him, he thought the penitentiary would have been the proper punishment for his offense.

Yes, Abner Vance was hanged for murder. But, was it an unjust hanging. I don't know, I wasn't there. All we know is what we can find to read in old papers, and what stories we hear that have been handed down through the years. So should Abner Vance have died for his crime, in the early 1800's, No I don't think so. Laws were different then, he was protecting his families reputation as we all try to do. I am sure there is more to this story that we will never know. So we have to go by what facts we have, which is not many. If you have any thoughts or information about this story, e-mail me at:

Tim Vance



Another Version of Abner Vance's Death!

Here is another version of the death of Abner Vance, many stories have been told about Abner Vance and his family, and especially the way events led up to the reason for his execution, and the execution itself: So here is another one!!

Abner Vance was born in the mid 1700's in North Carolina. He migrated to the Southwestern part of Virginia (The Clinch River Valley) in Russell County, sometime around 1790. He was a baptist preacher, and spent a lot of his time preaching.

One of Abner's daughters (Believed to have been Elizabeth) ran off with a man named Lewis Horton. After a few months Lewis Horton brought the girl back and dropped her off at Abner's home. Abner and his wife Susannah pleaded with Mr. Horton to marry her, of which he refused. As Horton was riding away, Abner went into his house and returned with his gun and shot Lewis Horton, which resulted in his death.

Abner Vance became a fugitive of the law. he left Russell County right then, which was Sept. 17, 1817. He spent the next two years along the Guyandotte and Tug rivers. In 1819 his family convinced him to return to Russell County to stand trial for the killing of Lewis Horton! Every one in the area felt that he would be aquited of the killing of Mr. Horton under the circumstances.

When he came back to Russell County he was arrested and put in jail without bail. The first trial ended in a hung jury, so the trial was moved from Russell County to Washington County Virginia. (This was when you could be tried over and over for the same crime) The Washington County jury found him guilty of the murder of Lewis Horton and sentenced him to be hanged by the neck until dead. The case was taken to the court of appeals, but the lower court decision was upheld.

Petitions for the release of Abner Vance were circulated, but to no avail. The Governor would not interfere, and on July 16,1819 in Abingdon Virginia-Abner Vance was hanged for the murder of Lewis Horton. A short time after the hanging a courier arrived with a pardon from the Governor. (No pardon has ever been found, and there is no record of it).

Susannah (Howard) Vance left Russell County Virginia and went to the Guyandotte, Tug, and Big sandy river valleys. This is just one version of the death of Abner Vance, I don't proclaim this to be a true story! This is just another version of what we know happened, which was Abner Vance was hanged for the murder of another man. If you have a story about Abner Vance or his family, I would like to hear it, and possibly add it to our homepage.

E-mail Me At

Tim Vance



An Interesting Story From History!

This was in one of Winchester's Leading Newspapers in 1792.

To be sold on Tuesday the 6th day of November next...At the Plantation on which William Vance, deceased, resided within two miles of Newtown. A part of the personal property of the said William Vance, consisting of horses, cows, sheep, hogs, one waggon, one cart and geers complete bar shear and shovel, ploughs. One 83 gallon still, nearly new,distill tubs, a large quantity of hackled flax, a considerable quantity of... wool, home made flax and tow lines. Flow and tow yarn, some excellent old whiskey, per the gallon, cherry bounce, per the gallon, one chest & drawers, one desk and bookcase, two good weavers looms, a number of reeds and geers for ditto, one good pipe stove, household and kitchen furniture, hay, corn, and a number of other articles too tedious to enumerate... John Gilkeson and James D. Vance, executors,Oct.22,1792..

__________________________________________________________________________ THE LAMP

This is a story about an oil lamp that I have. I got the lamp from my Father, he got it from his Father, His Father got it from his Father. Anyway, the lamp at one time belonged to Louisa Margaret (HELTON) VANCE, b. 1864, w/o William H. VANCE b. 1855. The lamp was (I have been told) gave to William & Louisa (HELTON) VANCE by Mary "Millie" (VANCE) BROWN, d/o Abner & Susannah (HOWARD) VANCE. I don't know if the lamp actually belonged to Mary "Millie" (VANCE) BROWN or not, but that is the story I was told by my Father. I am however positive that it did belong to William & Louisa (HELTON) VANCE, because my Father remembered seeing the lamp in her house when he was a child. So on to the story.

This story took place in the Spring of 1880. At that period in time the mountains of Southwest Virginia were wild and untamed. There were many kinds of wild animals roaming the forest covering the Valleys and Hills of this beautiful unspoiled region of the country. Animals such as Panther, Wildcat, bobcat, Bear, among others.

William & Louisa had just got married, and were building a home at the head of Hill Creek on Glen Burke Mountain, in Tazewell Co. Virginia. The house was located just a short distance from where the Vance Family Cemetery is now located on Glen Burke Mountain. They owned a very few domesticated animals, a cow, a horse, a mule and a few chickens and a dog. The nearest neighbor was about a days ride away by horse, and took even longer if walking it. There were no roads leading to the house, just a horse path.

After working on the house for several days, William had to leave for some reason, but I do not know why. The story goes that he was gone for 3 days. The house had only three sides and no roof when William had to leave. Louisa spent the three days and nights at the house all alone. During the day she would work on the house and clear land for gardening, at night she would gather all of the animals into the three sided house and build a large fire in the fireplace to help keep the wild animals away from the domesticated animals. When the Panther's or other big cats would try to venture too close to the open side of the house, she would take the oil lamp and turn it up as far as it would go, and walk to the opening with her shotgun in hand, and shoot at the wild animals to chase them away. That oil lamp is the one I now have.

It always amazes me what our ancestors faced, and conquered to make a place for themselves and their families in the wild wilderness that covered this land. Louisa Margaret (HELTON) VANCE was not unlike any other woman of that day, they did what was required to survive, and flourish. They were determined, honest and hard working people, and I for one am grateful for the hardship they faced to make this a better place to live.

My brother has pictures of William & Louisa, and I remember the first time I saw them. My first thought was "She was a homely woman" but, I have learned to see her beauty, and I know why My Great Grandfather decided to make her my Great grandmother, for she was a lovely woman, not only in looks, but also in character, she was a doer, and a survivor. I remember my Father speaking fondly of his Grand Mother, he said she always treated him special, and I am sure he did the same for her. I will see if my brother will loan me the pictures of William & Louisa so I can put them on the Homepage, I would really like to share these amazing people with all of my relatives.

I will also take a picture of the oil lamp and put it on the Homepage too. The chimney of the lamp has been replaced several time, and the flame adjuster has been replaced also, but the main base of the lamp is the original. I still use it from time to time. When the electric goes off, it is the first one I light, for it throws the most light. From time to time, my wife and I turn out the lights, and light the oil lamp, it always gives us a quiet, peaceful atmosphere. When we do this I always think about Louisa chasing away the wild animals. So thank you William & Louisa, tho you never knew me, I am forever grateful for all you done for me. Tim


Link Back To Directory Index Page
Abner Vance's Homepage.
Link Back To Introduction Page
Vance-Connecting The Family
I Want To Connect All Vance's Everywhere!!
Mechanics Question And Answer Page
Place To Ask And Answer Mechanical Questions
Check Out My Horror Book
Written By None Other Than Myself

Search for the Album or Artist of Your Choice!
Album Title
Song Title

powered by lycos Search: Tripod The Web  
Download Free Chank Rockstar Fonts on Tripod!

Check Out Tyler's Mad Crib for Teens on Tripod Ask Evel Knievel on Tripod Ask the Doctor on Tripod Get Gif Girl's Web Design Tips on Tripod