Zeb Vance was thought to be the chief of state in the KU Klux. This idea possibly came from a 1924 book by Susan Lawrence Davis. There is no documentation of this. There is no reference to Vance and the Klan before 1926. Thomas A. Hope stated that he had heard it talked among the members a lot that Z. B. Vance was the chief of the State. Some biographers are silent on this matter.
- In this book, the author claimed that North Carolina Governor Zebulon Baird Vance was a member of the Klan, eventually elected to “Grand Dragon” of the Realm of North Carolina. That kind of took me aback, and led me to dig a little further.
- She writes in Authentic History Ku Klux Klan, 1865-1877 that “The Ku Klux Klan, led by Zebulon B. Vance, Grand Dragon of the Realm of North Carolina, succeeded in driving from their soil the ‘carpet-bagger’ and all other kinds of invaders, and impeached W. W. Holden from the office of Governor.”
- So what do the Vance biographers say about the matter? Dowd, published in 1897, is silent on the matter. Weinstein’s Zebulon B. Vance and The Scattered Nation makes no mention. Cooper’s Zeb Vance: Leader in War and Peace makes no mention.
“It is interesting to note that Milton Ready, a retired UNC-Asheville history professor, came to the conclusion in an article in 2015 in MountainXpress, that Vance “loathed the Reconstruction-era Ku Klux Klan, condemning its members as cowards and ‘ruffians,’ its intimidating methods as unlawful.””