Governor of Ohio, U.S. Congressman, War of 1812 Officer. Born in Catfish, Washington County, Pennsylvania, he moved to Kentucky with his father in 1788 when he was a child. In 1805, he moved to Urbana, Ohio and began to work as a farmer before he settled into business as a salt peddler. During the War of 1812, he organized a rifle company for service as militia and became Captain. He was promoted through the ranks of the Ohio Militia to Major General. After the war, he engaged in mercantile pursuits at Urbana and Perrysburg, Ohio and entered public office as a member of the Ohio State Legislature. Elected as a Democratic Republican to represent Ohio's 5th District in the United States House of Representatives, he served from 1821 to 1835. When the Congressional Districts of Ohio were realigned in 1823, Vance represented the 4th District. As a Congressman, he was a member on the Committee of Military Affairs from 1825 to 1827, and was an advocate of Western expansion. He was reelected in 1832 as a member of the Anti-Jacksonian Party. He also supported the Abolitionist Movement and later became a member of the Whig Party. He was an unsuccessful candidate for reelection in 1834 and returned to Urbana until he was elected as Ohio's 13th Governor. Vance served from 1836 to 1838 as Governor and supported state funding for public education and the construction of canals. He also tried unsuccessfully to abolish capital punishment. Defeated for reelection in 1838, he became a member of the Ohio State Senate. Vance was elected to Congress again in 1842 and served until 1847. He was the Chairman of the Committee on Claims and a member of the Committee on Manufacturers. He declined to become a candidate for reelection in 1846 because he opposed the annexation of Texas and the Mexican American War. Vance was a delegate to the Whig National Convention in 1848 and a member of the Ohio State Constitutional Convention in 1851. He was also instrumental in laying out Findlay, Ohio. He died in Urbana in 1852 when he was 66 years old. His father, Joseph C. Vance, was a Revolutionary War Veteran.
Joseph Vance, the tenth Governor of Ohio, was born in Washington County, Penn., March 21, 1781. He was of Scotch-Irish descent, and his father emigrated to the new Territory when Joseph was two years of age. He located on the southern bank of the Ohio, building a solid block house. This formed a stronghold for his neighbors in case of danger. In 1801, this pioneer decided to remove north of the Ohio River, and eventually settled in Urbana. Joseph had the primitive advantages of the common schools, and became proficient in handling those useful implements—the plow, ax and rifle. The first money he earned he invested in a yoke of oxen. He obtained several barrels of salt, and set out on a speculative tour through the settlements. He traveled through a wilderness, over swamps, and surmounted serious difficulties. At night he built a huge fire to terrify the wolves and panthers, and laid down to sleep beside his oxen, frequently being obliged to stand guard to protect them from these ferocious creatures. Occasionally he found a stream so swollen that necessarily he waited hours and even days in the tangled forest, before he could cross. He often suffered from hunger, yet he sturdily persevered and sold his salt, though a lad of only fifteen years. When he attained his majority, he married Miss Mary Lemen, of Urbana. At twenty-three, he was elected Captain of a rifle company, and frequently led his men to the front to fight the Indians prior to the war of 1812. During that year, he and his brother piloted Hull's army through the dense forests to Fort Meigs. In 1817, with Samuel McCullough and Henry Van Meter, he made a contract to supply the Northwestern army with provisions. They drove their cattle and hogs many miles, dead weight being transported on sleds and in wagons. He engaged in mercantile business at Urbana and Fort Meigs—now Perrysburg.
While thus employed, He was elected to the Legislature, and there remained four years. He then purchased a large tract of land on Blanchard's Fork, and laid out the town of Findlay. He was sent to Congress in 1821, and was a member of that body for fifteen years. In 1836, he was chosen Governor of Ohio. Again he was sent to Congress in 1842. While attending the Constitutional Convention in 1850, he was stricken with paralysis, and suffered extremely until 1852, when he died at his home in Urbana. (bio by: K Guy)