The News and Observer reported yesterday that the name Zebulon is increasingly popular among parents today, and was listed on a website as one of the “14 hottest” names of the year.
If Zebulon is indeed on the rise again in North Carolina, it would only mark a return to popularity of a name that was frequently found in families across the state. Zebulon Baird Vance, the closest thing North Carolina has to a Civil War hero, inspired many to adopt not just the first but the first and last names of the former soldier and politician.
My go-to source for popular Tar Heel names is the NCC Bio Index, an index of biographical information found in reference books, local histories, and newspaper clippings. The database allows for a first-name search, so I typed in “Zebulon Vance” and found entries listed for 24 different men with “Zebulon Vance” for a first and middle name, from Zebulon Vance Babbitt to Zebulon Vance Watson. That’s a lot of Zebs.