Breaking Zeb Vance of His Cussing
“Zebulon Baird Vance, when inaugurated [as North Carolina governor] on September 8, 1862, was thirty-two years old. He was a native of old Buncombe [county] and a mountain man, his grandfather having been a soldier at King’s Mountain, and his mother, who had been a schoolmate of David L. Swain, continued to read her fine-text Bible at the age of 75 without spectacles.  Despite the religious environment in which he grew up, Zeb Vance spiced his natural vivacity of words and manner with irrepressible profanity.
A story has often been told about him in the mountain country. As a means of breaking him of his habits using “cuss words,” his teacher one day set him apart from the other children, strictly enjoining him to keep his mouth shut, and to watch the mouse-hole in the corner of the schoolhouse.  Soon the quiet hum of normal activities was broken by a shout from Zeb: “Damned if I haven’t got him,” as he appeared before the startled teacher with the mouse gripped in a pair of tongs.”
(North Carolina, The Old North State and the New, Volume II, Archibald Henderson, Lewis Publishing, 1941, page 239)