A native Texan, Zachary went to high school in Albuquerque and worked in the bustling real estate industry in Boston before returning to his home state to earn his B.A. and M.A. in American history at Angelo State University. While working on his master’s degree, he realized that his increasing interest in politics, slavery, and frontier development meant he would need to shift his focus from the development of western Texas in the late nineteenth century to an earlier period. In the autumn of 2014, Zachary moved to Columbia to study under the guidance of Professor Jeffrey Pasley.
His dissertation looks at the intersection of party politics, slavery, and economic development in nineteenth-century Missouri and the United States through the examination of the career of James Sidney Rollins, a slave owner who was a leading Whig politician and pro-Unionist. Rollins served as a representative at both the state and national levels, working to establish the University of Missouri in the 1830s and providing a crucial swing vote in Congress that approved the Thirteenth Amendment. Zachary has presented his work at conferences in Columbia, New Orleans, and San Diego. He has received a travel grant from the Kinder Institute and was a Fellow at the JMC Summer Institute in Philadelphia. Currently, Zachary serves as the Goodrich Fellow at the State Historical Society of Missouri. In his free time, he enjoys spending time outdoors, either cycling on country roads or hiking along local trails.