The Search for Lucy Hanks Lincoln: First Cousin to Joyce Hanks?
John Hanks, the Rail Splitter, son of William Hanks stated that he and Nancy Hanks were first cousins.
Joyce Hanks was born in 1769. She married (1)
Reuben Hill, son of Thomas Hill. She had Hanks Nevill (Neville) Hill in 1813. The name Neville is a familly name dated 1769-1813. It traces to Mary Neville, born 1736, who married Thomas III Dodson. They had a child Aggatha (Agnes) Dodson, born 1733. Aggatha married Moses Hanks, son of Luke Hanks and Elizabeth unknown. Joyce Hanks was their daughter. Mary Neville was Joyce’s grand mother. Joyce named two children after the family name. Neville was important being related to John Nevill and Ralph Neville (his brother), whose daughter Cecily married the Duke of York, Richard, who died in 1460. The link here is Luke Hanks and Luke I; Luke Hanks has a son Moses and Luke I has a son Abraham. It is a contention that both Lukes are the same; that Moses and Abraham are brothers; and that Joyce Hanks and Lucy Hanks were first cousins.
79. Hanks Neville Hill (Joisay Joiacy Joyce Hanks , Aggatha (Agnes) Dodson , Mary Neville , James John Joseph , John , John ).
Hanks married Elizabeth A Ann Merrill, daughter of Jesse Merrell and Martha PUGH. Elizabeth A was born 4 Dec 1819 in , Randolph Co., NC. She died 18 Feb 1881 in Junction City, Lane, OR and was buried in Oakhill Cemetary, Lane, OR.
They had the following children:
+120FiMargaret Elizabeth Hill was born 26 Mar 1851 and died 30 Sep 1925.
64. Joisay Joiacy Joyce Hanks (Aggatha (Agnes) Dodson , Mary Neville , James John Joseph , John , John ) was born 13 Jul 1769 in , Pittsylvania Co., VA. She died 1847 in , Maury Co., TN and was buried in Adamsville, McNairy, TN.
Joisay married (1) Reuben Hill, son of Moses Hill and Axley HENLEY.
They had the following children:
+79MiHanks Neville Hill.
Joisay also married (2) Reubin Hill, son of Thomas Hill and HAMLIN, on 1782/1788 in Richmond, Henrico, VA. Reubin was born 17 Jun 1761 in , , PA. He died 16 Jan 1833 in , Maury Co., TN and was buried in Adamsville, McNairy Co., TN.
They had the following children:
80MiiThomas Hill was born 1789 in Richmond, Henrico, VA.
Thomas married Elizabeth CUNDIFF.
+81MiiiMoses Hill was born 1791.
+82MivGeorge Hill was born 1793 and died 1848/1849.
+85FviiSarah Joyce Hill was born 22 Dec 1798 and died 18 Mar 1872.
+90MxiiReuben Coleman Hill Rev. was born 27 Mar 1808 and died 31 Dec 1891.
+92MxivHanks Nevil (Neville) Hill Judge was born 10 Mar 1813 and died 9 Sep 1898.
92. Hanks Nevil (Neville) Hill Judge (Joisay Joiacy Joyce Hanks , Aggatha (Agnes)
Dodson , Mary Neville , James John Joseph , John , John ) was born 10 Mar 1813 in ,
Cumberland, KY. He died 9 Sep 1898 in Junction City, Lane Co., OR and was buried in Oakhill Cemetery, Lane Co., OR.
Hanks married (1) Alcy Caroline CARR. Alcy was born 17 Dec 1819 in , , KY. She died 17 May 1843 in , , TN.
Hanks also married (2) Elizabeth A Ann Merrill, daughter of Jesse Merrell and Martha PUGH, on 18 Feb 1844 in , Mc Nary Co., TN. Elizabeth A was born 4 Dec 1819 in , Randolph Co., NC. She died 18 Feb 1881 in Junction City, Lane, OR and was buried in Oakhill Cemetary, Lane, OR.
They had the following children:
+156MiWilliam Harris Hill was born 6 Dec 1844 and died 9 Oct 1892.
+157FiiAlcy Jane Hill was born 17 Nov 1846 and died 22 May 1885.
+158MiiiJesse Reuben Hill was born 25 Jan 1849 and died 28 Jan 1932.
159MivRichard Hardy Hill was born 3 Oct 1853 in near Bend, Deshutes, OR terr.. He died 12 Aug 1921.
Richard married Emma Blachly Wilson on 18 Jan 1899.
160MvGeorge Nevil Hill was born 25 Dec 1855 in , Lane, OR terr.. He died 4 Jul 1915.
George married Almeda MOOD on 10 May 1885.
161MviDavid Randolph Hill was born 18 Jul 1858 in , Lane, OR terr.. He died 31 Mar 1947.
David married Cora BAKER on 22 Jul 1880.
+162MviiJoseph Breckenridge Hill was born 28 Jul 1860 and died 1 May 1925.
+163MviiiAndrew Lee Hill was born 30 May 1864 and died 30 Aug 1949.
THE ABRAHAM HANKS / SARAH HARPER THEORY
ON THE IDENTITY OF NANCY HANKS LINCOLN
The most information we have had on this theory has come from an account written by Mr. David Andrew Sturgill detailing the progression of this theory. The theory being that the Nancy Hanks who married Abraham Lincoln was a daughter of Abraham Hanks and Sarah Harper.
ABRAHAM HANKS (according to Adin Baber's records)
- born ca. l745 in Richmond County, Va., a son of Luke I.
- Married Sarah Harper - no date is given
- Resided in Fauquier Co. in l773 where he was sued for debts.
- After l773, accompanied William Calk to Boonsborough, Ky. until l775.
- Witnessed aprenticeship papers for Brown to Calk in Prince William Co. Va.
- Tithed in Prince William Co. l782-l783.
- Moved to Campbell Co. Va. and died there in l790.
- Believed to be buried in the Old Harper graveyard near Matts Creek Church.
Children (according to Ada Hanks and the Census):
l. Abraham Jr. b. ca l770
2. Luke b. l77l
3. William b. l772
4. George b. l782
5. Fielding b. l783
6. Nancy b. 2/6/l784
7. John b. l786
8. Sarah b. l788
9. Polly (Sarah) b. l790.
(Baber may have meant Carroll Co rather than Campbell(?) )
(Luke II was also sued in Fauquier for debts in 1773.)
Mr. Sturgill begins with the history of Abraham Hanks and his relationship to Richard Hanks Sr. There is some confusion here, since Abraham has also been listed as a son of Luke I. The Court of Richmond County on June 6, l763, order book l5, bound young Abraham to his brother, Turner Hanks (Turner was a son of Luke I):
"Ordered the church warden of North Farnham Parish for the time being bind
Abraham Hanks to Turner Hanks according to law by being now discharged from
his former master William Glascock Jr."
(signed by John Woodbridge.)
Mr. Sturgill's account of the parentage and history of Nancy Hanks is weighted heavily with family tradition and very little of substance that would make this theory plausable. Whatever relationship Abraham Hanks had to Richard Sr. is immaterial, so it is fair to skip over that part of history and concentrate on what really matters.
According to Mr Sturgill, Abraham and Sarah moved to Carroll County, Va. in l783 and brought two sons and two daughters with them. These were Luke, John, Sarah and Amy. He differs with Baber and places Daughter Nancy, who was born here, as their last child which, after considering all of the birth dates, brings into question the birth date for this Nancy.
Abraham and Sarah both died ca. l790/93, leaving a number of minor children. Mr. Sturgill says that, according to family tradition, Nancy went to live with James Hanks in Wilke County, N.C. This certainly would be logical, since none of Nancy's brothers or sisters appear to have been married at the time of their mother's death. This is probably the same Nancy the Shipley tradition claims was born there to a widow Lucy Hanks in James Hanks' house and probably the same one who has been purported to have lived with "Uncle Dickie" Hanks in the same region.
Mr. Sturgill continues to say that, before l800, the brothers came to North Carolina and took Nancy to Kentucky to live with them, and that when they left that part of the country she was placed in the home of Richard Berry. This does not make sense. Why would they not take her with them?
It does makes sense that, after the brothers had married, they would provide their sister with a home, but there is nothing to support the assumption that she ever lived in Richard Berry's home. The fact that he signed her marriage bond means nothing more than fulfilling a legal requirement which anybody could have done. Richard Berry happened to be handy. That's a moot question anyway, since all of Nancy's brothers died in Kentucky many years after Nancy Hanks and Thomas Lincoln were married. It is highly unlikely that this is the Nancy who married Thomas Lincoln.
Abraham Jr. died after l8l4 in Montgomery Co. Ky;
Luke died l856 in Brec. Co. Ky;
William died l857 in Brec. Co. Ky;
Fielding died 8/l3/l86l in Morgan (now Wolfe) Co. Ky.
John died before l838 in Henry Co, Ky.;
George died l8l3 in Montgomery Co. Ky;
Mr. Sturgill appears to be basing his claim to kinship to Abe Lincoln heavily on the identity of the William Hanks who resided in Macon Co., Ill. and his brother, Joseph, who lived in Adams Co., Ill. These are the relatives who Abraham mentioned in his campaign biography when he wrote "I come from a family of Hanks, some of whom live in Adams And Macon Counties."
WILLIAM HANKS S/O ABRAHAM HANKS
Born ca l775 in Virginia;
Married lst Margaret Wilson l2/28/l797 Madison Co. Ky;
Married 2nd Elizabeth Lloyd 7/9/l8ll;
Died l857 Brec. Co. Ky;
Buried at Robbins graveyard located at the former schoolhouse some six or
seven miles of Hardinsburgh.
There is no history of migration in this family as there is in Joseph's family. They moved from Virginia into Kentucky and they all remained there. It is unlikely that just one out of the six brothers, whose name happened to be William, would pull up stakes and go wandering off alone across the country. And there is no reason to believe that he did.
Also, there has been no history whatsoever of any association between any of these six brothers and Nancy and Abraham Lincoln at any time or any place, from their marriage to their deaths, as there has been with Joseph's family.
WILLIAM HANKS S/O JOSEPH HANKS
Born l766 in Va.;
Married Elizabeth Hall 9/l2/l793;
Died in Macon Co. Ill. after l850;
Buried in Gough graveyard SW of Decatur, Ill.;
Resided near the falls of Rough in Grayson Co. Ky., then moved to Illnois
about l830, but resided a year or two in Indiana.
(probably to Spencer Co. or Crawford Co., Indiana, near his brother, Joseph,
who had moved there in l8l8, and his son, John, who had gone there
in l823 and had joined the Lincolns in their move to Illinois)
This family has been the adventurous one. William's sisters Nancy Hanks Hall and Elizabeth Hanks Sparrow and his nephew, Dennis, all followed Nancy and Thomas Lincoln into Indiana. After the deaths of Nancy, her two aunts and Thomas Sparrow in l8l8, Dennis remained with Thomas Lincoln and little Abe and eventually went to Illinois with them where he died a well-respected citizen in Edger County on October 3l, l892. He had maintained a close association with Abe throughout Abe's life time. What better person to have known his history?
Dennis Hanks was in an unique position as the only living eyewitness to all of the events surrounding Abe Lincoln from his birth until his death. He knew his family. He lived with his family. Yet there are those with a yen to be kin to Abe who resort to denigrating his testimony. Mr Herndon believed him to be an honest, truthful and reliable testifier, and his testimony lent credence to Herndon's own statement that Abraham had confessed to him that his mother was illegitimate.
John Hanks, The Rail Splitter, joined the Lincolns in Indiana about l823 and was often a companion of Abe Lincoln in Illinois. He was a son of this William and had siblings William, Elizabeth, Charles and Joseph - all names mentioned in the Joseph Hanks will. He was the source of much of the information on William Hanks and Elizabeth Hall. He went on to Illinois with the Lincolns. He may or may not have known who his grandfather was, as Sturgill claimed, but what is important is that he did know who his parents were.
JOSEPH HANKS S/O JOSEPH HANKS
Born l785 in Virginia;
Married Mary Young ll/l0/l8l0 in Elizabethtown Ky.;
Moved to Crawford Co., Ind.;
Capt. of the l2th Imd. Militia Reg. l8l8;
Capt. of rifle Co. 23rd Reg. l0/6/l820.;
Had five children in his family by 1820 census;
Moved to Adams Co. Ill;
Enlisted in Blackhawk war.;
Died 4/4/l856 in Adams Co. Ill.
The same year that Nancy Hanks Lincoln and her relatives died in Spencer Co. Indiana, Joseph Hanks, son of Joseph, moved to Crawford County Ind. Whether he arrived there before their deaths is not clear, but it can safely be presumed that he went there to join them. And from there he went on to Adams Co., Ill.
Mr. Sturgill has completely ignored the fact that Abe Lincoln mentioned TWO relatives in his now famous campaign biography. He has no explanation for this Joseph who Abe often referred to as "Uncle Joe". Abraham and Sarah Hanks did not have a son Joseph and, by that time, all six of the sons they did have were dead. Joseph and William were brothers, so there can be no question that Abraham Lincoln was referring to the sons of Joseph Hanks.
THE BOTTOM LINE
The Nancy Hanks who married Thomas Lincoln was the illegitimate daughter of Lucy Hanks, daughter of Joseph hanks and exactly who Dennis Hanks, John Hanks and Abe himself said that she was. It is a straight, simple, uncomplicated story with absolutely no tradition, family or otherwise, involved. The pieces fit. Supporting documents fit. And the course of history has shown it to be true.
A CRITIQUE OF PAUL VERDUIN'S TREATISE ON THE HANKS'
( Published in Northern Neck of Virginia Historical Magazine December l988 )
Mr Verduin begins with a brief summary of the early historians William Herndon and William Barton's testimony which is so familiar to most of us that it needs no repeating here. However it needs to be pointed out that Barton was never quite persuaded that The Joseph Hanks from Richmond county was actually the same Joseph who was found in Nelson County, Kentucky. He among many others had their doubts and made mention of another possible answer in the Joseph in Berks County, Pennsylvania.
Mr Verduin states that his work entailed two years of empirical research. But it was less than thorough when he failed to take into consideration the well known fact that there was this Joseph Hanks in Berks County, Pennsylvania who needed to be reckoned with before coming to any conclusions. To state categorically and without reservations that this Richmond Joseph was the ancestor of Abraham Lincoln is irresponsible.
Mr Verduin assumes, like others have surmised, that Joseph had a son Thomas who was sent ahead of his father to Hampshire county Va. to buy land for his father. This is an oft repeated supposition but there is nothing in the records that would presume this to be true. And nothing in the records that would dispute the much more realistic probability that Thomas was no doubt there with his entire family who had migrated there from Berks County Pennsylvania in l780.
Mr Verduin cites unpaid taxes and various recorded events to explain why this Richmond Joseph must have been absent from the county in the intervals in-between. The fact is that there is no real evidence that he ever left the county between the years l779 and l785 let alone make the various trips ascribed to him by Mr Verduin.
Mr Verduin has woven a very complicated scenario with much supposition, assumption and conjecture not supported by facts. He categorically states that this Joseph of Richmond Co. in l782 made a tentative journey of several months to Hampshire Co. Va. This was based on the fact that he had not paid any taxes in Richmond Co. and a Joseph Hanks had paid taxes in the spring of l782 in Hampshire Co. and had also been counted in the census in the fall of l782. He gave no consideration to the very real possibility of this being the other Joseph who had migrated from Pennsylvania in l780 in time for his son Thomas to be inducted into the Revolutionary Army that same year.
Mr Verduin presumes that Joseph must have had his family in tow in order to be counted in the l782 census there with a household of eleven persons. Then he later surmises that maybe all of the family didn't go and the census count included hired workmen. Which, considering Joseph's financial picture is not very likely.
But this scenario is contradicted again by Mr Verduin's later statement that as late as April l783, Joseph made purchases at an Estate sale, and that by June l783 he and his wife and children left Richmond County for the last time. In which case his children must also have been commuting?
And still another contradiction where Mr Verduin contends that Joseph may not have taken all of his family with him in l782 because a suitable tract of land would need to be located and a purchase of tenancy negotiated. What happened to the purchase his son Thomas was supposed to have made?
All of this sandwiched in-between recorded and documented events placing Joseph in Richmond County at specified intervals which would make this commuting very difficult to do. He was a surveyor of roads l773-l783 and often a witness to will and contracts during these years. He made purchases at an estate sale as late as April l783 and was present in court April 6, l783 when his brother, Thomas, was being sued by Archibald Ritchie to collect debts owed him from Thomas' share of his mother's estate.
Then there is the matter of finances. Joseph's mother died in l779 and Joseph was appointed administrator of her estate. Mr Verduin states that, meager as the estate was, he was held to the letter of the law. This meant the appraisel and eventual sale of the property with periodical reports submitted by Joseph to the courts over the next two years. A final distribution of the assets was not made until December 26, l782. Joseph's share was a mere l0 pounds 9 shillings plus 2 shilling 2« pence in coin.
There was also a matter of unpaid wages due Joseph for the year l78l by his employers, Griffin Fauntleroy and Richard Beale which was not collected until he sued them for debts and damages on April 5, l785. He no doubt engaged an attorney as Mr Verduin says but nothing in the records indicate that Joseph, himself, was not present as a witness. his settlement was in the amount of 29 pounds Virginia money.
So with no inheritance or back wages collected where would this Joseph have found the means in l780 to purchase the 108 acres which were mortgaged to Peter Putmam March 9, l784?
There are many inconsistencies in Mr Verduin's story. He mentions this Richmond Joseph's "growing family" and credits him with seven children at the time of his mother's death in l779 with two more still to come. The truth is that no one knows if this Joseph had any more children than the one child registered in the North Farnham Parish Records. He had one daughter, Betty, born 3/4/l771 and no further records of any children born to him either before or after that. This birth does not coincide with the Elizabeth of Nelson County who stated, in the court house at Harrodsburg, that she was age 20 on her marriage to Thomas Sparrow in l796 so she would have been born l776 a very significant difference.
Mr Verduin has created a scenario out of whole cloth for Lucy Hanks. He has produced no evidence whatsoever that a Lucy Hanks was ever in Richmond county or any evidence that this Joseph of Richmond Co. ever had a daughter Lucy yet he fantasizes at great length over the birth of Nancy Hanks Lincoln and the "nobleman" who was responsible for impregnating her mother. Griffin Fauntleroy and Richard Beale, Joseph Hanks former employers, were two of his prime suspects. But, since the unwed Lucy Hanks declined to name her seducer or even hint at whom he might be, for the sake of innocent people, this matter would be better left alone.
Mr Verduin presumes that when two Joseph Hanks living 250 miles apart are mentioned in the same time period and both are poor and illiterate that he must be one and the same person. Did he not ever consider for the sake of integrity the very real possibility that there just might be two different people and explore this angle before reaching that conclusion?
Apparently not even though it was a well known fact that there actually were two different Joseph of the same time period both poor and illiterate. One, the Joseph of Richmond county, Virginia with many complications in his life. The other, Joseph of Berks County, Pennsylvania with no complications who disappeared from the records there in l780 at the same time that his son Thomas was being drafted into the Revolutionary Army in Hampshire Co. Va.
Mr Verduins rambling on William Lee and Alexander Hanks is not germane to the facts of Abe Lincoln's ancestry nor is his speculation on Abe's inherited personal qualities so need not be addressed here.
This is a frivolous account which has done far more harm than good in the quest for seeking the real and truthful facts concerning this family of Hanks.
THE SHIPLEY TRADITION ORIGINATED WITH CAROLINE HANKS HITCHCOCK
l. Mary Shipley m. Abraham Lincoln
Fact - Abraham had only one wife, Bathsheba Herring.
Wm. Barton says there was no Mary Shipley (????).
2. Lucy Shipley m. Richard Berry and moved to Ky. ca l789
and were the foster parents of Nancy Hanks.
Fact - Rachel Shipley m. Richard Berry.
Fact - Elizabeth Hanks and Thomas Sparrow were her foster parents.
3. Elizabeth Shipley m. Thomas Sparrow
Fact - Thomas Sparrow m. Elizabeth Hanks.
(Wm Barton says there was no such person)
4. Sarah Shipley m. Robert Mitchell
5. Nancy Shipley m. Joseph Hanks (great-grandfather of Abe Lincoln)
Fact - NO ONE KNOWS who Joseph Hanks of Nelson Co. Ky.
married first or second.
* Nanny was very likely a second wife. Reasons:
l. The 30 year child bearing span and large gap between Elizabeth
(b. l776) and Nancy (b. l784)
2. Joseph's wife did not sign the mortgage deed in Hampshire Co. Va.
as required by law.
3. Joseph left his l59 acres of land to his youngest son, nine year
old Joseph, who was probably Nanny's only son, instead of the oldest
son as was customary.
4. "Nanny", several years after her husbands death, abandoned the
older children and took her son Joseph to live somewhere in Va.
instead of living with any of them as was usually done when the
mother was widowed.
THE SHIPLEY TRADITION
According to Shipley tradition Lucy Shipley, if she really did exist, was probably a daughter of Robert who migrated from Anne Arundel Co. Md. to Charlotte Co. Va, and then to Mecklenburg Co N.C., She is claimed to have married James Hanks and that her daughter Nancy Hanks married Thomas Lincoln and was the mother of Abraham Lincoln. Tradition says James was killed by Indians and Lucy married Henry Sparrow and remained in North Carolina. As a small child, Nancy Hanks went to Kentucky with her Aunt Naomi Shipley Mitchell (wife of Robert Mitchell). The party was attacked by Indians resulting in the death of the Mitchells. Two children survived, Nancy Hanks and Sarah Mitchell, and were raised by their aunt, Rachel Shipley Berry, who settled in Washington County Ky., where they claim that Nancy married Thomas Lincoln.
Although this James was claimed to have been a son of Joseph Hanks, he has never been found in any public or birth records. Wm. Barton says that there never was a Lucy Shipley, yet this tradition has been in circulation for many decades. Apparently no documentary proof.
No James Hanks has ever been found and the Lucy Hanks who married Henry Sparrow was a spinster. Also, she was identified by Dennis Hanhs in a letter to William Herndon as a daughter of Joseph Hanks. There is no record anywhere of a son James in Joseph Hanks' family.
There is no record of a marriage between Abraham Lincoln and a Mary Shipley, but even if it were true his son Thomas, husband of Nancy Hanks, was the son of Abraham Lincoln and his wife, Bathsheba Herring. No Shipleys involved.
LOUIS A. WARREN'S SHIPLEY THEORY
(From the December l932 issue of Lincoln Lore, Ft Wayne Indiana)
The best information we have on Lincoln's maternal grandfather at present comes from the descendants of Joseph Hanks. In going through the correspondence which they carried on with Mrs Hitchcock of Cambridge Mass. forty years ago, it is evident from these documents that they thought that Nancy's father was a son of the pioneer Joseph Hanks.
One of these descendants claims that the father of Nancy Hanks was named James. Others support the tradition that James died before the removal of the Hanks family to Kentucky and the widow came on later with her own people. Every bit of documentary evidence we have been able to gather from court records supports this theory, although we have not been successful as yet in finding the name of Nancy's father in public records.
The tradition that Nancy Hanks was born in James Hanks' cabin on Little Falling River has been in constant circulation for many decades. There is still much to be done to positively identify the maternal grandfather as a son of Joseph and the husband of Lucy Shipley Hanks.
GASTON CO. N.C. HISTORICAL ASSOC.
Wilma R. Craig
Rachel Shipley, daughter of Robert Shipley and Sarah Dorsey, married Richard Berry Sr. c. l759, lived in Gaston Co. N.C. and Ky. (Lincoln Co.) Their son Richard Berry married (l794) Mary Ewing of the Lincoln County N.C. Ewing family and lived in Mercer County Ky. It was this Richard Berry who signed the marriage bond when Nancy Hanks married Thomas Lincoln in Washington County in l806. These facts led to the Stowe tradition which began in Lincoln Co. N.C. after the Civil war. The Ewing family lived on the Catawba river (N.C.) in the l790's near the James and Richard Hanks families. (Hanks Historical Review Sept. l995)
OUR HERITAGE BY WILMA CRAIG
Gaston has some ties to Nancy Hanks Lincoln
(Gaston Observer Sunday Feb. ll l990)
Our connection with her was as a young girl .In the History of Gaston County N.C., Minnie Stowe Pruitt tells the story as told to her by her father,C.T. Stowe. Pruit tells the story of a group of families including Hanks, Berrys, Shipleys and Lincolns arriving into what was then Lincoln County (now Gaston County). She mentioned finding them in the l790 census. She tells how Nancy, as a young girl, came to live with her "Uncle Dicky" Hanks in his cabin not far from the Catawba River. She cites testimony from a life long resident of the area, Matthew Leeper. Hugh Ewing and Sam Ewing also lived nearby.
Pruit also recounts the tradition that Abraham Lincoln's dad, Thomas Lincoln was born in what is now Gaston County.
The descendants of C.T. Stowe thought enough of the tradition to erect a stone marker south of Belmont in honor of Nancy Hanks, mother of Abraham Lincoln. It marks the spot where Nancy Hanks spent many of her early years.
I could see no mention of the stories that tend to cloud both Nancy's birth and girlhood days. In trying to learn more about Nancy Hanks, I found that someone had documented several girls named Nancy Hanks who were born the same year as the mother of Abraham Lincoln.
Adin Baber, in his works tended to agree with the Pruits but later on gave Nancy Hanks a different set of parents.
*The Shipley/Stowe theory builds strongly on the fact that Shipley, Ewings, Berrys, Hanks and Lincolns came into Gaston Co. N.C. and later some of them into Lincoln County, Ky. Their claim that the above Nancy Hanks lived with Richard Berry is based on the fact that Richard Berry signed the Marriage Bond as guardian for Nancy. There is nothing to substantiate this claim and there is much in the available information to dispute it.
THE HARPER THEORY (As told by David Andrew Sturgill in his article "Who was Nancy Hank Lincoln",
which is based mostly on tradition.)
The Harper theory claims that the Nancy Hanks, who married Abraham Lincoln, was a daughter of Abraham Hanks and Sarah Harper. According to Sturgill, she was born in Caroll Co. Va., the eighth and last child born to Abraham and Sarah. Sarah And Abraham both died l790/83 and Nancy was placed in the home of James Hanks in Wilke Co. N.C. Before l800, Nancy's brothers, who by this time had married and settled in Kentucky, came and took Nancy to Kentucky to live with them. Sturgill says that when the last of the brothers left that part of the country she went to live in the home of Richard Berry and married Thomas Lincoln.
The thing wrong with this theory is the fact that the brothers all died in Kentucky long years after Nancy Hanks and Thomas Lincoln were married. None of them ever left the region in which they had, for many years, been living. And secondly, there is no evidence of any kind that would support that Nancy had ever lived in the Berry home or had any need to.
THE VARVELL THEORY
This is a part of the Abraham Hanks-Sarah Harper Theory but is not supported by Mr. Sturgill, who claims that Abraham and Sarah's daughter, Sarah, married his ancestor Lewis Sturgill in l784.
According to Adin Baber, the Varvell theory is based on alleged visits by Abraham Lincoln to "Granny Varvill" as Abraham Hanks' daughter, Sarah, was known to her grandchildren.
It seems that this visit (or visits) is the only basis for some to claim that Abe was a descendent of Abraham and Sarah Harper Hanks.
But the fact is that Abraham also made frequent visits to visit his Uncle Joe (Joseph) who was a brother of his grandmother Lucy Hanks, the daughter of Joseph Hanks. So it would seem that this is a contradictory assumption.
FACTS GENERALLY ACCEPTED
"Abe Lincoln wrote in his campaign Biography "My mother, who died in my tenth year, was from a family of Hanks some of whom now reside in Adams and others in Macon county, Illinois."
Evidence easily found shows that the Hanks in Adams County were Joseph Hanks ("Uncle Joe") and his family, who was a brother to Lucy Hanks and a son of Joseph Hanks.
The Hanks in Macon County were the family of William Hanks, the Executor of his father, Joseph Hanks', will and also a brother of Lucy and Dennis' mother Nancy.
John Hanks, the Rail Splitter, son of William Hanks stated that he and Nancy Hanks were first cousins.
Dennis Hanks, in a letter to William Herndon wrote, "My mother and Abe's mother was sisters. My mother was Nancy Hanks. Abe's grandmother was Lucy Hanks, which was my mother's sister. The woman that raised me was Elizabeth Sparrow, the sister of Lucy and Nancy. The other sister, her name was Polly Friend, so you see there was 4 sisters that were Hanks".
e-mail comments and questions to Thelma Windham at: mailto:%firstname.lastname@example.org