First, let me say, since Nancy is not my direct line, I have not spent much time chasing her ancestry.I have enough work documenting my own. For me, there is sufficient evidence to show that Nancy and Dennis were related and probably cousins.I have documents from Dennis down to myself.
1. Why did Richard Berry sign as Nancy Hanks' guardian at her marriage? It is my understanding that Ky. law was explicit regarding guardianship and that it went to father or testamentary guardian of his appointing, the mother if unmarried, and then to next of kin.
I am afraid this is unanswerable because no one knows why Richard Berry Jr would sign as such.My readings indicate that Nancy was living in Richard Sr's house, not Richard Jrs.
I know of no documents that explain Richard Jr's actions.I ask, "Was he actually her guardian?".Are there court records showing he was made Nancy's guardian?Or is there only a marriage bond where he claims to be such?Maybe he lied!!!!!Maybe the couple needed a signature and the only way was to get someone they both knew to do the deed.It's done today. Judges often do as they please and not always what the law says.And that is today.Why would they be any different (better) almost 200 yrs ago?
Nancy appears to have been pregnant when she married Tom Lincoln since Sarah was born just about 8 months after the marriage. Now, Sarah could have arrived early.But could this be the answer?Nancy and Tom got married without telling the family because they knew the family would be upset.Is it possible the Hanks folks didn't care for Tom Lincoln? As to the marriage bond, I have not seen the original document nor a copy. Does it exist? What does it actually say?Is it authentic, i.e. has it been dated and compared to other known Richard Berry, Jr documents?Could it have been forged and planted by an interested researcher?It's been done before.
Or possibly, was Richard Berry actually Nancy's father?Without a paper trail, nothing can be answered.As I mentioned in my original post, Dennis made his statements. No one has provided evidence to prove differently.He lived the life.Researchers today can only guess as to what happened. We can sit here a sideline quarterback trying to outguess each other but is it worth the time.
2. Why were there no Hanks family involved in the documents regarding Lucy Hanks marriage to Henry Sparrow in 1790? There are papers that attest to her age witnessed by Robert Michel and John Berry, age affirmation signed by John Daniel and her marriage bond which is also signed by John Daniel.
Here are my thoughts.
Lucey had been charged with fornication.Were these people possibly court officers and the marriage took place in order for the charges to be dropped?Again, I have not seen the papers.It is difficult to make good judgments about that of which one has not had firsthand knowledge.
Maybe one of these BERRYs or Mitchells was the "father" of Nancy and that made the link to the BERRYs.As I recall, there was a MITCHELL married to a SHIPLEY and of course the SHIPLEY married to Richard BERRY.There are no documents to show that Lucey had ever been married anywhere and my hearsay is that according to the court record she was a "spinster".Now did that mean never married OR someone who spins?
Again my understanding of Ky. law is that age affirmation by next of kin was a requirement unless the female had been married before. After a first marriage, a relative or an acquaintance could attest if they knew the woman to be of age.
I have not studied KY law from that time so I have no idea as to what was required.Logically, IF there are pending charges and IF no family members were nearby, a judge could easily forego whatever legal requirements ifsomeone came forward to vouch for the individual.If the court case on fornication was pending, possibly there was an immediate need for action. And of course Ma Bell wasn't around for speedy communications.
Verduin shows a second child of Lucey who was illegitimate.I don't have all his work just a portion so I cannot verify his evidence.
I have been told before that Joseph Hanks and family had disowned her for her illegitimate child and that is why she (Lucy) was in another county etc. However,there is no proof circumstantial or otherwise to
There are existing proofs [circumstantial] 1) Joseph's will in which he does not list Lucey but does mention "other" children which proves nothing and [hearsay] 2) Herndon's claim that Lincoln himself stated so.One must ask why Herndon would make such a claim?What gain was there for him if Abe's mother was legitimate or illegitimate after Abe was dead or even when Abe was alive.
suggest this and there are just as many who say she (Nancy) was legitimate as say illegitimate so I wonder how valid this argument
No one has produced a birth record of any kind; which still proves nothing. Dennis Hanks claimed Henry Sparrow was Nancy's father.Dennis told of being a "baseborn" child and told Herndon that Nancy was not.Is it possible Lucey was pregnant with Nancy when Henry married her and that Nancy was barely 16 when she married Tom Lincoln?This might explain the signature on the marriage bond but still no court documents are been found placing Nancy in Richard Berry's care.But then why would Henry Sparrow not sign?
Also it has been my experience that few Va. families disowned their daughters who had illegitimate children. Most were required to care for them to prevent them becoming a ward of the parish. And yes I know they were in Ky. but they had been brought up under Va. law and old habits are hard to break.
Can you then explain what happened with Dennis F Hanks if these folks held so strongly to VA law and old habits are so hard to break?He surely wasn't taken care of by his mother.He appears to have been shuffled around just as was Nancy.
3. My final question is A.Lincoln did not seem to know that his grandmother was Lucy Hanks Sparrow even though he would have had exposure to her through his mother and Elizabeth Hanks Sparrow. Why?
Possibly! But Nancy and Elizabeth both died when Abe was 9.Abe was less than 7 when they moved away and Lucey and Henry were not living near them.Did Nancy Hanks Lincoln know who her mother was ?Possibly and possibly not!My experience is that small children forget people with whom they are only vaguely familiar fairly quickly.If Abe only met the others once or twice before his mother died and father remarried, that might answer the question.
From what I have read Nancy supposedly lived part of her life with the Berrys and her later adolescent years with Thomas and Elizabeth Hanks Sparrow.Nancy was supposedly living with the Sparrows when she married Tom Lincoln.Again, I have seen no court documents to prove any of this.
As for evidence about Abe's knowledge of his grandmother, I "met" another researcher online who claims papers exist in Springfield, IL where Abe stated Lucey was his grandmother.I am waiting word on getting copies.
Abe did state in one biography that his mother came from a family of Hanks, some of whom then lived in Macon and Adams Co, IL.The Hanks in Macon and Adams at the time were William and Joseph Jr, sons of Joseph Sr and Nannie. Maybe Abe didn't know his family and just thought these folks were relatives.
I wish I could answer you better. As I said I have no time to waste chasing lines that are collateral.My documentation, civil records, etc, from Dennis and Betsy Hanks down to me are good enough evidence for what I believe.Dennis' word, as one who lived the life, is also sufficient for me.I have no other questions. Even the discussions about paternity are irrelevent for me since I have no claim to the Lincoln side.
Bill Boyle, PhD College Professor Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry NMSU