Because there are so many contradictions and so much misinformation regarding Nancy Hanks, the mother of President Abraham Lincoln, I would like to share some important references regarding the true Nancy Hanks, mother of the president, who is reported to be a niece of my ancestor, Moses Hanks.
Legal documents for Lucey Hanks and Nancy Hanks in Kentucky are few in number. Thanks to Karen Fowler Caldwell for sharing these first three references. I will add others as I locate them. Hopefully these will help to correct all the mistaken information which others have printed or put on the worldwide web. And hopefully some new information will come to light to enhance what we know about the elusive Nancy Hanks and her background.
1. Lucy Hanks November 24, 1789 charge of fornication in the Mercer Co., KY
court. This was never brought to trial.
2. Lucey Hanks April 26, 1790 marriage bond to Henry Sparrow at Mercer Co., KY.
Handwritten note by Lucey states,
"I do sertify that I am of age, and give my approbation freely for henry Sparrow to git out Lisons this or enny other day, given under my hand this day, Apriel 26th 1790" This was witnessed by John Berry* and Robert Mitchell**.
*John Berry was the son of Richard Berry Sr. and Rachel Shipley. He married Ann Mitchell on August 18, 1786 in Mercer Co. KY. He died in October, 1795 in Mercer Co., KY.
Mercer Co. KY Will Book 1, page 214
Will: October 8, 1795: Probated Oct 1795: Book 1 page 214
Wife: Anne. Heirs: 2 dau: Peggy, Rachel. Exors: Rachel Berry Sr. and Robert Mitchell. Wit: Thomas Gash, Richard Berry, Elizabeth Ewing, Polly Berry.
Inventory: November 12, 1795: Book 2 page 7
Wife: Anne Berry. Apprs: Thomas Gash, Archibald Bilbo, William Bilbo.
Dower: Book 2 page 21
Anne Durham, wife of Jacob Durham, late widow of John Berry. Surveyors: Archibald Bilbo, Wm. Bilbo, William Brumfield.
In Richard Berry Sr.'s Washington Co., KY Will written August 19, 1797 he states, "Also I aurthorize my son, Richard to make a sale of a tract of land on the Doctor's Fork in Mercer County for use and benefit of John Berry's two children."
**Robert Mitchell was the son of Daniel Mitchell and Mary Caldwell. He was married to Naomi Shipley. On a return trip to Kentucky from North Carolina and while bringing his family to Kentucky, Robert Mitchell's family was attacked by Indians. His wife, Naomi, was killed and his daughter, Sarah S., was captured by Indians. Sarah was taken to Canada and sold to a Frenchman. She was released after the signing of Mad Anthony Wayne's treaty in 1794-95 and was returned home to Washington Co. KY. Documentation of this lies in a letter written by Mary Caldwell Mitchell to then Govenor of Kentucky Isaac Shelby.
May 1, 1793 - Dear Sir - You will perhaps think strange to Recive a Letter from a poor old woman who never had the Least acquentance with you; But sir when you hear my Story I am very sure you will pity me at Least; if you Can Do no more for me - my Requst is in behalf of my grand Child who was taken Prisoner by the Indians in the wilderness Last fall 2 years her name is Salley. S. Mitchell Daughter to Robt. Mitchell. Decd. - as you have frequent opportunitys of writeing to governer Blunt I beg of you to mention the matter to him as he once promised to use his best Endeavours to gain intelligence of her. - Request him to write to you whether he has Ever found out any thing Certain about her or where she is; and Should that gentleman write to you (as I hope he will) please to Let me know by a Line sent to Mr Robert Caldwells (from where I Could Soon get it) whether there is any news of my poor grand Child - I am now old and very frail and Cannot Rest Contented without trying Every method in my power for her Redemtion from Captivity. - I hope you will assist me all you Can which favours will be thankfully acknowledgd. by
your most Obet. Huml. servent
May 1st 1793."
3. Nancy Hanks June 10, 1806 marriage bond to Thomas Lincoln at Washington Co., KY. Richard Berry signed the bond as her guardian and John H. Parrott was a witness. Richard Berry, Jr. was the son of Richard Berry and Rachel Shipley. John H. Parrot was the deputy clerk for Washington Co., KY.
You may also be interested in this site: "Will the real Nancy Hanks Lincoln please stand up?" This source lists 46 Nancy Hankses born in America between 1780 and 1866:
Last updated November 1, 2003.
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