Monday, February 12, 2007

Abraham Lincoln's 198th Birthday - or is it?

Is February 12, 1809 really Abraham Lincoln's birthday? Were Thomas and Nancy (Hanks) Lincoln his birth parents?

GenealogyToday had an exclusive article in late 2005 here about Abraham Lincoln's purported biological father. The summary on the web site reads:

The cover is off the genesis cover-up of Abraham Lincoln. No longer is it a mystery who was the natural father of our 16th President. For years others were rumored to be his father, yet Thomas Lincoln was never mentioned. That is, until the federal government, at the behest of his son Robert Todd Lincoln, then Secretary of War, ordered that one of a possible sixteen sites in Kentucky and his birth date of 1809 be officially established to preserve his reputation.

History researcher R. Vincent Enlow, a New Jersey resident, uncovered not only an overwhelming evidence favoring one Abraham Enloe, a North Carolinian, as Lincoln's sire, but a wealth of assumptions and loopholes in the Kentucky "Sunday-school" versions of Lincoln's early life published after his assassination in 1865.

Click on the link where it says "Download" or you can read the article online or download it to your hard drive (use the "Save File" icon on Adobe Reader, not your Windows [File] [Save As] buttons.

The article is fairly persuasive, but it tells only one side of the story, while debunking the "official" version. This article relies on affidavits and testimony by relatives and acquaintances of Abraham Enloe and Nancy Hanks taken back around 1900. We all love mysteries and controversies, eh?

Unfortunately, no Y-DNA test can be done to solve this case, since Abraham Lincoln has no living male descendants to match against a living descendant of Abraham Enloe. I think I heard last year that someone was looking for hair samples from Abraham or his son Robert Todd Lincoln to find enough DNA to perform a test. Do I recall correctly?

Can anyone provide further information on this article or the paternity of Abraham Lincoln?


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Laura Taylor said...

I am a direct descendant of Abraham Enloe (he was my great-great-great-great-great-great-grandfather), and I have copies of both the Cathey and Coggins books. I have a cousin who is also a direct descendant living in Sylva, North Carolina. I believe I know where Abraham Enloe is buried - I don't have concrete proof the grave is his, but I am about 90 percent certain it is. If Lincoln's DNA (there are institutions that have his hair and blood samples so direct descendants of his would not be necessary) could be matched to what is contained in that grave (the death date is 1841 so there might not be much left, but teeth seem to last a good while, so if there is anything left it might be usable), or to DNA from me or my Enloe 3rd cousin, the mystery could be cleared up.

I have pictures of a good number of Enloe relatives who look almost exactly like Lincoln. Several of them had Marfan's Syndrome, suffered from depression and my sister has Marfan's as well as suffers from bi-polar disorder she is tall, has skewed features (bless her heart, she looks like a feminine version of Lincoln), long disporportionate fingers, hands and feet sometimes turn very white, etc. The only reason I have any belief that this story may be true is that Lincoln looks so much like my relatives and nothing like his father or even his half brothers - Tom Lincoln was short (about 5'5" tall) and there is NO family resemblance there at all.

If you or anyone else knows how to get in touch with R. Vincent Enlow, I'd be interested in talking to him about the information I have on the Enloe family.

The story may be completely false, but wouldn't history be turned on it's head if it were true? I'd love to know the answer once and for all.

Thank you.

Laura Taylor

Randy Seaver said...


I have tried to contact Mr. Enlow through the web site in order to try to put you in contact with him.

Would you mind emailing me at so that I can pass your comments along to them? Hopefully, we can get you and Mr. Enlow in contact with each other.

Regards -- Randy

Anonymous said...

Abraham Enloe is buried in Church Graveyard in Murphy, NC.

There is question regarding his being Abe Lincoln's father, because Abraham Lincoln had an older sister Sarah Lincoln born in 1807 and died in childbirth 1828.

It is more likely that Dennis Hanks, second cousin of President, who was illegimate son of President' mother's Aunt, who was also known as Nancy Hanks is Enloe's son, and not that of Charles Friend as insinuated.

Too much documentation to who Abraham Lincoln's father and mother was and not a lot regarding her Aunt, Nancy Hanks...who was her mother Lucey's sister.