||Nancy (Hanks) Lincoln is an ancestor of a US President/Vice President|
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This person is an ancestor of President Abraham Lincoln. 16th US President
Nancy Hanks Lincoln (c.1784-1818)
The ancestry of Abraham Lincoln has been a source of intrigue and dispute ever since Lincoln's death. It will come as no shock to any who have looked into Abraham Lincoln's maternal ancestry that what prompted that remembered quote printed in 1887 was a series of conjectures now known to be inaccurate. The manner in which some of his family lived -- like others in their socioeconomic sphere, sometimes bearing and openly keeping children without a legitimate father present, the children taking their mother's surname and being raised by grandparents or married aunts and uncles -- was not the image the family or Lincoln wished to present to the American public-- especially not to the political elite who surrounded Lincoln in his later years-- regardless of the precise circumstances under which Nancy was conceived, born and raised.
The Fall 2016 issue of American Ancestors reports confirmation through mtDNA studies that Nancy Hanks' father remains unknown. In addition:
The study specifically refutes the theory of Hanks' ancestry through the Shipley family: Nancy's mtDNA carries the haplogroup X1c, while the sometimes-assumed Shipley ancestors carry an mtDNA haplogroup of H. 
Nancy Hanks, mother of the 16th president of the United States, was certainly born between 1782 and 1784, possibly on 05 February 1784.  She was the out-of-wedlock first-born child of a teen-age girl, Lucey Hanks, and an unnamed, to this day unknown father.
While it is an accepted fact that Lucey Hanks was Nancy's mother, somewhat less provable is the assertion that Lucey (her spelling) was a daughter of North Farnham Parish workingman Joseph Hanks. The doubt arises because Lucey alone of the children of Joseph Hanks was not named in his will. Joseph died not long after Lucey's marriage to the respectable Henry Sparrow. Even though by then charges of fornication against Lucey had been officially dropped, it seems not unlikely in those harsh times that Lucey's "indiscretion" and the perhaps not coincidental events that followed could have resulted in a permanent rift and even disowning by her father.
At the time of Lucey's pregnancy Joseph was employed as the overseer of two neighboring plantations. It has been suspected, but never proven, that one of those rich landowners or another in the area was the father of Nancy Hanks.
Regarding his grandfather, Abraham Lincoln was quoted by William Herndon, his former law partner-cum-biographer, as having said:
Billy, I'll tell you something, but keep it a secret while I live. My mother was a bastard, was the daughter of a nobleman, so-called, of Virginia. My mother's mother was poor and credulous, ... and she was shamefully taken advantage of by the man. My mother inherited his qualities and I hers. All that I am or ever hope to be I get from my mother, God bless her."
Publication of the statement set off a storm of controversy, not least because Herndon had developed a near monomaniacal obsession with preventing the deification of Lincoln.
In contemporary times, if we consider the issue of sex outside of marriage in colonial America at all, we may have a vague notion that the worst that could happen would have been a baby and a scarlet letter-- social ostracization. In fact, in a time and place where absence from church on Sunday was a fine-able offense, there were strict laws against fornication and adultery: persons so charged could be tried and publicly, corporeally punished. The birth of an illegitimate child was de facto evidence of the mother's crime. The only reasons to keep the father secret would be to protect both parties from the harsher punishment his identity could bring (were he married or of a different race); to protect her from him (were he in a position of power over her or her family); or to gain more positive inducements (such as payoffs). Consider that not long before the time of Nancy's birth, Lucey's 60 year-old father quit his overseer positions and uprooted the family from their lifelong home in Richmond County, moving them first to Hampshire County, and shortly thereafter to the new frontier of Kentucky. All this while yet awaiting the outcome of a lawsuit against his employer for his entire last year's pay, as well as awaiting the overdue disbursement of the estate of Catherine Williams Hanks, his mother, which was being held up by court-appointed administrators, one of whom (Fauntleroy) was the very plantation owner withholding his pay. One wonders if indeed Mr. Fauntleroy did not perhaps strategize that the best defense is a good offense.
But if Joseph Hanks thought leaving Virginia would shield Lucey from prosecution, Kentucky offered no protection. After giving birth to a second illegitimate daughter, on 24 November 1789 Lucey was indicted by a Mercer County grand jury for fornication. The charge was apparently dropped when she married Henry Sparrow in 1791. But the camel's back was already broken. And as was common at the time in such marriages, the illegitimate children, Nancy and Sarah, were given up to relatives to raise.
Nancy Hanks went to live with Lucey's childless sister, Elizabeth Hanks, and her husband, Thomas Sparrow, brother of the man who became Lucey's husband. Elizabeth and Thomas also took in and raised Dennis Hanks, the illegitimate son of Nancy's youngest aunt, also named Nancy Hanks. And while Dennis was unable to name his grandfather, (who, after all, died when Dennis was quite young) he did identify several children of Joseph Hanks as brothers and sisters of Lucey.
Nancy Hanks Lincoln died on 05 October 1818 from milk sickness at the Lincoln's home in Pigeon Creek, (now Spencer County), Indiana, at age 34. Thomas buried her on a hillside just south of the family farm.
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Nancy is 18 degrees from John James Audubon, 20 degrees from Jacques-Yves Cousteau, 31 degrees from Gerald Durrell, 17 degrees from Dian Fossey, 14 degrees from Steve Irwin, 26 degrees from Ernest Just, 19 degrees from Ian Player, 19 degrees from Peter Scott, 28 degrees from Antoon van Hooff and 18 degrees from Marta Johnson on our single family tree. Login to find your connection.