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143. Dennis F. Hanks to William H. Herndon.

Charleston Ill Febur 10th 1866

friend Billy

yours Rec[e]ived Febuary 9th for which I Hasin to answer those questions that you propond to Me is the Easest for Me to answer of All the Rest I give it in full Noing what I Say

1st what is the Name of A Lincoln Mother I.this hir name was Nancy Sparow hir farther Name was Henory Sparow hir Mother Name was Lucy Sparow hir Madin Name was Hanks Sister to My Mother

2d you Say why was She Cald Hanks all I can Say is this She was Deep in Stalk of the Hanks family Calling hir Hanks probily is My falt I allways


told hir She Looked More Like the Hankes than Sparrow — I think this is the way if you Call hir hanks you Make hir a Baseborn Child which is not trew

3d Now Billy this question is all gaman I have herd a great Many things a Bout abe those things Bout Abes Being a Basterd is false the Man that Sayes So to Me Be well posted a Bout it shore those things I No what I Say You Jus Say that Thomas Lincoln of Hardin County Ky was his farther and Nancy Sparrow was his Mother Now Nancy Lincoln thare is No gronds for for all this Shure while I Live I will Conterdict it for Billy I No this I am all the Man that Can tell all a Bout it I want this Richard Creal to tell you How he noes he Lives on A Lincolns Birth place

Billy I th[i]nk this will Do to Stop the Mouths of those fellows that is trying to Make Abe out a Base Borne child and his Mother if Call hir Hanks you Make hir a Base Born Child hir mother was a Hanks Billy you No this Much a Bout familys they will allways have Nick Names for one or an other we Beat all people for this u Ever have Seen

you will See that I have not answerd your other Letter wating for Information from my friends in Kentucky if you wish I Should answer it I will plese in form

Yours Respectffuly
D. F. Hanks

Library of Congress: Herndon-Weik Collection. Manuscript Division. Library of Congress. Washington, D.C. 2475; Huntington Library: LN2408, 1:251 — 53



1. Though Lincoln had told Herndon and others that his mother's maiden name was Hanks, Dennis F. Hanks maintained that AL's mother's maiden name was Sparrow, the surname of her mother's husband. See the appendix.

2. William H. Herndon note: (Foolish answer to evade a truth — Mrs Lincoln was born 20 ys before Hanks — Herndon).

3. Gammon: "misleading or nonsensical talk."

4. William H. Herndon note: (Lincoln knew what his Mothers Name was, I guess — Herndon).

5. William H. Herndon added two notes at the end of this letter: I don't believe that Lincoln was a bastard — though it is a fact that doubts May be raised, I think Caused by a misunderstanding as the identity of persons & times and As to Mrs Lincoln her own Son A. Lincoln told me the truth. Both are signed "Herndon."