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Nancy Hanks Lincoln
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Celebrity's Relative
    (February 5, 1784-October 5, 1818)
    Born in Hampshire County (now Mineral County), West Virginia
    Mother of Abraham Lincoln
    Married Thomas Lincoln (June 12, 1806)
    Also mother to Sarah Lincoln (1807-28)
    Died when her son was nine, allegedly from milk sickness (at their home at the Little Pigeon Creek Community in Spencer County, Indiana)
    According to legend, son helped his carpenter father to build her coffin by whittling its nails
    Honored with a resolution, passed by the West Virginia House of Delegates, recognizing her contributions and sanctioning her birth site in Mineral County as a landmark (Feb. 12, 2009)
    Her only known portrait (done a century after her death) looks like her son in Bates-style drag.
    There are endless theories about her paternity and lineage/genetic makeup (she was an illegitimate child).
    Rumors persist that she was part-Melungeon, part-Indian, Irish-Welsh, and/or three quarters-black (the possibility that 'the Great Emancipator' might have had black ancestry is too rich to ignore - no matter how remote).
    The truth will probably never be known, as Robert Lincoln ordered that his father's personal papers related to his family heritage be burned.
    She has been confused with Abe's stepmother, Sarah Bush Lincoln, who probably deserves more of the credit for molding him into 'the man he became.'
    Lincoln seldom spoke about his birth mother, although one of his few surviving letters depicted a less than favorable view ('for her skin was too full of fat, to permit its contracting to wrinkles; but from her want of teeth and weather-beaten appearance in general').
    Also, contrary to dramatizations, he rarely visited her grave, which didn't even have a headstone (suggesting his connection wasn't as deep as it is made out to be).
    Her third child died shortly after childbirth.
    She was known for being strong-willed and intelligent, teaching her son to read at an early age.
    She was a hard-working frontierswoman who was admired her skills as a seamstress.
    In his later years, Abe referred to her as 'my Angel mother.'
    She is believed to have taken ill after visiting sick friends in a neighboring county.
    Her background as an illegitimate child led to her being socially ostracized; it has been said that Lincoln was 'ashamed of' her side of the family as a result.
    'Little Drummer Boy' songwriter, Katherine K. Davis, penned a ballad in her honor, 'Nancy Hanks,' in 1941.
    The lyrics for the song were based off of a Stephen Vincent Benet poem of the same name (which would also figure into the 1939 Henry Fonda film, 'Mr. Lincoln').
    Tom Hanks, Camille Cosby, George Clooney, and Rosemary Clooney are related to her.
    Her son said famously: 'Bless my mother; all that I am or ever hope to be I owe to her.'
    She was honored during the three-year festivities to celebrate the Lincoln Bicentennial, commemorating the 200th year of his birth, with a play depicting her wedding to Thomas Lincoln.

Credit: BoyWiththeGreenHair

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