Joseph Hanks, Sr.

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Joseph Hanks, Sr.

Birthplace: North Farnham Parish, Richmond County, Province of Virginia
Death: Died in Nelson County, Kentucky, United States
Place of Burial: Nelson County, Kentucky, United States
Immediate Family:

Son of John Hanks, Sr. and Catherine Hanks
Husband of Ann "Nanny" Hanks (Lee)
Father of Thomas Hanks; James Abraham Hanks; James Joseph Hanks; Joshua Hanks; William Hanks, Sr. and 6 others
Brother of William Hanks; Eleanor Dodson; Elizabeth Woolard; Catherine Hanks; Sarah Hanks and 3 others

Occupation: Plantation overseer and tenant farmer
Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:

About Joseph Hanks, Sr.

Joseph Hanks (1725-1793), Nancy Lincoln (Hanks) grandfather; great-grandfather of President Lincoln, lived in Richmond County, Virginia, where he was a plantation overseer and tenant farmer. He migrated to Mercer County, Kentucky in 1784, then moved to Nelson County in 1787. With his wife Ann "Nanny" Lee (c.1742-c.1794) they had 9 children

  1. Thomas (1725-1835)
  2. Joshua (1762-1835)
  3. William (1765-1851/52)
  4. Lucy, a.k.a. Lucey (1767-1833)
  5. Charles (1770-1828)
  6. Elizabeth (1771-1818)
  7. Mary 'Polly' (1773-1821)
  8. Nancy (1780-1829)
  9. Joseph, Jr. (1784-1856)

This is an excellent reference (also noted in Sources):


Joseph Hanks (John, William, Thomas) was born December 20, 1725 in North Farnham Parish, Richmond, Va, and died 1793 . He married Anne "Nancy" Lee Abt. 1758 in Bedford, Va. She was born Abt. 1740 in Richmond, Va. Notes for Joseph Hanks:(Shawcross. FTW)

The will of Joseph Hanks in Nelson Co. (WBA, p. 102) dated 8 Jan 1793 and probated 14 May 1793 names wife Nanny and children Thomas, Joshua, William, Charles, Joseph, Elizabeth, Polly, and Nancy. Charles Hanks was already in Louisiana in 1793. Thomas and Joshua were apparently not living in Ky. as there are no records of them. Joseph Jr's children and grandchildren have a family tradition of Joseph going to a brother (Joshua) in Va. and returning to KY.

Joseph Hanks, son of John and Catherine Hanks, was born 20 Dec 1725 (NFFP Register Richmond Co., Va.). On 6 Aug 1764 (OB 15) William Peachy against Joseph Hanks for 2 pounds, dismissed. On 9 Aug 1769 (OB 17) Joseph Hanks witness for Billington McCarty eight days. Joseph Hanks married Anne Lee, daughter of William Lee of Richmond Co. prior to April 1769 for on that date the estate of William Lee deceased. paid him for his legacy bequeathed to his wife by Elizabeth Taylor deceased. (Account Book #1 p. 547). On 5 July 1773 (OB 19) Joseph Hanks against Francis Webb. There is no proof that this is the same Joseph who was the son of John and Catherine Hanks, however, there is no other Joseph Hanks of record in Richmond C. at this time. On 8 April 17 83 (Richmond Co. OB 18) Archibald Ritchie vs. Thomas Hanks defendant. Hanks having privately removed himself out of county (where did he go?), attachment of his (Thomas Hanks) estate in the hands of Joseph who appeared and was sworn saying he had the defendants proportion of his mother Catherine Hanks estate and no more. On 5 April 1785 (OB 19) Joseph Hanks vs. Richard Beale and Griffin Fauntleroy debt...."This day came as well the plaintiff by his attorney and the defendants in the proper person" and say they owe the debt. The NFP Registers list Betty Hanks daughter of Joseph and Ann Hanks born 4 March 1771. There is some question as to whether the Josph Hanks of Hampshire Co. Va. was the same as the Joseph Hanks of Richmond Co. The records do not give enough information to be positive about this point. However , Peter Lee a brother of Anne (Nancy) Lee Hanks, was in Hampshire Co. about the same time. Mark Lee, another brother, was nearby in Maryland and went to Kentucky with Clarks expedition C. 1780. Later both Peter and Mark Lee were in Nelson co., Ky. at the same time as Joseph Hans. Peter and Mark Lee had a brother John Lee and I have wondered if the John Lee who sold land to Joseph Hanks was this same John. I am convinced that the Joseph Hanks who died in 1793 in Nelson Co., Ky. is the same Joseph Hanks as the one who married Nancy (Anne ) Lee in Richmond Co., Va. based on the following: In St. Martin Parish, Louisiana the marriage of Charles Hanks and Christina Hartgreve states "Charles Heinks of Richmond Col, Va., resident of La. for 7 years, age 27 years, son of Joseph Heinks and Ana Lies, single to Christina Hargreve married 1 February 1798." The Louisiana records show Charles Hanks as being from Kentucky in some of the christening records of his children. Mississippi and Louisiana records show Mark Lee, uncle to Carles Hanks, in Natchez in 1789 and La. in 1790. Peter Lee, brother of Mark, was in Natchez in 1796 and later in La. Christening records in La. of the children of both Peter Lee and Mark Lee show that some of them were born in Va. and some Ky. Peter Lee's parents were listed as William Lee and Marie Thanton of Richmond Co., Va. Both Peter and Mark Lee were in Mercer co. and Nelson Col, Ky. The Nelson Co., Ky. tax list of 1787 have Joseph Hanks and William Hanks, 1792 Joseph Hanks and William Hanks listed separately, and William Hanks is listed for 1793, 1794, 1799. On 2 September 1798 in Nelson co. Willliam Hanks married Ellizabeth Hall. The will of Joseph Hanks in Nelson Co. (WBA, p. 102) dated 8 Jan 1793 and probated 14 May 1793 names wife Nanny and children Thomas, Joshua, William, Charles, Joseph, Elizabeth, Polly, and Nancy. Charles Hanks was already in Louisiana in 1793. Thomas and Joshua were apparently not living in Ky. as there are no records of them. Joseph Jr's children and grandchildren have a family tradition of Joseph going to a brother (Joshua) in Va. and returning to Ky. (shawcross 111. FTW)

From: Lineage of Lincoln by Barton Nelson C. Court Suit 1811, against Benedict Compton. The contract made by John Lee to Joseph Hanks in 1787 was endorsed by the widow, Anne Hanks and her son Joseph to Joseph's older brother William Hanks in1794. Know I, John Lee of Nelson Co., Va, bound to Joseph Hanks of same for sum of 100 pounds dated 28 February 1787..... condition of obligation....John Lee do make to above named Joseph Hanks a good and lawful deed as soon as deed can be obtained from Joseph Barnett for the tract whereon John Lee now lives containing. 150 ac...I do sign over all my right and title to above bond to William Hanks 10 January 1794 and signed Joseph Hanks and Ann Hanks.

William Hanks married Elizabeth Hall 1788 Nelson Co. Ky., Mary Hanks married Jesse Friend 1795 Hardin Co. Ky. and Nancy Hanks married Levi Hall.Joseph Hanks lived on 108 acres (44 ha) on a fork of Mike's Run, alongside Patterson Creek, Hampshire County, VA (now Mineral County, West Virginia).[10][11] Joseph Hanks is on the 1782 census for Hampshire County, Virginia. The census showed that there were 11 white people living in the household. This would have included Joseph, Ann and his 9 children, including Lucy Hanks.

Joseph Hank's home, now in Mineral County, West Virginia, is considered Nancy Hanks's birthplace and contains a memorial to her from the state of West Virginia.


In March 1784 Joseph Hanks sold his property via a mortgage and moved with his wife, eight children, and granddaughter Nancy to Kentucky, having traveled on the Wilderness Road through Cumberland Gap. The family then lived on land purchased February, 1787 about 2 miles north of the mouth of Pottinger's Creek and Rolling Fork, in a settlement called Rolling Fork or Pottinger's Creek settlement in Nelson County, Kentucky until the death of patriarch Joseph Hanks in 1793.

Pottinger Station "Site of one of the forts which protected the early settlement of Bardstown. Built by Samuel Pottinger, soldier in Revolution, who first saw the land in 1778 which he came from Maryland with troops of Capt. James Harrod. In 1781 Pottinger returned with his family and built station. It was often used as a refuge for other settlers migrating to Kentucky.

A man named Zachariah Riney bought Nancy's grandfather, Joseph Hanks, Sr. property off of Rolling Fork in Kentucky. After Nancy and Thomas Lincoln were married and had children, Riney, with Caleb Hazel, taught Nancy's children at the Knob Creek school. The Hanks property purchased by Riney was situated "on the Rolling Fork [River] near the moth of Knob Creek and Pottinger's Creek" (just south and east of New Haven, Kentucky).

Death and Will

Joseph Hanks died in 1793. Nancy's grandmother, also named Nancy but generally called Ann, decided to return to the homeland of her youth and much of her adulthood in old Farnham parish in Virginia.

His home and property were to be given to his wife during her lifetime and then their youngest son, Joseph, Jr. In 1794 Nancy {"Ann"} and her son, Joseph Hanks, Jr., sold the property along Rolling Fork near Pottinger's Creek to her son William. Ann then returned to the Farnham area in Virginia with Joseph and died there. William and his wife lived in the home and any unmarried children they were married. Joseph and Ann's grandchild, Nancy, went to live with her mother, Lucy Hanks Sparrow.

Abraham Lincoln

Abraham Lincoln's great grandparents are commonly believed to be Ann ("Nannie") and Joseph Hanks of North Farnham Parish, Richmond County, VA.

Joseph and Ann's children and grandchildren figured prominently in Abraham's life, including: Joseph's granddaughter, Nancy Hanks, was Lincoln's mother.

His grandson, Dennis Hanks lived with Abraham Lincoln in Thomas Lincoln's home in Indiana. His daughter, Elizabeth ("Betsy") Hanks Sparrow assisted in the birth of Abraham Lincoln, lived near Abraham Lincoln in Kentucky and Indiana. She was known first to Abraham as "Granny", before he learned that in fact she was his aunt.

His son, Joseph, is believed by some to have taught Thomas Lincoln the carpentry trade in Hardin County, Kentucky.

His grandson, Abraham's cousin, John Hanks, lived in the Thomas Lincoln household, took a raft trip with Abraham down the Ohio and Mississippi rivers, and encouraged the Thomas, Sarah and Abraham family and Dennis Hanks to move to Illinois. He was also his "rail splitting" partner, which became a focus for Lincoln's presidential campaign.

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Joseph Hanks, Sr.'s Timeline

December 20, 1725
North Farnham Parish, Richmond County, Province of Virginia
Age 32
of,North Farnham,Richmond,VA
Age 33
March 20, 1760
Age 34
(Present Montgomery County), Province of Virginia
December 25, 1761
Age 36
Age 37
Age 38
Rappahannock County, Province of Virginia
Age 41
Richmond, Virginia, United States
Age 44
Richmond, VA, USA
March 4, 1771
Age 45