Joseph Hanks, I

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Joseph Hanks, I

Birthdate: (67)
Birthplace: North Farnham Parish, Richmond County, Province of Virginia, Colonial America
Death: May 14, 1793 (67)
Nelson County, Kentucky, United States
Place of Burial: Nelson County, Kentucky, United States
Immediate Family:

Son of John Hanks, I and Catherine Hanks
Husband of Ann "Nanny" Hanks (Lee)
Father of Thomas Hanks; Joshua Hanks; William Hanks, I; Lucy Hanks; Charles Hanks and 4 others
Brother of William Hanks; Eleanor Dodson; Elizabeth Woolard; Catherine Hanks; Sarah Hanks and 4 others

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

About Joseph Hanks, I

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.


For decades historians and genealogists have been struggling to find the Joseph Hanks who was the father of Lucy Hanks and great grandfather of Abraham Lincoln. There were only two Joseph Hanks' in the right time period, Joseph Hanks of Richmond Co., Va. and Joseph Hanks of Berks Co., Pa. But none of these historians and genealogists ever bothered to research Joseph Hanks of Berks County, Pennsylvania and instead tried to mold the Richmond County Joseph to fit the picture.

However that was difficult to do since Joseph of Richmond County was pretty much otherwise engaged during the critical time periods and it would have been virtually impossible for him to fulfill the criteria concocted for him.

Unfortunately there are very few clues that would definitely point to either one, so circumstances surrounding each of these men has to be the deciding factor. What we have is as follows:

1.A Thomas Hanks, son of a Joseph, was drafted into the Revolutionary Army in the fall of l780 in Hampshire Co. W. Va. 2.A Joseph was on the Tax roles in Hampshire Co. W. Va in l782. 3.A Joseph was in Hampshire Co. W. Va. in the census taken in the fall of l782. 4.On March 9, l784 a Joseph Hanks mortgaged l08 acres of land in Hampshire Co. to Peter Putman. 5.On 2 / 23 / l787, a Joseph Hanks contracted to purchase l50 acres of land on Rolling Fork in Nelson Co., Ky. 6.On 5 / l4 / l793, a Joseph Hanks' will was entered for probate in Nelson Co., Ky. The will mentioned only eight of his ten children with a bequest to ALL of his children. This was interpreted to mean that there were other children besides those named in the will for special bequests.

There is nothing in any of these facts that would point to either one of these two Josephs, so let's consider the facts. Richmond County Joseph's mother Katherine died in l779 and Joseph was named administrator of her estate. From l779 to Dec. 26, l782, he was engaged in performing this duty, periodically submitting reports to the courts with the final accounting rendered on December 26, l782. As late as April of l783, Joseph was still in Richmond County where he made purchases at the estate sale of George Davis. He was a surveyor of roads from l773-l783. As late as April l783, Joseph was in the Richmond Co. Court where his brother, Thomas, was being sued by Archebald Ritchie to collect overdue debts from his share of the estate. On April 5, l785 Joseph brought suit in the courts of Richmond county against his former employers, Griffin Fauntleroy and Richard Beale, for wages owed to him for the year l78l.

This Joseph had only one child of record in the North Farnham parish records - a daughter Betty, born in l77l. This birth does not fit the Elizabeth of Nelson County who stated in the Mercer Co. courthouse on her marriage to Thomas Sparrow in l796 that she was age 20. This would make her birth date l776.

There is no way this Joseph could have been in Hampshire County W. Va. while he was bogged down with all of this unfinished business at home. This Joseph simply does not fit the picture.

Joseph Hanks of Pennsylvania is a much different story. In contrast to the Joseph of Richmond Co. Va, he had no visible encumbrances and very little else which would deter him from seeking his fortune elsewhere. In the Pennsylvania Septennial Census for l779, Joseph was the only Hanks of record in Pennsylvania. In the fall of l779 his daughter, Anna Maria, married Emanuel Ludwig, son of Michael Ludwig and Eva Rosina Bechtel. Anna Maria could read and write as could her sister, Lucy.

Joseph of Pennsylvania was on the tax rolls in Berks Co. Pa from l754-1780 in Exeter Township. He then disappeared from all records without having paid the l780 tax. This coincides with the appearance of a Hanks family in Hampshire County W. Va. where his son Thomas was drafted into the Revolutionary army.

Joseph Hanks of Berks Co. Pennsylvania was far more likely to have been the great-grandfather of Abraham Lincoln than the overburdened Joseph of Richmond Co, Va. The timing was right, the pieces fit, and there was no unfinished business to be explained away. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- JOSEPH HANKS of BERKS COUNTY PENNSYLVANIA B. 1725 to John Hanks and Sarah Evans (d/o Cadwallader Evans). M. circa l754/6 First wife unknown 2nd wife known only as "Nanny" D. l793. Left Berks County in l780 and went to Hampshire Co. Va. (now W. Va.). In l784, left Hampshire Co. and went to Nelson Co. Kentucky.


1. Anna Maria b. ca l756/8 m. Emanuel Ludwig 2. Thomas b. l759 m. Elizabeth Ryan 3. Joshua b. l763 4. Lucy b. ca l765 m. Henry Sparrow 5. William b. l766 m. Elizabeth Hall 6. Charles 7. Mary (Polly) b. l773 m. Jessie Friend 8. Elizabeth b. l776 m. Thomas Sparrow 9. Nancy b. l784 m. Levi Hall l0. Joseph b. l785 m. Mary Young

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- EVIDENCE OF A SECOND WIFE FOR JOSEPH HANKS

Very little is known about the life of Abraham Lincoln's great grandfather, Joseph Hanks. We do know, from the records of The Society of Friends, that he was born in Berks County, Pennsylvania to John Hanks and Sarah Evans, daughter of Cadwallader Evans. He left Berks County in the fall of l780 and migrated to Hampshire County, Virginia (now West Virginia), where he acquired l08 acres of land which he mortgaged to Peter Putman in 1784. In the fall of l780 his eldest son, Thomas, was drafted into the Revolutionary Army. Joseph died in Nelson County, Kentucky in l793, leaving a very ambiguous will.

We do know from the tax records of Berks County that he resided in Exeter Township where his father and mother had settled after their marriage to l7ll. Close neighbors were: Mordecai Lincoln, great-great-great grandfather of Abraham; Squire Boone, father of the famous Daniel; and Michael Ludwig, who had settled there in l740.

Mordecai Lincoln's son, John, and Joseph's brother, John, became fast friends and both eventually migrated to Augusta County, Virginia (now Rockingham County) in the early l770's. The children of Joseph Hanks, his brother John, and Michael Ludwig all became friends, so it was natural that a marriage would occur among them.

In November of l779, Joseph's daughter Anna Maria married Michael Ludwig's son Emanuel. This daughter could read and write (as could her sister Lucy). This was confirmed in her own handwriting on her marriage to Henry Sparrow in l790. The marriage produced three sons and three daughters.

We do not know the name of the wife of this Joseph. It has been surmised that Joseph's wife may have died since she did not sign the mortgage deed for the l08 acres in Hampshire County, as was required by law. And this could be possible, considering the eight year gap between the births of his daughters, Elizabeth (born l776) and Nancy (born l784). Also, there is a twenty-nine year span between the approximate birth date of his first child to the birth date of the last. This is a very long time for one wife to be producing children.

At the time of Joseph's death (5 / l4 / l793) in Nelson County, Kentucky, Joseph did have a wife (named in his will as "Nanny") who obviously was the mother of the last child, Joseph, born in l785 in Kentucky. Strangely, Joseph left his l50 acres of land to this nine year old son rather than to his eldest son as was customary in those times. Was it because Joseph was too young to provide for himself or more likely because he may have been "Nanny's" only son?

The evidence is very strong that Nanny was a second wife but, unfortunately, the Hampshire County marriage, birth, and death records (along with other vital records) were destroyed during the Civil War. So there is no way to either confirm or disprove these speculations. But if "Nanny" was a second wife it would explain why, some years after her husband's death, she abandoned the older children and perhaps a very young granddaughter and took her son Joseph to live in some unspecified place in Virginia. The young granddaughter, the future mother of Abraham Lincoln, then went to live with her aunt Elizabeth, who had married Thomas Sparrow on l0 / l7 / l796.

There have been many theories concerning this granddaughter Nancy, but with the documented evidence plus the testimony of Dennis Hanks and John Hanks (the rail splitter), there can be little doubt that she was the mother of Abraham Lincoln, the daughter of Lucy Hanks, and the granddaughter of Joseph Hanks.

Abraham himself, in his campaign biography, confirmed this when he wrote "I am from a family of Hanks, some of whom now reside in Adam and Macon Counties (Illinois)." His uncle, Joseph, brother of his grandmother, Lucy, was the relative living in Adam county and his Uncle William, executor of his great grandfather Joseph's will, was the relative living in Macon county.

Some have tried to claim that Nancy was the daughter of a James Hanks and a Lucy Shipley, but to date no one has ever found one shred of documentary evidence that would prove that either James or Lucy ever existed. In fact, history does not show any connection whatsoever to the Shipleys. Abraham Lincoln, grandfather of Abe, was said to have first married a Mary Shipley, but there is no evidence of any marriage for him other than his marriage to Bathsheba Herring. At any rate, Bathsheba Herring was the mother of Abe's father, Thomas.

We owe a big debt to the one person in all of history who was in a position to know about this family of Hanks. Dennis Hanks has been much maligned as a historian, but who can doubt that Dennis was there and an eyewitness to events as they happened and history has borne him out. He may have, as some have claimed, been uncouth and a braggart as to his own importance but he was not a liar. We have as of this date no valid reason to dispute his testimony. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- The Identity of Joseph Hanks ---- Thelma K. Windham, Derwood, Md 1994

The following is a paper which Thelma composed and presented to The Stale Historical Library, Lincoln History Department in Springfield, 111, Mr. Thomas Schwartz, Curator, which incorporated the known facts regarding both of the Joseph Hanks involved. Neither of them left a very clearly defined trail so the bottom line is which scenario makes the most sense because that is all we have.

The first rule of genealogy is to never, never, never assume without having first eliminated every other possibility and even then be very, very, careful. Genealogy is based primarily on a chronology of fact and failing that by process of elimination. To date this process have never been followed by any of the Lincoln, Hanks Genealogist or Historians. Among them are noted and respected name as William E. Barton,' Ida Tarbell 2 and N.E. Robinson.3 This has posed a great disservice to those of us who are seeking to find the truth. The identity of the Joseph Hanks who was Abraham Lincoln's great grandfather is a classic example. The Joseph Hanks of Richmond County, Va., who Historians over the years have blindly and blithely assumed to be that man, albeit reluctantly and with reservations, could not possibly have been that Joseph. No one has ever been able to prove any of the allegations that he sent his son, Thomas, ahead of him to Hampshire County Va. or that Joseph ever left Richmond County to make the numerous journeys he would have had to made to fit the scenario created for him. A few, such as Howard M. Jenkins (The Mother of Lincoln),4 have questioned the story but why they never looked for another probable solution is the biggest mystery of all. This conclusion by the Historians was founded solely on an elaborate fabrication which originated with Caroline Hanks Hitchcock in her little book, "Nancy Hanks, The Story of Abraham Lincoln's Mother" which was published 1898/9. Her version was soon labeled pure fiction. William E. Barton wrote "An account of the family from which President Lincoln's mother came would have greatly simplified if Mrs. Caroline Hanks Hitchcock had not published, in 1899 her little book "Nancy Hanks". The surprising things about this book are that so much misinformation could have been contained in so small a volume and that so many discriminating people could have been deceived by it But the Joseph story lived on in this poor, illiterate Joseph, for who she had created an elaborate scenario to make him fit the picture. But, based on the known facts, he does not fit the picture. It is far more of a probability that Abraham Lincoln's great grandfather was Joseph Hanks from Berks County, Pennsylvania, who does seem to fit the picture with no fabrication necessary. Why no has ever considered this a possibility is strange since he was known to exist.6 He was in similar circumstances and in the exact same time frame as was Joseph of Richmond County. Joseph Hanks of Berks County, Pennsylvania was born 1725 to John Hanks and Sarah Evans as recorded in the records of the Society of Friends. He was disowned by Friends 9/26/1754, about the time he would have married. He was in litigation with Alexander Klinger in 1769.~ He was the only person by the name of Hanks listed in the Pennsylvania Septennial Census of 1779 as living in Berks County. In November of 1779 his daughter, Anna Maria Hanks, married Emanuel Ludwig", son of Michael and Eva Rosina Ludwig who was a close neighbor to Joseph's family. He was on the tax rolls for Berks Co. from 1754-1780 at which time he disappeared from the records at the same time as in the fall of 1780, a Joseph Hanks appeared in Hampshire Co. Va. where his son, Thomas, either enlisted or was drafted into the Revolutionary Army.9 He was on the tax rolls in Hampshire Co., in 178210 and in the census that same year with a household of eleven persons. On March 9, 1784 he mortgaged 108 acres of land to Peter Putman for twenty one pounds and nine shillings. 12 It has been surmised that Joseph's wife may have died since she did not sign the deed.13 And this may be so, considering the big gap between the births of his daughters, Elizabeth born 1776 and Nancy born 1784. At the time of his death in 1793 in Nelson County, Kentucky he did have a wife whom he called "Nanny" who obviously was the mother of the last child, Joseph. In 1794, after her husband's death, she was reported to have taken nine year old Joseph and probably ten year old Nancy to some unspecified place in Virginia.14 In addition Joseph was left his father's 150 acres of land probably because he was too young to care for himself or because he may have been "Nanny's" only son. Unfortunately, there are no birth, death or marriage records in Hampshire County as they were all destroyed during the Civil War and nothing can be verified. The mortgage deed tells us that Joseph was probably desperate to have accepted so little money for his land but more than likely it was all that he could get. He probably didn't sell outright because, in that post war period, there may not have been any buyers. It also seems to have been a hedge in case he wanted to return since he had the proviso in the document that he had the option of repaying the twenty one pounds nine shillings with interest on or before the 25th day of September next ensuing in which case the deed would be canceled. On default Peter Putman agreed to sell the farm and retain his twenty one pounds nine shillings plus interest and the residue would be paid to Joseph. We next find Joseph and his family in Nelson County, Kentucky. Presumably he went there from Hampshire County, Va. because he has never been found in any other locality. However, he is not recorded there until 1787 when on 2/23/1787 he contracted to buy 150 acres of land on Rolling Fork in Nelson County. The deed was never made and he never received a good title to his land.15 1/31/1793 Joseph Hanks, being of sound mind but weak in body, made a very ambiguous Last Will and Testament. On 5/14/1793 this will was entered in the Courts of Nelson County for probate. He mentioned only eight of his ten children by name with a small legacy to each with his 150 acres going to his youngest son, Joseph. He instructed that everything was to be left in the hands of his wife until after her death when at that time the residue of his estate was to be divided equally among all of his children. This will has been the subject of debate by Historians and Lawyers for decades and the general consensus has been that Joseph could, indeed, have had more children than those mentioned in his will. It has long been accepted that Lucy, by then married to Henry Sparrow and already provided for, was his daughter even though she was not mentioned by name in his will. And for the same reason he omitted his other daughter, Anna Maria married to Emanuel Ludwig and left behind thirteen years before in Pennsylvania. Anna Maria could read and write and taught her children to read and write as confirmed by her son, Samuel, who was a wealthy and well learned man who migrated from Berks County PA to Crawford Co., Ohio in December of 1831. Lucy, also could read and write as confirmed in her own handwriting on her marriage to Henry Sparrow 4/10/1790. Joseph of Pennsylvania was born in Pennsylvania, the seventh of eight children. His father, John, was born 5/21/1676, and died l73l in what is now Berks Co. He married Sarah Evans, daughter of Cadwallader Evans 10/11/1711 in the Gwyneld Quaker Meeting and settled along the SkuylkiII river in Union Township, Berks County, very near the Exeter Township line. His close neighbors were Mordecai Lincoln, great, great grandfather of Abraham Lincoln, Squire Boone, father of the famous Daniel and Michael Ludwig who had settled in the lower end of Exeter Township about 1740. The Lincoln and Boone homesteads, both in Exeter Township, are still standing. The Lincoln, Hanks and Boone sons were of an age to have grown up together and become friends and apparently they did. John Hanks, brother of Joseph, was born 9/20/1712, John Lincoln was born 5/3/1711. Daniel Boone was born 5/2/1724. Joseph Hanks was born 1725. The children of Michael Ludwig, John Lincoln and John and Joseph Hanks were of an age to have become friends so it was natural that a marriage would occur among them. Michael Ludwig's son, Emanual, married Joseph Hanks daughter, Anna Maria, in November of 1779. Since Joseph had been disowned by Friends, none of his children's births were ever recorded so we can only calculate that Anna Maria's birth was approximately about the same time as Emanuel's who was born 7/13/1756~~ Their marriage date was calculated from the inscription on Emanuel's tombstone which read that he had died 3/1/1791 and had been married 11 yrs 3 mo & 2 wks 21 which, calculated backward, gave us November 1779. Anna Maria would have chronologically fit into the family which was later found in Nelson County Kentucky as his oldest child. John Hanks, brother of Joseph, was the only other Hanks of record in Berks County from l7S4~l7SO.~ John was not disowned by Friends and his children were duly registered so we know that he was not Maria's father. In about 1773/4 John left Berks County and migrated with his family to Augusta County (now Rockingham) Virginia to join his friend, John Lincoln, who had migrated there a few years earlier. There were no Hanks listed in the 1790 census for all of Pennsylvania. Joseph of Pennsylvania was evidently a poor and illiterate man. He owned no land of record and we know nothing about how he made a living for his family. He apparently did own personal property as confirmed by the number of years in which he paid taxes. Although he was listed on the tax rolls for 1780 there is no record that he paid the tax. He had nothing to hold him in Pennsylvania so it was natural that he would join the westward and southward migration which was going on at that time. He fits the picture of the man we have found to have been the grandfather of Nancy Hanks, Abraham Lincoln's mother. There are many reasons why Joseph Hanks of Richmond County does not fit the picture. First of all, there is no known facts that would substantiate all of the maneuvering accredited to him by various historians to try to make him fit the picture. It is highly unlikely that any of them ever happened. Secondly, his mother, Catherine, died in 1779 after thirty nine years of widowhood and Joseph was named administrator of her estate. Appraisals had to be made, the assets had to be sold, debts and expenses paid, and accounts rendered periodically, and a final distribution which was not completed until December 26, 1782.~ As late as April 1783 Joseph was in Richmond County when his brother, Thomas, was sued by Archibald Ritchie to collect, from his share of the estate, an overdue debt.~ In 1781, during that critical period between 1779 and 1784 he was, employed, probably as an overseer, for two of his neighboring planters, Griffin Fauntleroy and Richard Beale. By the middle of January 1782 his wages for that year 1781 were overdue which he would not collect until he brought suit against them on April 5, 1785.~ For a poor, illiterate man with probably a large family to support, it would seem that he would have had little or no money to either travel or to buy land. During this period he was recorded frequently in Richmond County as a surveyor of roads, and as a testifier in court cases and as a witness to wills and contracts.~ He was present when the legacies from the estate were divided in December 1782 and was recorded in Richmond County as late as April of 1783 as having made purchases at a neighbor's estate sale. ~ There is nothing in the records anywhere to indicate that he ever left the area. I have just found a treatise on the subject written and copyrighted in 1988 by Mr. Paul Verduin and published in the Northern Neck of Virginia Genealogical Society Magazine in December 1988. Mr. Verduin has listed the few known facts of record on this Joseph of Richmond County more completely than has any other Historian that I have read. On this very flimsy basis he was woven a scenario with suppositions, conjectures and assumptions that he claims makes it evident that this Joseph Hanks of Richmond County, Va. was indeed the Joseph of Hampshire County. But it is not evident. Mr. Verduin has given Joseph of Richmond County a very complicated scenario which does not stand up under scrutiny. He is perpetuating, without a shred of evidence to support it, the oft told story how this poor illiterate Joseph from Richmond County "must have" sent his son, Thomas, on ahead to Hampshire County in 1780. And followed thereafter by journeys made by Joseph over the next three years between Richmond County and Hampshire County. All of this at a time when he was mired up to his neck with a load of unfinished business. It makes absolutely no sense that he would have gone to Hampshire County at a time when he hadn't gotten his inheritance, or his back wages from his employers and more than likely didn't have a nickel to his name. And there has not been one shred of evidence ever produced that would even remotely support that this had ever happened. Mr. Verduin contends that, in or around June of 1782, Joseph "must have" taken a "tentative" sojourn of a few months to Hampshire County because he was not on the tax rolls in Richmond County.~ This was based solely on the fact that a Joseph Hanks did pay taxes in Hampshire County in 1782~ and who was also in the census there that same year with a household of eleven persons.30 A Joseph Hanks who, no doubt, had been there continuously since the fall of 1780. If he had, as Verduin claims, made a "tentative" trip to Hampshire County in May or June 1782 he would have had to have moved pretty fast to make the tax rolls by June or July and then return to get his family back there by October when the census was presumably taken. And then back to Richmond County at least by November to finish his accounts and settle his mothers estate. It simply never happened. Verduin goes on to say that after Joseph returned to Richmond Co. in the fall of 1782, to settled his mothers estate, that he was still in Richmond Co. as late as April of 1782 when he purchased unspecified items at an estate sale of one of his neighbors. Then, based on the fact that no taxes had been paid in 1783 in either Richmond or Hampshire Counties, he says by June of 1783 Joseph and his "wife and children" left Richmond Co. "for the last time" and went to Hampshire Co.3 This then brings up the question, had his household of ten dependents, who were in the 1782 census in Hampshire Co., also been commuting? Then he surmises that maybe only the male members were in Hampshire County, so in that case, that still leaves unexplained the eleven member household in the census. Mr. Verduin also claimed that Richmond Joseph had a large family but, he cannot substantiate this since there are no records "anywhere" to prove that either Joseph of Richmond Co. or Joseph of Pennsylvania ever had any more than one child each. Richmond Joseph had one child of record, a daughter, Betty, born 3/4/177132 Joseph of Nelson County had a daughter, Elizabeth, who stated, in the County Court House on her marriage to Thomas Sparrow, that she was age 20 in 1796 so she would have been born 1776. A significant discrepancy. Verduin's final conclusion is that Richmond Joseph and Hampshire Joseph "must" be the same man because both were poor, both were illiterate and both had large families.33 A description which also fits Joseph of Pennsylvania who was far more likely to have been in Hampshire County than was Joseph of Richmond County. Joseph of Pennsylvania's scenario is, simple, direct and uncomplicated. The timing was right, the pieces more nearly fit and he wasn't hampered with a lot of unfinished business that has to be explained away. And significantly, after 25 years on the tax rolls, he disappeared from the Berks County records at the same time that a Joseph Hanks, in the fall of 1789, appeared in Hampshire County, Va. as shown by the drafting or enlisting of his eldest son into the revolutionary Army.~ The Thomas who enlisted in the Revolutionary Army there in the fall of 1780 was much more likely to have arrived there, in 1780, from Pennsylvania with his father, mother and siblings all at the same time. Since all of these Hanks left so few trails, a determination can only be accomplished by an evaluation of the whole picture based on which probability makes the most sense. From what we know of both of these Josephs it simply makes more sense that the unencumbered Joseph of Pennsylvania was the one most likely to have been the Joseph who was Abraham Lincoln's great grandfather. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- JOSEPH HANKS

1725 Dec 20 born North Farnham Parish, Richmond Co, Va 1758 m Ann Lee, Dau of Wm 1759 son Thomas born 1762 Dec 31 witness to contract 1773 road supervisor 1776 Sep 16 brother Alexander killed at Harlem Heights 1779 viewer for new road .........Aug 2 Admin of mother's estate 1781 overseer on plantation 1782 Jan 16 owed L 29 for work as overseer .........Apr 1 filed accounts in mother's estate .........June taxed in Hampshire Co - William Lee neighbor .........Oct, 11 whites Hampshire Co census .........Dec 23 back in Richmond for mother's estate 1783 Apr 8 court case in Richmond 1784 Mar 9 gave mortgage in Hampshire .........Nov 9 mortgage acknowledged 1785 Apr 5 debt paid to his attorney 1787 Feb 28 bought 150 acres Nelson Co, Ky from John Lee 1793 Jan 8 will written .........May 14 will proved

from Paul H Verduin

  • page 308 of Nancy Hanks, of undistinguished families; a genealogical, biographical, and historical study of the ancestry of the mother of Abraham Lincoln.  by Baber, Adin.  Published 1960. "John and Catharine Hanks - their children"

Son of John and Catherine Williams Hanks.

Father to 9 children.

Thomas, Joshua, William, Lucy, Charles, Elizabeth, Nancy, Mary "Polly", and Joseph.

Married to Nancy Anna Lee on May 26, 1756 in Bedford, Richmond, Virginia. She was born 1728 and died 1808. Father is William Lee.

(The link for James listed is not connected anymore, as he was not their son.) not my posting.

The note about James not being his son was done by the previous memorial owner, Audrae Turner Mathis, and I do not know why, but left the note on the memorial.

view all 18

Joseph Hanks, I's Timeline

December 20, 1725
North Farnham Parish, Richmond County, Province of Virginia, Colonial America
Age 33
Richmond, Virginia, Colonial America
Age 37
September 12, 1766
Age 40
Rappahannock County, Province of Virginia
Age 41
Richmond County, Virginia, Colonial America
Age 44
Richmond County, Virginia, Colonial America
March 4, 1771
Age 45
Richmond County, Virginia
Age 47
February 5, 1780
Age 54
Amelia County, Virginia, United States