Lincoln Discussion Symposium

Full Version: Nancy Hanks - a wrestler?
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I do not know how reliable this is, but Lincoln may have inherited his wrestling abilities from his mother. In a book titled "Reminiscences of the early bench and bar of Illinois" (published in 1879) Usher F. Linder wrote:

"Abraham Lincoln was born in Hardin county (now La' Rue), within ten miles of the place where I first saw the light, and a little over a month ahead of me. His mother, whose maiden name was Nancy Hanks, was said to be a very strong-minded woman, and one of the most athletic women in Kentucky. In a fair wrestle, she could throw most of the men who ever put her powers to the test. A reliable gentleman told me he heard the late Jack Thomas, clerk of the Grayson Court, say he had frequently wrestled with her, and she invariably laid him on his back. Lincoln himself was a man of great physical powers a perfect type of sinews and muscles wrapped around enormous bones."
So modern female wrestling may have roots with Abraham Lincoln's mother. Cool! If true, Nancy sure didn't seem to fit the mold of what we picture women to be of that era. Perhaps it was because she was a woman of the frontier-and not like the ladies back East.
She must have won because the men got all tied up in her voluminous skirts and petticoats!
Somehow I was picturing her in jeans!
Hey,I wrestled in- high school-college-and coached it for 35yrs,and I have been beaten[Dan Gable] by the best of them.So,bring her on!
Well Herb I was going to ask if you had wrestled with a female?
No,I have never wrestled a female.Breaking up "Girl Fights" at school were the toughest brawls to step into!I arm wrestled a female once in college.[tough-win]
There was more than one Nancy Hanks living in the same vicinity, and they were relatives. I believe that persons got confused about identities when trying to recall events that occurred decades earlier. I'm not mean enough to strip a wrestling medal from Abraham's mother Smile, but neither can I credit to Lincoln's mother everything attributed to a Nancy Hanks.
I agree with Richard. There were several people named Nancy Hanks. About 15 years ago I made an attempt at researching Hanks' genealogy. Almost immediately things became so confusing to me that I gave up and have never tried again. In those days the Internet was not the research tool it is nowadays. Perhaps Hanks' genealogy can be more easily researched now, but I will still leave that task for others.
I would say that about 30 percent of the letters to and from Tarbell that I've read so far deal with Lincoln's ancestors. She and William E. Barton carried on a friendly argument for years over whether Nancy Hanks was illegitimate or not. I'm like Roger in that it's getting confusing trying to keep track of everyone.

Rob: Is there now an accepted conclusion as to whether Nancy Hanks was illegitimate or not?
As far as I know, Bill, no one has ever been able to conclusively prove that she was illegitimate. Lincoln, if Herndon is to be believed, thought she was, but that's one of the dozens of questions that, short of any new evidence, will never be settled. Tarbell didn't believe that she was.

Thanks, Rob!
Oh, what I would give to know more about Nancy!

Thomas was a wrestler during his boyhood years in Kentucky. Many Indiana folks attributed Abraham's skill at wrestling to his father's championship status back in Kentucky.
I don't think I've ever heard that Thomas was a wrestler-much less a champion. That was one area both father and son shared an interest in!
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