Family history, as well as local legend, indicate that President Abraham Lincoln may have been one-fourth or more Cherokee Indian.
According to Mormon records, the author descended from the alleged father of Abraham Lincoln, Abraham Enloe (not Abraham Lincoln). To go back another generation, Abra-ham Enloe’s father was Enock Enloes, born 1741 in Baltimore County, Maryland, died in 1799, in York County South Carolina. Enock Enloes was married to Agnes Sprucebank (born 1734),
who was probably a Cherokee, although this is nearly impossible to prove. Quite often, data on Native America spouses on the frontier was limited or omitted for fears of later removal for them or their families. Their son was Abraham Enloe (born in 1770 in York County, South Carolina, died in 1841 in Murphy, North Carolina, which is in Swain County.
In 1899, less than 3 years after Lincoln’s assassination, James H. Cathey of Sylva, North Carolina, wrote and published the third edition book entitled, The Genesis of Lincoln in which he endeavors to prove “an interesting fact in the story of America’s most remarkable man.” Quoting interviews and letters from widely scattered sources, Cathey makes a case that Lincoln’s mother “Nancy Hanks, became pregnant as a servant girl in the home of Abraham Enloe, located on Ocona Lufta, about
14 miles from Bryson City which is now Swain County, North Carolina.”
Cathey gave this description of Abraham Enloe: “In personal appearance, he is described by the family and those who knew him as having been a very large man, perhaps more, not less, than six feet high. Not corpulent, but muscular and sinewy. His head was large and fine. Forehead, nose and mouth prominent. His hair was stiff and black. His complexion was inclined to be tawny.”
Abraham Enloe fathered nine sons and seven daughters by his wife (a former Miss Egerton). The ninth and only surviving son in
1899 was Wesley . Enloe. Wesley was 88 years old when he was interviewed by Cathey at the Enloe Home – the same house on the farm where his father and mother lived when Nancy
Hanks was banished from the household and sent to Kentucky.
Wesley Enloe said in 1889, “I was born after the incident between my father and Nancy Hanks. I have, however, a vivid recollection of hearing the name Nancy Hanks frequently mentioned when I was a boy. No, I never heard my father mention it; he was always silent on the subject as far as I know… I have no doubt that the cause of my father sending her to Kentucky is one generally alleged.”
Cathey interviewed Joseph A. Collins, then 6 and living in Clyde in Haywood County, North Carolina. Collins said “He met a Judge Gilmore in 1867, who stated he knew Nancy Hanks before she married, and that they had a child she called Abraham. While the child was yet small, Collins quoted Judge Gilmore, she married a man by the name Lincoln after which
the boy was known as Abraham Lincoln.”
Captain James W. Terrell (born in Rutherford County, North Carolina December 1829) recalled a conversation with a Dr. Egerton of Hendersonville, North Carolina a relative of Mrs. Abraham Enloe. Dr. Egerton told him, Terrell said, that in the fall of 1860, just before the Presidential election, he had a guest in his home, a Mr. Davis, also a Rutherford County native, who had moved to Illinois in the early 1800’s and had become “intimately acquainted with Abraham Lincoln.”
“In a private and confidential talk,” Davis is quoted as saying, “Lincoln told him he was of Southern extraction and that his right name was, or ought to have been Enloe, but that he had always gone by the name of his stepfather.”
It is said anyone who saw Wesley Enloe, son of Abraham Enloe and a half-brother of President Lincoln, was struck by the resemblance of one to the other as can be seen in this one-of-a-kind photographic comparison.
Additional pictures and information may be found on Google under Abraham Enloe.
It must be stated that Agnes Sprucebank may or may not have been Cherokee. The evidence is only circumstantial. If it is in fact true, the hybrid vitality from Abraham Lincoln’s father will help explain Lincoln’s physical and mental prowess. Present day DNA testing might someday verify this story