West Virginia Encyclopedia Published

September 21, 1929: Commission Rules Nancy Hanks Born In Mineral Co.

Marker Near Antioch, WV that reads "This Tablet marks the site of the cabin where Nancy Hans, Lincoln's mother, was born 1782"

On September 21, 1929, a state commission ruled that Nancy Hanks—the mother of Abraham Lincoln—was born in what is now West Virginia.

The commission concluded that Hanks was born on February 5, 1784, near Antioch on Mikes Run in what would become Mineral County. Within four years of the finding, West Virginia had erected a replica cabin and stone memorial on the supposed site of her birth near Antioch.

But, not everyone agrees on where Nancy was born, and poor record keeping just complicates the matter. Most Lincoln experts now believe she was the illegitimate child of Lucy Hanks but aren’t certain of her father’s identity or where they were living. The state commission based its determinations on a biography of Lincoln by William Barton, which noted that Nancy Hanks’s grandfather had acquired land on Mikes Run about the time of her birth. However, others claim she was born in Virginia, North Carolina, or Kentucky.

In 1966, Governor Hulett Smith announced publicly that despite the commission’s earlier findings, there was no concrete evidence to determine where Nancy Hanks was actually born.