lincoln portrait Young Lincoln portrait

by Albert Kaplan

Let us read William Herndon's account beginning with a description of Thomas Lincoln, Abraham's father: "He (Thomas Lincoln) was, we are told, five feet ten inches high, weighed one hundred and ninety-five pounds, had a well-rounded face, dark hazel eyes, coarse black hair, and was slightly stoop-shouldered. His build was so compact that Dennis Hanks used to say that he could not find the points of separation between his ribs ... was sinewy, and gifted with great strength, was inoffensively quiet and peaceable, but when roused to resistance a dangerous antagonist." *

"It was a wild region, with many bears and other wild animals still in the woods" wrote Lincoln in the Fell autobiography. More details are found in the sketch he furnished John L. Scripps. "He (Thomas Lincoln) settled in an unbroken forest, and this clearing away of the surplus wood was the great task ahead. Abraham, though very young was large of his age, and had an ax (axe) put into his hands at once: and from that till within his twenty-third year he was almost constantly handling that most useful instrument - less, of course, in plowing and harvesting seasons."

Herndon reports, "By the time he had reached his seventeenth year he had attained the physical proportions of a full-grown man. He was employed to assist James Taylor in the management of a ferry boat across the Ohio River near the mouth of Anderson's Creek, but was not allowed a man's wages for the work. He received thirty-seven cents a day for what he afterwards told me was the roughest work a young man could be made to do."

"In June the entire party, including Offut, boarded a steamboat going up the river. At St. Louis they disembarked, Offut remaining behind while Lincoln, Hanks, and Johnson started across Illinois on foot. At Edwardsville they separated. Hanks going to Springfield, while Lincoln and his step-brother following the road to Coles Country, to which point old Thomas Lincoln had meanwhile removed. Here Abe did not tarry long, probably not over a month, but long enough to dispose most effectively of one Daniel Needman, a famous wrestler who had challenged the returned boatman to a test of strength. The contest took place at a locality known as "Wabash Point". Abe threw his antagonist twice with comparative ease, and thereby demonstrated such marked strength and agility as to render him forever popular with the boys of the neighborhood."

"He enjoyed the brief distinction his exhibitions of strength gave him more than the admiration of his friends for his literary or forensic efforts. Some of the feats attributed to him almost surpass belief. One witness declares he was equal to three men, having on a certain occasion carried a load of six hundred pounds. At another time he walked away with a pair of logs which three robust men were skeptical of their ability to carry. "He could strike with a maul a heavier blow - could sink an axe deeper into wood than any man I ever saw." is the testimony of another witness."

(Interrupting Herndon's account for a moment to quote from Browne's biography of Lincoln, on page 53, quoting Dennis Hanks: "My, how he could chop! His ax would flash and bite into a sugar-tree or sycamore, and down it would come. If you heard his fellin' trees in a clearin' you would say there was three men at work by the way the trees fell.")

"They (the Clary's Grove boys) conceded leadership to one Jack Armstrong, a hardy, strong, and well-developed specimen of physical manhood, and under him they were in the habit of "cleaning out" New Salem whenever his order went forth to do so. Offut and "Bill" Clary - the latter skeptical of Lincoln's strength and agility - ended a heated discussion in the store one day over the new clerk's ability to meet the tactic of Clary's Grove, by a bet of ten dollars that Jack Armstrong was, in the language of the day, "a better man than Lincoln". The new clerk strongly opposed this sort of an introduction, but after much entreaty of Offut, at last consented to make his bow to the social lions of the town in this unusual way. He was now six feet four inches high, and weighed, as a friend and confident, William Green, tells with impressive precision, "two hundred and fourteen pounds". The contest was to be a friendly one and fairly conducted. All New Salem adjourned to the scene of the wrestle. Money, whisky, knives, and all manner of property were staked on the result. It is unnecessary to go into the details of the encounter. Everyone knows how it ended: how at last the tall and angular rail-splitter, enraged at the suspicion of foul tactics, and profiting by his height and length of his arms, fairly lifted the great bully by the throat and shook him like a rag ...."

"Mr. Lincoln's remarkable strength resulted not so much from muscular power as from the toughness of his sinews. He could not only lift from the ground enormous weight, but could throw a cannonball or a maul farther than anyone in New Salem."

"No little of Lincoln's influence with the men of New Salem can be attributed to his extraordinary feats of strength. By an arrangement of ropes and straps, harnessed about his hips, he was enabled one day at the mill to astonish a crowd of village celebrities by lifting a box of stones weighing near a thousand pounds." (Interrupting Herndon's account again, on page 154 of Ward H. Lamon's "The Life of Lincoln", one reads "Lincoln has often been seen in the old mill on the river bank to lift a box of stones weighing from one thousand to twelve hundred pounds."

In 1998 the University of Illinois Press published "Herndon's Informants", edited by Douglas L. Wilson and Rodney O. Davis. On page 7 is a May 28, 1865 letter to William H. Herndon from his cousin, J. Rowan Herndon. An excerpt, as written, follows: "... he was By fare the stoutest man that i ever took hold of i was a mear Child in his hands and i considered my self as good a man as there was in the Cuntry untill he Come about i saw him lift Betwen 1000 and 1300 lbs of Rock waid in a Boxx ..."

Continuing Herndon's account: "There is no fiction either, as suggested by some of his biographers, in the story that he lifted a barrel of whisky from the ground and drank from the bung; but in performing this later almost incredible feat he did not stand erect and elevate the barrel, but squatted down and lifted it to his knees ..."

"When he walked he moved cautiously but firmly; his long arms and giant hands swung down by his side. He walked with even tread, the inner sides of his feet being parallel. He put his whole foot flat down on the ground at once, not landing on the heal; he likewise lifted his foot all at once, not rising from the toe, and hence he had no spring to his walk. His walk was undulatory - catching and pocketing tire, weariness, and pain, all up and down his person, and thus preventing them from locating. The first impression of a stranger, or a man who did not observe closely, was that his walk implied shrewdness and cunning - that he was a tricky man; but in reality it was the walk of caution and firmness."

"From Lincoln’s campaign biography we read the following: “In the autumn of 1816 when Abraham was eight years old, his father determined to quit Kentucky. Already the evil influences of slavery were beginning to be felt by the poor and the non-slave-holders. But the emigration of Thomas Lincoln is, we believe, to be chiefly attributed to the insecurity of the right by which he held his Kentucky land; for, in those days, land titles were rather more uncertain than other human affairs. Abandoning his old home, and striking through the forests in a northwesterly direction, he fixed his new dwelling-place in the heart of the "forest primeval" of what is now Spencer County, Indiana. The dumb solitude there had never echoed to the ax, and the whole land was a wilderness."

"The rude cabin of the settler was hastily erected, and then those struggles and hardships commenced which are the common trials of frontier life, and of which the story has been so often repeated. Abraham was a hardy boy, large for his years, and with his ax did manful service in clearing the land. Indeed, with that implement, he literally hewed out his path to manhood; for until he was twenty-three, the ax was seldom out of his hand, except in the intervals of labor, or when it was exchanged for the plow, the hoe, or the sickle."

"Returning to Herndon:  “Mr. George Close, the partner of Lincoln in the rail-splitting business, says that Lincoln was, at this time, a farm laborer, working from day to day, for different people, chopping wood, mauling rails, or doing whatever was to be done. The country was poor, and hard work was the common lot; the heaviest share falling to the young unmarried men, with whom it was a continual struggle to earn a livelihood. Lincoln and Mr. Close made about one thousand rails together, for James Hawks and William Miller, receiving their pay in homespun clothing. Lincoln's bargain with Miller's wife, was, that he should have one yard of brown jeans, (richly dyed with walnut bark) for every four hundred rails made, until he should have enough for a pair of trousers. As Lincoln was already of great altitude, the number of rails that went to the acquirement of his pantaloons was necessarily immense."

The primeval forest of America is no more, nor the men and boys who cleared it. Abraham Lincoln's father, Thomas, was a man of extraordinary strength. "... he could not find the point of separation between his ribs ..." describes a muscularity unknown in the world today. And, Abraham's strength was molded, no less than his father's by a labor of monumental proportion.

Mr. Offut boasted that there was no stronger man in the State of Illinois than his clerk, Abraham Lincoln. And, we read in Richard N. Current's "The Lincoln Nobody Knows" the following: "The strongest man I ever looked at" recalled an Illinoisan who had helped Lincoln with his bath when he was in Galesburg to debate with Stephen A. Douglas (1848)." My favorite description is that of Elliot Herndon, William H. Herndon's brother. He succinctly summed up young Lincoln: "I would say he was a cross between Venus and Hercules".

Continuing to quote Richard N. Currrent, we read, "A couple of years before starting the beard he had referred in public, in his self-deprecating way, to his 'poor lean, lank face.'" His nose was prominent and slightly askew, with the tip glowing red, as Herndon noticed. His heavy eyebrows overhung deep eye-caverns in which his eyes - sometimes dreamy, sometimes penetrating - were set. His cheekbones were high, his cheeks rather sunken, his mouth wide, his lips thick, especially the lower one, and his chin upturned. On the right cheek, near his mouth, a solitary mole stood out. His skin was sallow, leathery, wrinkled, dry, giving him a weather-beaten look. He had projecting - some said flapping - ears. His hair was thick and unruly, stray locks falling across his forehead."

"The foregoing list of traits hardly adds up to a flattering sum. The physical Lincoln, the external man, was made for caricature, was the delight of cartoonists. But there was more, far more, to Lincoln's appearance than all this. He cannot fairly be depicted by a mere catalogue of his peculiarities. To the people he met he made an impression which no such inventory can convey."

"At first glance, some thought him grotesque, even ugly, and almost all considered him homely. When preoccupied or in repose he certainly was far from handsome. At times he looked unutterably sad, as if every sorrow were his own, or he looked merely dull, with a vacant gaze. Still, as even the caustic Englishman Dicey observed, there was for all his grotesqueness, "an air of strength, physical as well as moral, and a strange look of dignity" about him. And when he spoke a miracle occurred. "The dull, listless features dropped like a mask." according to Horace White, an editor of the Chicago Tribune. "The eyes began to sparkle, the mouth to smile, the whole countenance was wreathed in animation, so that a stranger would have to said, "Why this face, so angular and somber a moment ago, is really handsome!" "He was the homeliest man I ever saw." said Donn Piatt, and yet there was something about the face that Piatt never forgot. "It brightened, like a lit lantern, when animated."

"Here was a Lincoln the camera never caught. When he went to the studio and sat before the lens he invariably relapsed into his sad, dull, abstracted mood. No wonder, he had to sit absolutely still, with his head against the photographer's rack, while the tedious seconds ticked by. It took time to get the image with the slow, wet-plate process of those days. There was no candid camera, no possibility of taking snapshots which might have recorded Lincoln at his sparkling best. "I have never seen a picture of him that does anything like justice to the original." said Henry Villard, the New York Herald reporter. "He is a much better looking man than any of the pictures represent."

"The portrait painters were hardly more successful. "Lincoln's features were the despair of every artist who undertook his portrait." his private secretary John G. Nicolay declared. A painter might measure the subject, scrutinize him in sitting after sitting, and eventually produce a likeness of a sort. But "this was not he who smiled, spoke, laughed, charmed." said Nicolay. The poet Walt Whitman commented after getting a close-up view: "None of the artists or pictures have caught the subtle and indirect expression of this man's face." And again, some years after Lincoln's death: "Though hundreds of portraits have been made, by painters and photographers (many to pass on, by copies, to future times), I have never seen one yet that in my opinion deserved to be called a perfectly good likeness: nor do I believe there is really such a one in existence."

"The word pictures do much to supply what the photographs and paintings missed, yet these descriptions also fail to show the man complete. All who tried to describe him admitted that the phenomenal mobility and expressiveness of his features, the reflections of his complex and wide-ranging personality, were beyond the power of words. "The tones, the gestures, the kindling eye, and mirth-provoking look defy the reporter's skill." the reporter Noah Brooks confessed after seeing Lincoln deliver the Cooper Union speech (1860)."

"Beyond a certain point Lincoln's appearance not only defied description; it also baffled interpretation. "There is something in the face which I cannot understand." said Congressman Henry L. Dawes of Massachusetts. And the leader of the German-Americans in Illinois, Gustave Koerner, remarked: "Something about the man, the face is unfathomable. In his looks there were hints of mysteries within."

Here is a rare description of Lincoln in the early 1840's, taken from the October 3, 1955 issue of "Lincoln Lore": "The summer edition of the Journal of the Illinois State Historical Society has contributed an extremely valuable world portrait of Abraham Lincoln preliminary to his congressional term. Harmon Y. Reynolds edited the "Masonic Towell" published in Springfield, Illinois and shortly after the assassination of the President prepared an editorial for the issue of May 15, 1865, which opened with the statement that he had known Lincoln "ever since 1840". The paragraph in which he described Lincoln in the early forties follows:"

"The people are accustomed to look upon Mr. Lincoln as he appeared when elected President. The pictures and photographs that meet the eye everywhere, even when flattering him, by no means do justice to his appearance in early manhood. The first time we saw him to know him, he rose to address the House. His figure was tall, and his face sufficiently full to relieve the prominences so noticeable in later life. Although dark, yet his face was fresh, almost to floridness, his eye was brilliant and speaking (sparkling), his hair was heavy and well-dressed, and greatly added to his appearance. No man in the house seemed to care so little for dress, and yet no one dressed in better taste. Humor, mercy, and talent were ineffaceably delineated upon his countenance."

Lincoln described how, in the early 1840's, he appeared to voters who knew him only by his appearance. In a letter to Martin M. Morris, dated March 26, 1843, he wrote, "It would astonish if not amuse, the older citizens to learn that I (a stranger, friendless, uneducated, penniless boy, working on a flatboat at ten dollars per month) have been put down here as the candidate of pride, wealth, and aristocratic family distinction."

There is no need to question the authenticity of these and other eye-witness accounts. Abraham Lincoln lifted 1000 pounds on a few occasions, public demonstrations of his strength.

Whether a dead lift of modern weights or an arrangement of straps which Lincoln used, we are at the extreme limit of human strength beyond which grave injury to the lifter could easily occur. Our skeletal structure is not made of steel, but bone, and at a certain level of compression the healthiest bone will crumble.

Unquestionably, Thomas Lincoln and his son reached the absolute limits of human strength. It is entirely possible that Abraham's possible attempt to lift over 1000 pounds failed. If, however, he succeeded in lifting 1100 pounds or more, he was one of the very few humans to have done so.

He was famous for his strength long before he was known in any other capacity. The strength of Thomas, his father, was, I believe, greater than that of his son, and interestingly, their skeletal structures were completely different. Father was solid rock, the son a tall, stout tree.

These were men of Herculean strength. We are in the presence of muscularity unknown in today's world.

Has the reader seen a television show, “The Strongest Man In The World”? There is a qualitative difference between the muscularity of these modern, magnificent models of our species, and that of Thomas Lincoln and his son, Abraham. Strength, in its purest form, was that of Thomas and his son. Each was not merely the equal of the strongest contestants on the television show. I think that they were stronger.

Interestingly, Abraham's weight, at this time in his life, was substantially greater than his later average of 180 pounds. At the zenith of his strength, probably early during his New Salem days, he was described by several eye-witnesses, as "fat, round, plump, and stout". Given his 6 feet 4 inches height, I suppose that his weight, at this time, was close to 300 pounds. (He was a guest of a small idealist community of English aristocrats whose culinary abilities were likely profound. Lincoln would have been a welcome breakfast, lunch, and dinner guest each and every day. Only thus can his weight be accounted for.) By the way, it is generally not realized that Ann Rutledge, Lincoln's deep love, whom he met in New Salem, is of the very same Rutledge family so prominent in American history).

It requires a bit of imagination to visualize the differences in the physiques of say, Thomas, vs. our strongest 21st Century men. If you would have accidentally bumped into Thomas or his son, you would think that you encountered a piece of wood. There was no “give” to their muscularity. Their muscles were very tightly compressed. While the men on the TV show are indeed strong, the very way their muscularity was created, and the way the muscularity of Thomas Lincoln was created, are not the same. I cannot think of any greater labor than the destruction of the American forest primeval, the work of men like Thomas and his son, Abraham. (Somebody said, forgive them for they know not what they do.)

I recall reading that President Lincoln picked up a heavy sword and displayed his ability to hold it aloft at a 90 degree angle, longer than could any younger man present, all soldiers. And, of course, he could. That sword, to him, was almost weightless. I also recall reading about a fire at the White House or in an adjacent building, a witness describing President Lincoln jumping over a hedge to the rescue. The degree of his athletic abilities could hardly be imagined.

Abraham Lincoln's great strength was measured on another scale. As I reflect on his certain Samsonic physique, perhaps the likes of which has not been seen before or since, I think that we of 2016 would be utterly speechless if we could see Abraham Lincoln at the zenith of his physical strength, likely in 1832/1833. Perhaps never have human eyes beheld such a physique.

The residents of New Salem were, I am sure, overwhelmed by the appearance of Abraham Lincoln. Neither they nor anybody else on this planet had ever seen such a man. Incredible as it seems to be, they were looking at one of the, if not the, strongest men ever to walk the face of this planet. And, handsome beyond belief. A living god had descended upon them. The people of New Salem must have felt the magnitude of the moment.

In appearance, Abraham Lincoln strikes me as a Sephardic Jew.** Thomas, on the other hand, was of an ancient stock of England. The very construction of Thomas Lincoln decided the matter. He was not merely extremely strong. He was one of the first settlers, literally chopping down ancient trees, and carrying them. The strength of these men was other-dimensional.

Thomas and his son, Abraham Lincoln, were likely, I do believe, the strongest men on this planet.

I think of him as a child of destiny. Imagine for a moment the nursery of a European prince born into a ruling family: splendidly arranged rooms of a great palace. Lincoln's nursery was the North American forest primeval, a setting of such splendor all the palaces of the world combined would, by comparison, pale and fade away.

In his November 22, 1888 letter to Jesse Weik, William Henry Herndon, his law partner, wrote of Lincoln,

"He was the King ruler of men by divine right."

I will now close this review by briefly mentioning the daguerreotype image of the young man. Forensic science confirms its bonefides. The young man is Lincoln. In fact, there is no possibility he is not Lincoln. Because as a child Lincoln suffered a traumatic blow to the head with consequential facial deformities, we are offered unique points of identification which, if present in the Kaplan daguerreotype, would be ponderous evidence. And, it is all there, clearly, plainly. These unique, trauma-induced peculiarities of Lincoln's face (masterfully analyzed by Dr. Edward J. Kempf., "Abraham Lincoln's Organic and Emotional Neurosis", American Medical Association Archives of Neurology and Psychiatry, April 1952, Volume 67, Number 4, pp. 419-433; and "Abraham Lincoln's Philosophy of Common Sense", New York Academy of Sciences, 1965, Volume I, Chapter I, pp. 1-18.) are seen, unmistakably, in the daguerreotype.

*The Father of Abraham Lincoln, Thomas Lincoln, is overlooked. At the age of 21 Abraham left his father’s house forever. His abhorrence of his father was stamped and sealed when Thomas killed Abraham’s pet pig, and ate it. The child was traumatized. Abraham deeply loved his pet pig.

It has been declared by one of his contemporaries that Thomas was incapable of having children as a result of having had measles. Another contemporary believed that Thomas was, for some unspoken condition, unable to procreate. That and all related is pure nonsense. The origin of such tales is that men of the strength of Thomas Lincoln are, by the dictate of nature, celibate. Thomas Lincoln, and his son, Abraham, and other men of that highest possible degree of human strength, are celibate. Without celibacy they would be unable to do the work they did. It would have been, literally, impossible.

It is physically impossible to be as strong as the Lincolns without celibacy.

In the far reaches of England, the ancestors of Thomas were surely connected with Lincolnshire and the general area, the grounds of an ancient race of which, in truth, we know very little. However, surely, they were a physically stout race likely, I think, without much if any Roman blood.

He was a cabinet-maker. I remember seeing a photograph of a chest o drawers attributed to him. As I recall, it was beautiful.

Abraham spoke of a” doctrine of necessity”, or words very close, and surely this understanding was at least partly based on his daily life, working with his father from the age of 10 to 21. We of the 21st Century cannot imagine the work they did from dawn to dusk; a man and his son engaged in physical work of such intensity, physical pain was close to being constant. They lived with pain. Literally.

Who was Thomas? What was his thinking, his views, his beliefs?

Thomas Lincoln is lost to us, lost to history.

I am reminded of the Father of George Washington who was, I say, a greater man than his son. The father of George Washington was an extraordinary personality, one of the if not “the” leading intellectual on these shores. With such a father, the son is George Washington.

I think that Abraham’s essential relationship with his father had that watershed moment after which it was never the same. It ended then and there, with the slaughter of Abraham’s pet pig. The deepest emotions of affection or honor of a son for his father was slaughtered together with the little animal.

The Father of Abraham Lincoln had to have been remarkable. You do not have a son, “Abraham Lincoln”, lest it is the will of God. And Thomas lost his son, Abraham, when he killed the pig. He killed his son’s love.

** General U.S. Grant’s infamous General Order 11 was revoked before a delegation of concerned citizens arrived in Washington to see President Lincoln concerning it. The delegates were Rabbi Isaac Meyer Wise, Rabbi Max Lilienthal and Edgar M. Johnson of Cincinnati, Martin Bijur of Louisville, and Abraham Goldsmith of Paducah. The meeting was held at the White House on January 7, 1863. To my knowledge the only delegate to write about the meeting was Rabbi Wise. From his published Lincoln eulogy we read the following: “Brethren, the lamented Abraham Lincoln believed himself to be bone of the our bone and flesh from our flesh. He supposed himself to be a descendant of Hebrew parentage. He said so in my presence. And, indeed, he preserved numerous features of the Hebrew race, both in countenance and character.” As the lineage of Thomas Lincoln, Abraham’s Father, is well known, it is only to Lincoln’s Mother to whom we can look for the supposed Jewish bloodline. It seems extraordinary that so little is known of the background of Nancy Hanks, the Mother of Abraham Lincoln. The sum of what is known is this: She had three Lincoln children, Sarah, Abraham, and Thomas. She was described as tall, slim, and dark haired. She was literate. She read the Bible to Abraham. She was fearless and adventurous, so much so it was said that her son, Abraham, was born “further West than any white child before him.” She may have been born in Virginia around 1784. Upon reflection, the Caribbean would be more likely. She was married on June 12 1806, and died in 1818 when Abraham was 9 years old. It seems likely to me that Nancy Hanks was of the tiny Sephardic community of America. “Nancy Hanks” would have been an adopted name, and the illiterate Hanks clan her adopted family. William Herndon, Lincoln’s law partner, reported that Lincoln told him, “All I am or ever hope to be I owe to my angel Mother.”

Post-Script November 29, 2018

Many years ago, I saw, in a book about Lincoln, a drawing of Lincoln, apparently made from life by a highly talented artist. In the drawing, Lincoln was wearing a shawl as protection from, apparently, inclement weather. To me he appears to be a Sephardic Jew at prayer. If any reader knows this drawing, do please get in touch with me. I wish to see it again, and to learn of the artist.

Above my desk, on the wall, is a framed photographic print of the Kaplan Collection's daguerreotype of Abraham Lincoln, an idealized photographic image of a Sephardic Jew. The distinguished young man of the image is a character study of a Sephardic Jew. If this man is not a Sephardic Jew, I ask the reader to come up with a better example thereof. Lincoln himself pointed out to Rabbi Wise, at their White House meeting, that his appearance was that of a Jew.

By Jewish law, the child of a Jewish woman is a Jew. The father does not enter into the equation.

The child is Jewish if the mother is Jewish. Abraham Lincoln was a Jew. He suspected it. Or knew it. His memory of his Mother (she died when Abraham was 9 years old) was shallow. She was, unquestionably, of Sephardic Jewry, this now almost completely extinct aristocracy of an ancient race. The few Jews in America in the 18th Century were, essentially, the descendants of refugees from the Spanish expulsion who had settled in the Caribbean. Nancy's adventurousness begins to acquire “meat on the bone” if the Caribbean was her home. She would have been, literally, a child of paradise: highly educated, free-spirited, strong, healthy, a beautiful young woman full of vim and vigor, a force of nature. Interestingly, Herndon reported that Lincoln mentioned to him that his Mother “was an intellectual."

The adventurousness of Nancy Hanks had to have been over the top, like the scale of her fearlessness. This woman had no fear. She did her own thinking, and made her own decisions. Could the Mother of Abraham Lincoln have been otherwise?

Lincoln mentioned to Herndon that his mother was the illegitimate child of a Virginia aristocrat. On what basis did Lincoln make that statement? Would this be a subject a mother would impart to her 9-year-old son? I think not. If not from his Mother, from whom did Lincoln learn of this? Perhaps from his father, Thomas. If so, it might be correct, and might not be correct. It would be “second hand” information at best.

The relationship between Thomas Lincoln and Nancy Hanks had to have been extraordinary. It was a joining of two planets, two worlds put together on the American frontier, a marriage of convenience if not necessity. Nancy selected Thomas. She had never seen a man of such strength. The physical presence of Thomas Lincoln- quiet, modest, and inoffensive- together with his other-worldly strength and brilliant practical abilities, sealed the matter for Nancy Hanks.

We can only imagine the magnitude of this woman, the Mother of Abraham Lincoln.

Jerome Corsi, whose understanding of Lincoln and the Civil War period is profound, showed me a photograph of a son of Enloe. The physique of this man was exactly that of Abraham Lincoln. Exactly. He shouts out, from the photograph, to be a brother of Abraham Lincoln.

Who was Enloe? I understand that he had many children, and that Nancy Hanks was a houseguest of the Enloe family. He was, I am thinking, tall, and perhaps a descendant of Northern Europeans. I have no more knowledge whatsoever of Mr. Enloe. I suspect that he was, somehow, exotic. This man was, I believe, the biological father of Abraham Lincoln.

Years ago, I read that Enloe and Thomas Lincoln had a physical encounter, what might be called a “fight”. Nonsense, pure invention. No human being would or could have a “fight” with Thomas Lincoln who could snap a man in two with the same ease as the reader can snap a matchstick. Perhaps the very last human being on planet earth one would have a “fight” with was Thomas Lincoln. His mere physical presence was overpowering. There would be no such thing as having a “fight” with Thomas Lincoln.

If any reader has any Enloe information, do please let me hear from you.