Our history books tell us that North Carolina has produced two and possibly three United States Presidents. On Sunday, August 15th, at 3 pm authors Jerry A. Goodnight and Richard Eller will visit the Iredell County Public to lecture and sign copies of their new book that may force those books to be rewritten.
What we have been told up till now is this. James Knox Polk (1795-1849) was the eleventh President of the United States (1845-1849) and was born in near Pineville, N.C.
Andrew Johnson (1808-1875) was the seventeenth President of the United States (1865-1869) and was born in Raleigh, N.C. He served as the Vice President to Abraham Lincoln during the Civil War and succeeded him after his assassination.
The third possible U.S. President to come from North Carolina would be Andrew Jackson (1767-1856) who was the seventh President of the United States (1829-1837).
Jackson is believed to have been born near the North Carolina and South Carolina border at either McKamie Farmhouse in Waxhaw, Union County, North Carolina or at the home of his uncle James Crawford in the Waxhaws area of South Carolina.
A new book called “The Tarheel Lincoln: North Carolina Origins of “Honest Abe” makes the argument that another United States President was born in North Carolina.
This book asserts that Abraham Lincoln was born not in Hardin County, Kentucky as history claims, but rather in North Carolina to Nancy Hanks and a prosperous mountaineer with the last name of Enloe.
The authors argue that Lincoln also had a half brother named Wesley Enloe who like Lincoln was exceptionally tall and lanky with similar facial features as shown in one of his photos. The resemblance is clear when photos of the two men are compared.
The legend that Lincoln was a North Carolinian has been around in the Appalachian hills of North Carolina since the Civil War ended in 1865. Other historians and genealogists have worked to trace the true story of Lincoln’s birth.
Historians have long noted the lack of father and son feelings and relations that existed between Lincoln and Tom Lincoln the man history says was his father. Tomas Lincoln was a man with little physical, emotional, or intellectual similarity to Abraham Lincoln.
Now authors Goodnight and Eller have written a book that has turned what was strictly a matter for history buffs into a mainstream discussion. Already the author’s are busy writing a follow up edition based on new evidence they have gathered from people since the books publication.
After the book’s publication author Richard Eller explained that people from all over began contacting them with new evidence, details, and parts to the story that they had not known before.
One interesting piece of evidence that could settle the argument is still to come as the Enloe descendants have agreed to allow their DNA to be tested against the Lincoln families DNA. This would prove if there is a biological match between the Lincoln and the Enloe family.
If it could be proven then North Carolina would have the distinction of having given birth to both the President and the Vice President who served during the Civil War.
The program Sunday is free and will be held in the library’s auditorium where the authors will autograph copies of their book following their presentation. The event is being sponsored by the Friends of the Iredell County Public Library and the library’s Local History Department.
On Sunday August 22 the library will feature author Matthew C. Bumgarner who will talk on his book titled “The June Bug Line” telling the story of the railroad line from Statesville to Taylorsville.
Joel Reese, Local History Librarian
Iredell County Public Library
This article appeared in the Statesville Record and Landmark as “Book explores Lincoln’s possible connection to N.C.” on Aug. 11, 2004