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02.25.03 Goodnight, Jerry A. and Eller, Richard, The Tarheel Lincoln: North Carolina Origins of “Honest” Abe, published in 2003.

Notes Concerning the Authors

Jerry A. Goodnight was born in Hickory, North Carolina, graduated Magna Cum Laude from Appalachian State University and worked for 30 years as an artist and teacher in Catawba County and Burke County public schools.  Upon retirement he devoted time to the study of history and research on the true biological father of the future President.

Richard Eller, at the time of publication, was a professor of history at Catawba Valley Community College in Hickory, North Carolina.  He also worked considerably in western North Carolina radio and television.

Our Review

When the Illinois Republican Party came into existence in the mid 1850’s, Abraham Lincoln became its most prominent leader.  He needed to go public on his age, so, in February 1857, wife Mary threw a large birthday party for her husband (most likely of approximately 52 years of age) to announce that her husband was now “48 years old.”  Abe had begun the documentation of his birthday one or two years after his late mother’s husband, Tom Lincoln, died on January 17, 1851.  He did this by purchasing a bible and visiting his step-mother Sarah Bush Johnston Lincoln for a birth, marriage and death recording session.  This is the fundamental record of Abe’s birth date, contrived to be after the marriage of his mother, Nancy Hanks, to Thomas Lincoln.

But there is ample evidence that mother Nancy Hanks became pregnant by Abraham Enloe in North Carolina approximately two or three years prior to her marriage to Thomas Lincoln in Kentucky.  Being politically ambitious, the future President needed to fabricate a parentage that circumvented his bastardy.

The historical work by Goodnight and Eller pulls together all of the relevant studies up to 2003 and present the history and the evidence supporting it in a convenient 192 page book.  They state, “The story of Abraham Lincoln’s birth in North Carolina was common knowledge among area residents in the 19th century.  The tale would become part of the folklore fabric of America and it would not go away.”  And it should not go away, for it is likely true.  This book is definitely the place to start in a study of Lincoln parentage.  The comprehensive bibliography and index will lead the student to the large array of other resources that substantiate the history.

Why have mainstream historians refused to consider the possibility of bastardy?  From the instant that John Wilkes Booth shot Lincoln, all respectable historians, from that day forward, have been compelled to support his martyrdom.

For more information, you are encouraged to visit the Lincoln Center at Bostic, North Carolina, located a few short miles from the hill-top where foundation stones remain of the Enloe home were Abe was probably born.  Visit the website:  Contact by email:  

Availability of this book.

The book is available at the Lincoln Center in Bostic and on-line at Amazon.  To view on, click on the link below: