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The Rutherford County Lincoln Birthplace marker

Abraham Lincoln, A North Carolinian

There is substantial evidence that Abraham Lincoln, the 16th president of the United States, was born not in Kentucky, but on Puzzle Creek near Bostic, North Carolina, in Rutherford County.

Abraham Lincoln's mother, Nancy Hanks was “bound out” into the care of the Abraham Enlow family, who lived in Rutherford County before moving to Oconaluftee near Cherokee, North Carolina.  She was a member of the Concord Baptist Church near Bostic prior to and after the birth of the baby, that she named Abraham.  She left the area with “Little Abe” and married Tom Lincoln in Kentucky where Jesse Head, the minister who performed the ceremony, wrote of the young boy’s presence. 

The following historians and biographers are some who have long documented that Abraham Lincoln was born in North Carolina as recorded in these and other publications

  •  The Genesis of Lincoln by James H. Cathey (1899)

  •  Abraham Lincoln, A North Carolinian with Proof by James Caswell Coggins (1926)

  •  The Eugenics of President Lincoln by James Caswell Coggins (1940)

  •  The Tarheel Lincoln by Jerry Goodnight and Richard Eller (2003)

  •  Searching for Lincoln by Jerry Goodnight (2008)

Existence of these North Carolina roots are continually being found from other unrelated sources as well. In Jean Tisdale’s book, Dear Companion, her compilation of her ancestor’s Civil War letters, wife Mary writes to her husband, Ancil Dycus, a Confederate soldier in the siege of Richmond, about the story of “…Lincoln’s birth in Rutherford County….and that Nancy Hanks left in a wagon train headed West,…holding Abraham in her lap”.

Another such source The Child That Toileth Not; The Story of A Government Investigation That Was Suppressed by Thomas Robinson Dawley, Jr. was copyrighted in 1912.  This source was written by a special agent of the Bureau of Labor, Department of Commerce, was instigated by his research into mill labor and life in the South.  During his study, Dawley uncovered the story of Nancy Hanks’ predicament and eventual move to Kentucky following her life with the Enloe family.

The mission of the Bostic Lincoln Center, a non-profit organization, is to collect, document, research and preserve the generational-lore of the area by providing audio/visual histories, exhibits and programs telling this story and other stories of our region. 

The Center will conduct tours of cultural and historical sites and promote the distribution of educational materials telling the story of our County.  

At left is the marker at the intersection of the Bostic–Sunshine Highway and Walker Mill Road, one mile from the traditional birthplace.  Tours are available by contacting The Bostic Lincoln Center at, or by mail at P. O. Box 153, Bostic, N. C. 28018.




The Bostic Lincoln Center is included in the latest tourism video

View the Rutherford Tourism Endless Summer Fun Video