Lincoln Origins Forum
April 14, 2007

“The Lincoln Origins Forum was a success on many levels…”

   - Pam Bunch, The Daily Courier staff writer


“In the work that I do, I travel all over the State and I see a lot of historical initiatives. This effort was, by far, the most professional and well-planned forum that I have ever seen. The hard work that went into making this event a success showed in every detail.”

   - Robin Lattimore, author and Forum facilitator


These quotes are among the many positive comments made by those attending the Lincoln Origins Forum hosted by the Bostic Lincoln Center, Inc., which was held on April 14, 2007, the 228th birthday of Rutherford County.

Approximately 100 people attended the forum held at Cool Springs School Administrative Offices.  The program and facilities were excellent, even in light of the absence of one of the speakers.  BLC wishes to thank Rob Neufeld who was unable to appear due to a family emergency, but who had written an article about Lincoln's possible Carolina origins and our Forum for The Asheville Citizen-Times.  Many attended after learning of the Forum from the article.

Attendees came from as far away as Highlands and Pinehurst.  Ernest Lincoln, the last living direct descendant of Thomas Lincoln, came from Virginia.  Forum Speaker Dr. Aaron Hyatt traveled from Sarasota, Florida.

Dr. Hyatt said, “I have not found proof that Lincoln was born here, and I know of no method of proof that he was, except through DNA.  I have long been interested in the story that Abe was born here at the old home place of Abraham Enloe.”

Dr. Hyatt located the direct descendants of three of the potential fathers who are willing to contribute DNA for testing.  Besides Ernest Lincoln, who attended in person, there was Frank Enloe, a direct descendant of Abraham Enloe.  Frank Enloe recently died, but left DNA to be tested.  Andrew Calhoun of Savannah, Georgia, is a descendant of John C. Calhoun.  Andrew Calhoun could not attend the Forum due to health issues, but intends to visit Rutherford County at a later date.

“Hopefully, one of these will be successful,” said Dr. Hyatt. “But, if not, it will be the responsibility of others to resolve the question through a continuing search.  I believe the question regarding Lincoln’s paternal lineage will continue until the truth is known.”

Also introduced as a potential father was Richard Martin.  Martin family tradition says that Richard courted Nancy and went to dances with her.  The Martins have a similar physical appearance to Abraham Lincoln.  Lydia Clontz, Vice-President of BLC, introduced this possibility by videotaping individuals who hold this belief in Rutherford County.

Jerry Goodnight, Forum speaker and co-author of The Tarheel Lincoln (Tarheel Press, 2003) contributed immensely to the panel discussion.  Goodnight is working on a second book which discusses some of the regional legends about Lincoln’s parentage, and the communities where he was purportedly born.

Congressman Heath Shuler (D-NC) spoke briefly at the Forum saying “I encourage you to continue working to come to a resolution; I certainly hope that my colleague, Mr. McHenry, and I will be able to work in a non-partisan way to see if there’s a way that we can help, Congressionally.” Before leaving for a full day of events, Rep. Shuler and Nancy Ferguson, Rutherford County Historian, lead the group in singing “Happy Birthday” for the 228th birthday of Rutherford County.

Other distinguished attendees were Rep. Bobby England (D-Rutherford); NC State Sen. Harris Blake (R-Harnett, Moore); Chivous Bradley, Rutherford County Board of Commissioners Chairman; Jimmy Gibson, Mayor of Forest City; and Tom Melton, Rutherford County Official Lincoln Story Keeper.

Everyone attending were treated with a box lunch before the afternoon tour to “Lincoln Hill,” near Bostic.  The weather cooperated and approximately 50 people enjoyed the tour with a stop at Washburn Store.  Toney Tours of Bostic provided the transportation on one of their deluxe buses.

The Bostic Lincoln Center Board wishes to express appreciation to all the volunteers, speakers and participants who made the Lincoln Origins Forum a memorable event.

A video of the forum will be made available by request at a future date.  For further information, contact BLC by email at