Was President Lincoln a Primitive Baptist

Discussion in 'History Forum' started by Salty, Feb 17, 2007.

  1. Salty

    Salty
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    NANCY HANKS LINCOLN, birth mother of Abraham Lincoln, was born on February 5, 1784, in Hampshire County, (West) Virginia. The birth occurred in a cabin along Mike's Run at the foot of New Creek Mountain in what is now Mineral County, West Virginia. Nancy's mother was Lucy Hanks, but nothing is really known for certain about Nancy's father. According to Abraham Lincoln's law partner, William Herndon, Abraham once said that his maternal grandfather was "a well-bred Virginia farmer or planter." During the same conversation, Abraham said of his mother, "God bless my mother; all that I am or ever hope to be I owe to her."
    During the time Nancy was working as a seamstress she met Thomas Lincoln, a carpenter from Elizabethtown. A romance developed, and the two decided to be married.
    On June 12, 1806, Nancy Hanks and Thomas Lincoln were married; presiding over the ceremony was the Reverend Jesse Head. The Lincolns joined the Little Mount Separate Baptist Church. (click on) http://www.nps.gov/archive/libo/thomas_lincoln3.htm
    Later the Lincolns moved to the Sinking Spring Farm on Nolin Creek about 3 miles from Hodgenville. There, on the stormy morning of Sunday, February 12, 1809, Nancy gave birth to a boy. He was born on a bed of poles covered with corn husks. Peggy Walters, a neighbor who was only 20 years old, assisted with the birth and said "Nancy had about as hard a time as most women, I reckon, easier than some and maybe harder than a few. It came along kind of slow, but everything was regular and all right. The baby was born just about sunup on Sunday morning." The boy was named Abraham after his paternal grandfather who had been killed by a Native American in 1786.
    Nancy was a good and loving mother to her children. She was very ambitious for them and hoped they could have the opportunities in life that she and Thomas had missed. She read to Sarah and Abraham from the Lincoln family Bible.
    In 1818 an attack of milk sickness struck the Little Pigeon Creek community. Nancy took ill also. For a week she struggled, but she knew she was failing. Dennis Hanks, Nancy's cousin, recalled that she called the children to her bedside and asked them to be good and kind to their father, to each other, and to the world. On October 5, 1818, Nancy Hanks Lincoln passed away at the age of 34. Thomas Lincoln ... buried Nancy without a formal funeral service. Several months later, the Reverend David Elkin preached a funeral sermon above Nancy's grave. The grave of Nancy Hanks Lincoln is located within the Lincoln Boyhood National Memorial in Lincoln City, Indiana. If you are interested in Hanks' genealogy, please Click Here.

    ...a page which includes transcriptions of the minutes of this church.
    Broad Run Baptist Church Minutes, 1762-1872

    Salty


    PS It is possible that actor Tom Hanks is related to President Lincoln thru Nancy Hanks




     
  2. rsr

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    To answer briefly: No.

    Lincoln's family was indeed Primitive, but Lincoln wasn't. The evidence is that Lincoln rejected his father's faith just as he rejected many of the conventions of the society he grew up in. Historian Lee Miller noted that Lincoln didn't hunt, fish, "swear, smoke, chew, drink, hate blacks and Indians, pick fights, or join the Democratic Party" and he refused to take up his father's farming and carpentry and was obsessed with getting an education in a society that put little store in learning.

    However ... Lincoln's writings during the Civil War (especially the latter stages) show a deep belief in predestinarianism and providence that some believe echoes the faith of his father and was deepened by the bitter war years. (Lincoln's father's church also condemned slavery, one other thing Lincoln shared with his father.)
     
  3. amity

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    I don't think his family was Primitive either... I imagine I would have heard by now. They were some sort of predestinarian baptist, though, apparently.

    But truly whatever his family was or might have been, it never took. Abraham Lincoln was a Deist.
     
    #3 amity, Feb 17, 2007
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 18, 2007
  4. Jeff Weaver

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    I would add that there are numerous competing genealogical charts for the Hanks family, and several Virginia communities claim Nancy Hanks as a daughter.

    I would concur that President Lincoln was not a Primitive Baptist, but apparently as influenced by them/us in some of his thinking.
     
  5. rsr

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    Thomas was, technically, a Separate Baptist; to outsiders, the various branches of Old School Baptists (no matter that they think their own differences are substantial) tend to fall under the rubric of "Primitive."

    There is a bit of backdating in considering Little Mount or Pigeon Creek as "Primitive" churches, but it seems justified. While Lincoln reached adulthood before the Black Rock Address, the tensions created by the new missionism had been felt for many years: the Triennial Convention was formed in 1814 (expressly to support missions) and Daniel Parker had already been lambasting the new missionism in Illinois by 1820.

    Well, maybe. Lincoln's predestinarianism may have been of the "doctrine of necessity" variety: We are all cogs in a vast machine and will move according to the motions of the machine. This does seem to be his view, at least early; but his later appeals to "Providence" and "God" seem to indicate that he thought there was an intelligent plan to fate, and if that were the case, he would not be a deist, but a theist of some inchoate variety.
     

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