A "Favorite" Lies Here

A "Favorite" Lies Here (HMRMG)

Location: Decatur, IL 62526 Macon County
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Country: United States of America
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N 39° 53.027', W 88° 59.84'

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John Hanks was born in 1802 in Kentucky, he was a second cousin of Abraham Lincoln through Lincoln's mother, Nancy Hanks Lincoln. John Hanks stated that he first knew Lincoln when he was a boy of twelve in Spencer County, Indiana. However, it was not long until John Hanks became a favorite relation of Lincoln's. Hanks left Indiana in 1826 and moved to Macon County in 1828. It was through Hank's letters to Thomas Lincoln that Thomas finally "pulled up stakes" and moved to Macon County. Hanks then helped build the Lincoln's first cabin in Illinois. He would remain involved in Abraham Lincoln's personal and professional life. Lincoln would sometimes stay at the Hanks family home whenever he was in town for court. Hanks family tradition holds that he was the only person on Lincoln's family side to be invited to Lincoln's marriage to Mary Todd. Hanks influence is also seen in episodes associated with Lincoln's political rise, including Lincoln's first political speech and the "Railsplitter Candidate" campaign of 1860. Hanks died in 1889 at the age of 87. He is buried here at the Boiling Springs Cemetery.

William Herndon Lincoln's last law partner and biographer, described John Hanks saying "Lincoln loved this man, thought him beautiful, honest, and noble. Lincoln stated this to me over and over again." Hanks would repay Lincoln's trust in him by accompanying him on visits to his beloved stepmother Sarah, near Charleston, Illinois. At that time Sarah cried, afraid she would never see Abraham alive again, a prophecy that John Hanks was to sadly confirm when he went to Springfield to attend Lincoln's funeral.

Unlike his cousin, John Hanks was unable to master the art of reading and writing. This handicap caused Hanks later concern with Lincoln. During the 1860 presidential election, Democrats claimed that Hanks was not going to vote for Lincoln. Richard Oglesby then helped Hanks write a letter stating the rumor was untrue and that he supported Lincoln, "a man so honest under all circumstances for his whole life." Once Lincoln was elected President, he was besieged by people seeking political jobs. Hanks was among these, asking Lincoln for a job as an Indian Agent. Lincoln had wanted to give him the position but had to deny it after Hanks could not fill out the paperwork. Eventually Hanks enlisted in the 21st Illinois Infantry and was made a Wagoner, a position that did not require him to be literate.

Series This marker is part of the Illinois: Looking for Lincoln series
Year Placed2009
Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Sunday, August 31st, 2014 at 11:12pm PDT -07:00
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Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)16S E 329213 N 4416767
Decimal Degrees39.88378333, -88.99733333
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 39° 53.027', W 88° 59.84'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds39° 53' 1.62" N, 88° 59' 50.40" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Area Code(s)217
Closest Postal AddressAt or near 3401-3439 Boiling Springs Rd, Decatur IL 62526, US
Alternative Maps Google Maps, MapQuest, Bing Maps, Yahoo Maps, MSR Maps, OpenCycleMap, MyTopo Maps, OpenStreetMap

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