Emily Hanks Loomis (1840-1911)
"Her family once possessed a portrait of Lincoln, but it was lost in a fire years ago. She still has a picture frame made from a rail which Lincoln split. She prizes this very highly, as well as the fun of personal knowledge of the man whom all the world is ready to honor in the highest degree." - “Second Cousin of Lincoln: Mrs. E.I. Loomis Recollections.” The Daily Pantagraph, February 6, 1909
- Daughter of John Hanks, Lincoln's cousin
- Related to Lincoln through his biological mother, Nancy Hanks.
- The Hanks' convinced Thomas Lincoln to move to Illinois in 1830 and they settled close to Decatur, in Macon County.
- John Hanks convinced Abraham Lincoln to travel on a flatboat to New Orleans in 1831.
- When Lincoln was a lawyer on the Eighth Judicial Circuit, he would often visit or stay with the Hanks’ while he was in Decatur when court was in session.
- John Hanks was responsible for providing a rail that led to Lincoln being popularized as the "Rail Candidate"
- Emily Hanks Loomis enjoyed recounting stories about Lincoln growing up. She interviewed with The Pantagraph in 1909.
Lincoln as Railsplitter
John Hanks, Lincoln's cousin
"Should he be elected President and find any trouble in steering his new boat he has only to remember how we used to get out of hard places of rowing straight ahead...The tallest oaks in the forest have fallen by his giant arms; he still wields a tremendous maul." - A dictated letter of support for Abraham Lincoln's Presidency by John Hanks, reprinted in Herndon's Informants
Loomis' 1909 Recollections
- She remembered that when he was a young man, “he was not one of the five best dressed in the country. One article of his clothing consisted of suspenders made from bed ticking and fastened to his trousers with wooden pegs.”
- Especially prized to Lincoln were pants called jeans made of a material called linsey-woolsey (flax linen and wool). He would split 400 wooden rails for each yard of this homespun material. It would take 3 yards of linsey-woolsey to make one pair of pants for him. The Hanks’ often called him “Long Legged Abe” because of this.
- Another story Emily’s father was fond of telling was about the fact that he was the only family member invited to Lincoln’s wedding, (which is thought to be genuinely true). In October of 1842 Hanks received a letter from Lincoln inviting him to his wedding on November fourth of that same year. In the letter Lincoln said that he was to be married to “Miss [Mary] Todd and I hope you will come over. Be sure to be on deck by early candle light. Yours, A. Lincoln.”
- When Lincoln announced his candidacy for President in the election of 1860, Emily’s father left the Democratic Party to vote for Lincoln as a Republican.