Family lore notes Mary Brooks as being the Granny Woman (aka, the midwife) present at the birth of Abraham Lincoln, who was born on the Sinking Spring Farm just south of Hodgenville, however, History has given that honor to her daughter, Margaret “Peggy” Walters.
The position taken by the National Park Service at the Abraham Lincoln National Historical Park does not include Mary Brooks (Enlows), the “Granny Woman,” as present at Lincoln’s birth. The Park Service interpretation of the depositions, given about 1906 by persons who recalled what they had been told by their ancestors, selected Mary’s daughter, Margaret, for that honor.
In our own La Rue and Enlow family, we have been told that the old “aunts” spoke of Mary Brooks as having been present when Lincoln was born. So, there is a difference of opinion between History and family Oral History. The truth may lie somewhere in the details of the day in question.
From Mary Brooks, author James D. La Rue Jr. writes, “I firmly believe that she was there in that cabin at some time on that 12th day of February 1809.”
An excerpt from the affidavit of Robert Enlow, subscribed and sworn to before Charles Williams, a Notary Public, follows:
“My Grand Mother Kirkpatrick stated in my presence that at the time of Abraham Lincoln’s birth, she was living on the South Fork of Nolynn about two miles West of Hodgenville, that she knew of her own personal knowledge that he was born on the farm ever since known as the Lincoln Farm, and now owned by the Lincoln Memorial Association. She further stated that the affiant’s great-grand mother, and the mother of Abraham Enlow, was sent for and taken to the Lincoln home on this event and attended on Mr. Lincoln’s mother, she being a practicing physician at the time.”
Nancy Hanks, however, was not Mary Brooks’ only patient on that cold day in February, though. Her own daughter-in-law, Mary MacDougal (wife of Squire La Rue), had delivered a son, James Doane, the day prior.
Read more in Mary Brooks: Portrait of a Kentucky Pioneer, Granny Woman, Family Matriarch.