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by Tumbleweed Smith

Bob Pearman of Alto got a special present from his oldest daughter, Ellen, this past Christmas. It was his family tree. She did a lot of research on both his mother’s and father’s sides of the family. Bob found out he had a famous relative.

“On my dad’s side, my fourth great-grandfather turned out that he was a first cousin to Abraham Lincoln. I thought that was kind of cool. That’s definitely a present I will always cherish.”

Here’s the way it shapes up: His 4th great grandfather, William Pearman, was married to Mary Elizabeth Hanks, whose sister Nancy Hanks married Thomas Lincoln. Abraham was born on February 12, 1809 to Nancy and Thomas Lincoln. William and Mary had a son named Weldon Pearman. That would make Weldon and Abe first cousins.

Christmas morning, with the family gathered around the Christmas tree, Ellen asked that her father open his present last.

“When it came my turn, I opened the book containing the family tree. My daughter told me to start from the front and go through it to the end. I got to my grandfather and my great- grandfather and she took it from there. She told me the Pearmans were originally from England and settled in Virginia and South Carolina. On the very back sheet she revealed the kinship to the former president.”

The family tree was presented in a beautifully bound 60-page book with gold lettering on the front of it. Bob keeps it handy in the office of his car dealership in Alto. The book has several photos, newspaper articles and family documents, including his dad’s high school diploma and his grandfather’s World War One draft registration card. One article from the Alto Herald reports on the opening of his grandfather’s service station. The book contains census records showing when and where various family members were born.

Bob’s brother JD was surprised to learn he was kin to Abraham Lincoln.

“I was pretty shocked, you know, being a southern boy. You never really know about family members from a long time ago. I thought more than likely we’d be kin to John Wilkes Booth. But as it turns out, our four-back great-grandfather being first cousin to Abraham Lincoln is pretty interesting. It’s not something that turns up all the time.

Bob’s father had a friend who called him George.

“I asked Daddy one time, ‘what does your friend mean when he calls you George? He said o, that comes from George Washington Never Tell A Lie Pearman.’ Maybe that falls in there somewhere, too. We might be kin to Washington as well.”

Abraham Lincoln would have been two hundred years old this year.

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