A Fannin County connection to young Abe Lincoln
By Malinda Allison, Fannin County Historical Commission
Nov 3, 2022
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Fannin County, Texas -- In 1888 a number of newspapers carried a story about Fannin County resident Mrs. William Drennan and her friendship with young Abe Lincoln when they both lived in Illinois. 

Although the various newspaper articles give slightly different accounts, the basic story is that she and Abe Lincoln were friends, and that in 1832 “Mr. Lincoln asked me to marry him, but as I had already formed an attachment with and had promised to marry Mr. Drennan, of course I refused him.” 

It is not clear how this story first came to be published, but in July 1888 a correspondent of the St. Louis Globe Democrat traveled to the Drennan farm, south of Honey Grove, to “see and talk to a lady who had been offered, and declined, an alliance with the martyr President.”  The correspondence tells of the difficulties of driving his livery team through the wet blackland roads.  He reported that the farm was 600 acres planted with cotton, wheat and corn, and that the Drennan’s lived in a “substantial double frame house.”  Mr. Drennan greeted the correspondence and called to the “Old woman,” who was a “tall, well-preserved lady of dignified and prepossessing appearance.” 

Mrs. Drennan related that she had met young Mr. Lincoln at a social gathering and the acquaintance continued until 1832.  “She gave us many reminiscences of the early life of the rail-splitter president . . . showing the straightforward, homely character of Mr. Lincoln.” 

You can read the entire newspaper article at https://www.fannincountyhistory.org/drennan.  Similar articles were also published in newspapers all over the United States. 

David Drennan’s obituary stated that he was “one of Fannin county’s oldest and highly respected citizens. . . He was a man of marked industry and business sagacity.”   He died in 1893 and is buried at Oakwood Cemetery. 

The obituary for Mrs. Drennan , who died in 1895, stated that she “possessed all the traits that go to make a noble, good woman, was kind, amiable and affectionate, and none knew her but to praise her.”  Her obituary stated that she was buried beside her husband, but no stone for her has been found. 

The Drennan’s had four daughters, and each of the daughters married influential men of the Honey Grove community:  Elizabeth Drennan who married Samuel Erwin; Martha Drennan who married Lewis Chiles; Annie Drennan who married Joseph Ryan and then Eugene Eberle; and Mary Drennan married A. G. Stobaugh.