North Carolina Presidential Birthplaces

James K. Polk  -  Andrew Johnson  -  Abraham Lincoln

James K. Polk (1845-49) - James K. Polk Memorial in Pineville.
Andrew Johnson (1865-69) - Mordecai Historic Park in downtown Raleigh.
Abraham Lincoln (1860-65) - Southeastern Rutherford County.???

Historic Sites for North Carolina born Presidents
Taken in part from The News Herald, Sunday, August 22, by William L. Holmes - Associated Press.)

        Two of the nation's early presidents - James K. Polk (1845-49) and Andrew Johnson (1865-69) -
were born in the Tar Heel State and served during critical time in the nation's history.
        Polk pushed an expansionist vision during his term, adding about 200 million square miles to the
 Western United States. Johnson, vice president under Lincoln helped heal the struggling nation after
Lincoln's assassination.
        Visitors can learn a bit about both men and the way they lived in visits to their North Carolina
        Polk was born n Mecklenburg County in 1795 and has the more extensive site, including a
memorial and log buildings that date to the early 1800s. The State historic site is run by the
Department of Cultural Resources on part of a 250 acre farm worked by Polk's parents,
Jane and Samuel Polk.
        His family sold the farm when Polk was 11 and the family moved to Tennessee to join relatives
there. Polk returned to the state to attend college at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and
then went back to Tennessee, where he studied law and established a practice.
    "Tennessee was the land of opportunity at that time," with lots of cheap acreage, said Jeff Bockert,
 site manage at the James K. Polk Memorial in Pineville.   
        Polk served in the U.S. House and later was elected governor of Tennessee. He won the White
House by campaigning in favor annexing Texas and occupying Oregon. His administration also
acquired the California territory, resulting in an unpopular war with Mexico.
        Polk has since been overshadowed by Abraham Lincoln, Andrew Johnson and presidents
connected with the Civil War, Bockert said.
        "Had the Civil War not occurred, Polk would have probably been known as of our most
famous early presidents," he said.
        Johnson, a tailor who had little formal education, followed a similar Volunteer State path to power,
serving in the U.S. House of Representatives, the U.S. Senate and as Tennessee governor before
becoming Abraham Lincoln's vice president.
        Johnson was born in downtown Raleigh in 1808, the son of Jacob and Mary Johnson. Both his
parents worked at a large inn near the state Capitol, his mother as a weaver and his father as a
horse keeper. Jacob Johnson also worked as a janitor at the state capitol building.
    At 16, in trouble fro throwing rocks at a man's house, Johnson moved to the the Moore County town
of Carthage, where he established a tailoring business. He moved later to Tennessee, where he
began a political career.
        Though Johnson was a Democrat, the Republican Lincoln chose him as his vice president in
1864 presidential campaign because Johnson was the only senator from a rebel state to remain loyal
to the United States during the Civil War.
        Johnson ascended to the presidency when Lincoln was assassinated in 1865. In 1868, Johnson's
with the Republican congressional leadership over plans for Reconstruction resulted in him being the
 first president impeached by the House of Representatives. He was acquitted by one vote
following a trial in the Senate.
        The two-story buildings where Johnson was born has been moved several times over the years,
and is now located on about 2 1/2 acres in Mordecai Historic Park, a few blocks from a downtown
        Also at the site, which is a mishmash of historical interpretation run by the city of Raleigh, are an
antebellum plantation home and two 19th century office buildings. A chapel built by slaves in 1847
sits across from the entrance.
        "The building itself has kind of a checkered past," said Victor Gordon, program manager at Mordecai Park."
In the 1970s, it wasn't very uncommon fro buildings to be moved to be saved.
        The clapboard building has gray, peeling paint and a gambrel roof with wood shingles. The cramped
first floor has period pieces, including a spinning wheel and cooking utensils, to show what the building
may have looked like when Johnson was born. The second floor is closed to the public and littered with
a box of dolls, an old bed and other items.
        The city of Raleigh has agreed to spend about $100,000 fixing up the buildings later this year,
Gordon said.
        Despite its shabby condition, the building draws visitors from around the country, particularly
presidential history buffs.
        "I think presidents and the lives of presidents are touchstones of American history," Gordon said.
"They've been celebrated fro a long time."
        Lincoln himself may have had North Carolina roots, according to two North Carolina researchers.
        In their 2003 book, "The Tarheel Lincoln," Catawba Valley Community College history professor
Richard Eller and retired schoolteacher Jerry Goodnight argued in favor of a decades-old claim that
Lincoln was the illegitimate son a North Carolinian named Abraham Enloe.
        Eller and Goodnight theorize that the 16th president was born in southeastern Rutherford County
near the town of Bostic, about 60 miles west of Charlotte.
        Traditional claims that Lincoln was born February 12, 1809, in Hardin County, Ky., are based on a
statement written by Lincoln a few months before he was nominated to be president.
        "When we started, I was pretty skeptical," Eller has said. "When we got into it, it started to make
sense. And when we put more of the pieces together, it makes good sense."
        Officials at Lincoln's official birthplace, a National Park Service historic site near Hodgenville, Ky.,
say they doubt the claim.

James K. Polk - was born in Mecklenburg County in 1795. He was president from 1845 to 1849.

Andrew Johnson - was born in Raleigh in 1808 and was president from 1865 to 1869.

Abraham Lincoln - some theorize, was born in Rutherford County in 1809. He was president from
1860 to 1865. Johnson was Lincoln's vice president.

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