When Nancy Hanks Lincoln died in 1818, Thomas buried her on a wooded hill, just south of the family farm. Presumably some sort of marker was placed on the site at that time and maintained by the family during their residence here. But following the departure of the Lincolns for Illinois in 1830, the location of Nancy Hanks Lincoln’s grave was virtually forgotten. But following Abraham Lincoln’s death in 1865, interest in his Indiana home was revived. In 1868, a Civil War veteran named William Q. Corbin visited the boyhood home of his former commander-in-chief. Corbin was dismayed by the unkempt appearance of Nancy Hanks Lincoln’s gravesite and wrote a poem on the subject. His poem, published in November 1868, was among the first known public accounts of the grave’s condition.
In response to Corbin’s poem, there was discussion of putting up a suitable marker but nothing materialized until 1874, when a businessman by the name of Joseph D. Armstrong erected a two-foot tall marker with Nancy Hanks Lincoln’s name inscribed on it at the site. By 1879, though, this marker had disappeared and the site was again overgrown with vegetation and almost inaccessible. A newspaper article reporting the neglect prompted Peter E. Studebaker, second vice-president of the Studebaker Carriage Company, to donate $50.00 for a marker. It is this marker that you see at the gravesite today.