The story of Dennis Hanks, the Halls and the Lincolns moving from Indiana to Illinois in 1830, and settling in Macon County represents the last time the two would live together. Abraham was a young man, and would move to New Salem after a year. The Lincolns, Hanks and Halls would move to Coles County. Dennis and Betsy would become "City Folk" at Charleston, where Dennis would help to develop the small pioneer village of log cabins and shacks. The distance from Charleston to the Thomas Lincoln farm was some ten miles. Dennis was known as a shoe cobbler and maker, and would also run a tavern/inn/boarding house called the "Illinois House." He would also run a gristmill on the Embarrass River. He was quite a business man.
Dennis and Abraham would visit often when Lincoln would come to the Coles County courthouse for legal dealings in the 8th Judicial Circuit. "Uncle Abe" was popular with all his nieces and nephews.
After the Charleston Riot, Dennis was concerned for the fate of the men imprisoned for the riot, and would make a journey to Washington to see his old friend and cousin, Abraham Lincoln, the President, to see if he could get the men released. This was the last contact Dennis Hanks would have with Abraham Lincoln.
Dennis Hanks lived a long life of 93 years old. His death was a bit unusual, but kind of represents the kind of rough pioneer life he led. He was invited to nearby Edgar County Fairgrounds for an "Emancipation Day" celebration. He was living at Charleston and at Paris, where the fairgrounds were located with his children. On returning home from the celebration, he was struck by a wagon, knocked down, with one wheel passing over his arm and shoulder. He survived almost a month more and died October 21, 1892 in his daughter's home at Paris. It seem he almost could have lived into the 20th Century. A lot of history was lost with the death of Dennis Friend Hanks. He could relate stories of Abraham even until the time of his unfortunate death.
- Recollections of Abraham Lincoln in Illinois by David Kent Coy, the Looking for Lincoln Project
- Abraham Lincoln, the Boy and the Man, by Lloyd Ostendorf