John A. McKinsey | Excerpts from The Lincoln Secret 


As he stood up from Paul’s desk he paused, then explained his quick preliminary research on the Lincoln-Enloe story.
"So if you insist, I’ll call up the professor, interview him, and write a nice story for you," Sean finished.
Paul looked at him for a few moments. "Let me get this straight. You want to write a piece that says that Lincoln was the bastard-son of a tobacco farmer who screwed his mom while she worked as a servant girl at his plantation? And you want to do all of this with an hour of research and a quick phone call?"
"Hey, wait a minute! This was all your idea in the first place! I’m more than happy to drop the idea."
Paul smiled slyly, and Sean knew he was trapped.
"No, no, I think the idea is good. You’ve just got to take it more seriously. I think you’ll need to go visit some of these places. Maybe meet this professor in person."
"Doesn't that seem like overkill?" Sean responded. "It's just a story on an alternate history theory."
Paul looked Sean over through the thick, black-framed eyeglasses that complimented his twinkling black eyes. "You want to attack the person who many consider to be the greatest president we have ever had by calling him a bastard? You want to cast shadows on the 'Great Emancipator'? And you want to do it with a quick, unprofessional story?"
"No," Sean sighed. "I don't want to do the story at all. It's your idea."
Paul spoke carefully. "Listen Sean, I admit that I'm pushing this story on you, but it should be very interesting to most Americans. Abraham Lincoln is not just a man. He is a myth, a legend, a hero, and a very admired man for what he did and what he stood for in history. He is also probably still hated by frozen-in-time rebel families in the South that have never forgotten what the Civil War did to them. He was assassinated at the peak of his achievements, thus becoming either martyr or villain, preserved in that state for all eternity. Writing this story will take great care and require that you deal with all of these complexities. You might find yourself in deeper than you expected."
Sean started to reply, but Paul cut him off. "No, don't say anything else. Just think about what I have said."
Paul then looked down and began scrutinizing his agenda on the desk in front of him. Sean knew that meant Paul was done talking and was dismissing him. Paul ran a tight ship, not always the fuzziest or warmest. But he was usually right. Sean turned and left Paul's office, heading out of the building.


"Okay, Mr. Johnson, I will accept your explanation as being truthful, even if it might not be." The professor seemed to be shifting into a very professorial voice. "And yes, I know all about this silly story regarding the Enloes. It would be very hard to be a Lincoln historian with the last name Enloe without having come across it."
The professor paused, and Sean could almost imagine him shaking an accusing finger at him as he continued.
"Understand, Mr. Johnson, this is not a line of investigation that gets any attention by any Lincoln historian. It is not credible, not provable and would only cast shadows on the greatness of our finest president. Thus, historians, including myself, do not wish to propagate it at all."
Sean interrupted before the professor could continue.
"Professor, I ask you only as a source of guidance as to where to look. I will not cite you or quote you, and will even treat what I learn in this conversation as being from a non-disclosed source. If this story is unfounded and without support, shouldn't you want to at least explain that to me?"
"You make a good point, Mr. Johnson." The chuckling tone had returned to his voice.
That's good. You're through the worst of it. He'll be candid now. Before Sean could start focusing the conversation, though, the professor began again.
"But understand, it is a sensitive topic for me. I found myself fascinated with Lincoln at a young age and became a history professor with a focus on Lincoln long before I uncovered this story about the Enloes. The story irritates me deeply, because it can create a very false impression that I am a Lincoln historian because of it."
"I understand that completely, Professor. If I could..."
"No, I doubt you really understand completely, but I appreciate your willingness to try," the professor interrupted him. "So why don't you ask me your questions. I will answer them the best that I can."
I was trying to, Professor, before you interrupted me. This really is a sensitive topic for you. Sean decided to jump quickly into the heart of the matter, while he still had some level of cooperation.


"I'm going to change and freshen up and then I'll start dinner, okay?"

This time Abby did briefly look up, "Sure, Mom."
Kim studied her daughter for a moment. She looked more like her ex-husband, and was, in fact, already as tall as her. Abby's hair was brown, but wavy like her dad's. She had lighter brown eyes and some of her mannerisms were reminiscent of her ex as well. Like how much she ignores me, she thought. Abby dressed nicely, at least in typical blouses and pants or skirts. So far, she was not pushing the envelope in that direction. Kim surrendered her study of Abby, turned, and headed to her bedroom.
A little while later, Kim was chopping some vegetables for their salad. Dinner was cooking, and Kim even succeeded in getting the TV volume turned down. As she cooked, she broached the topic that had been on her mind for several days.
"Abby, the other day I was going through some of grandpa's things and came across an amazing note." Kim said this half-looking towards Abigail, who was no longer studying but instead splitting her attention between Kim and the TV.
Abby looked at her mom. "Yeah?"
"He left me a letter he intended me to read after he passed away. In it he told me that our family name is not really Poole at all."
Kim had used "our" in front of "family name" but knew that Abby was probably thinking "your" since she carried the last name of her father, Jason Wilcox. Kim often suspected that Abby was more bothered by her decision to adopt her maiden name than she was by anything else, perhaps even the divorce itself. That topic had been the source of many arguments between them, though not recently. Indeed, Abby looked up, and Kim thought she saw a flash of anger briefly pass over her. Abby responded more disinterested than anything, though.
"So, that's it?"
"Yes, but that’s a very big deal. has apparently been running around with a false name for more than a hundred years."
"Chill, it's just a name mom, that's all."
Now Kim felt the anger flash over her. Just a goddamn name!, she thought. How dare you say that after all the grief you gave me over going back to my maiden name. Kim suppressed the anger though, and tried to speak calmly.
It's more than a name, honey. It tells us where we come from and who we are. It connects us to our past. I'm surprised you can say that after the talks we had about me returning to 'Poole' as my last name."
Abby looked defensive. "That was different mom. You were changing your name away from mine, and Dad's. You had a choice, and there was someone living. Me mom! I cared! I doubt any one cares whether some long dead ancestor decided to change his name. Except maybe you."
"Okay, okay, but it is different. Poole was, or at least I thought it was, my last name. Oh, never mind, silly me for thinking you might be interested."
Abby thought for a moment.
"Okay, I am interested... some." She grinned. "Sorry Mom, it's just that you take all this family history stuff so seriously."


Terry looked back at his older brother. Terry was shorter and a bit stockier than his brother, and while also having brown hair, but with brown eyes as well, his appearance had a much more evasive and shrewd look. Michael was the politician, Terry was the spy, the general, the commander. They were different, but shared a bond that evolved from their shared, luxurious childhood. Their largest contrast was in their wardrobe. Terry wore a polo shirt and jeans which clashed with Michael's suit. But somehow, Terry looked as if he fit in, as if he belonged in this elegant room. Which he did.
Terry studied his brother for a few more moments before making a short and simple statement. "The name has surfaced." He said it with emphasis and kept his eyes on Michael's face watching, his brother's reaction.
Michael, for his part, did not blink. He did pause though, managing only a fairly weak surprise.
"Really? THE name?"
At that moment, Terry knew that Michael had probably hoped, if not expected, that the name would never surface, or at least not in their lifetimes. That, in and of itself, surprised Terry. And he did not surprise easily.
"Yes, yesterday, on the internet. Our automated search engines picked it up."
Michael got better control over his thinking. "What makes you think it is THE name. There could be others."
Terry smiled, "Its context. The name appeared in the right context. That makes this appearance very, very interesting."
Michael did not smile. Instead, he frowned and sat quietly for a minute. Then he stood and walked over to the bar. Terry remained sitting in the leather chair silently watching him as he poured a scotch over a single ice cube. After one glance over at Terry, he began preparing a bourbon on the rocks, Terry's usual drink. He picked up the two drinks, walked over to Terry, and placed the bourbon on the table in front of Terry as he passed by. Terry turned and watched his brother approach the large globe set in a marble stand. With his free hand casually turning the sphere, Michael sipped his scotch, and enjoyed the fine, soft peat flavor wafting down his throat.