From The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48:

Whence \Whence\, adv. [OE. whennes, whens (with adverbial s,
   properly a genitive ending; -- see -wards), also whenne,
   whanene, AS. hwanan, hwanon, hwonan, hwanone; akin to D.
   when. See When, and cf. Hence, Thence.]
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   1. From what place; hence, from what or which source, origin,
      antecedent, premise, or the like; how; -- used
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            Whence hath this man this wisdom?     --Matt. xiii.
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            Whence and what art thou?             --Milton.
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   2. From what or which place, source, material, cause, etc.;
      the place, source, etc., from which; -- used relatively.
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            Grateful to acknowledge whence his good
            Descends.                             --Milton.
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   Note: All the words of this class, whence, where, whither,
         whereabouts, etc., are occasionally used as pronouns by
         a harsh construction.
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               O, how unlike the place from whence they fell?
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   Note: From whence, though a pleonasm, is fully authorized by
         the use of good writers.
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               From whence come wars and fightings among you?
                                                  --James iv. 1.
         [1913 Webster] Of whence, also a pleonasm, has become
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