John Hancock

Statesman and Patriot

John Hancock was a merchant, statesman, and prominent Patriot of the American Revolution. He served as president of the Second Continental Congress and was the first and third Governor of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. He is remembered for his large and stylish signature on the United States Declaration of Independence, so much so that the term "John Hancock" has become, in the United States, a synonym for signature.… Read More

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1737 Birth According to the Gregorian calendar, John Hancock was born on January 23, 1737; according to the Julian calendar then in use, the date was January 12, 1736. … Read More
1744 7 Years Old After Hancock's father died in 1744, John was sent to live with his uncle and aunt, Thomas Hancock and Lydia (Henchman) Hancock. … Read More


1750 13 Years Old After graduating from the Boston Latin School in 1750, Hancock enrolled in Harvard College and received a bachelor's degree in 1754. … Read More


1760 - 1762 2 More Events
1764 27 Years Old When Thomas Hancock died in August 1764, John inherited the business, Hancock Manor, two or three household slaves, and thousands of acres of land, becoming one of the wealthiest men in the colonies. … Read More
1765 28 Years Old Hancock emerged as a leading political figure in Boston just as tensions with Great Britain were increasing. In March 1765, he was elected as one of Boston's five selectmen, an office previously held by his uncle for many years. … Read More
1766 29 Years Old After Bostonians learned of the impending repeal of the Stamp Act, Hancock was elected to the Massachusetts House of Representatives in May of 1766. … Read More


On April 9, 1768, two customs employees (called tidesmen) boarded Hancock's brig Lydia in Boston Harbor. … Read More
1770 33 Years Old The British troops remained, however, and tensions between soldiers and civilians eventually resulted in the killing of five civilians in the Boston Massacre of March 1770. … Read More
1772 35 Years Old 1 More Event
In April 1772, Hutchinson approved Hancock's election as colonel of the Boston Cadets, a militia unit whose primary function was to provide a ceremonial escort for the governor and the General Court. … Read More
1773 36 Years Old But whatever their differences, Hancock and Adams came together again in 1773 with the renewal of major political turmoil. … Read More
Over the next few months, Hancock was disabled by gout, which would trouble him with increasing frequency in the coming years. By March 5, 1774, he had recovered enough to deliver the fourth annual Massacre Day oration, a commemoration of the Boston Massacre. … Read More
Hancock was one of Boston's leaders during the crisis that led to the outbreak of the American Revolutionary War in 1775. … Read More
1776 39 Years Old Their daughter Lydia Henchman Hancock was born in 1776 and died ten months later. … Read More


In 1777, a Harvard committee headed by James Bowdoin, Hancock's chief political and social rival in Boston, sent a messenger to Philadelphia to retrieve the money and records. … Read More
…  Hancock and Washington maintained a good relationship after the alleged incident, and in 1778 Hancock named his only son John George Washington Hancock. … Read More
1780 43 Years Old He was a charter member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1780. … Read More
1785 48 Years Old 1 More Event
Hancock governed until his surprise resignation on January 29, 1785. … Read More


1787 50 Years Old After the uprising, Hancock was reelected in 1787, and he promptly pardoned all the rebels. … Read More
1788 51 Years Old In January 1788, Hancock was elected president of the Massachusetts ratifying convention, although he was ill and not present when the convention began. … Read More
1789 52 Years Old Hancock was put forth as a candidate in the 1789 U. S. presidential election. … Read More
1793 57 Years Old Died on October 8, 1793.
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