John Hancock III
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John Hancock III (1736 - 1793)

Governor John "the Signer" Hancock III
Born in Braintree, Suffolk County, Massachusetts Bay Colonymap
Ancestors ancestors
Husband of — married 28 Aug 1775 (to 1793) in Thaddeus Burr Mansion, Fairfield, Connecticutmap
Died at age 57 in Hancock Manor, Boston, Norfolk, Province of Massachusetts Baymap
Profile last modified | Created 13 Nov 2008
This page has been accessed 115,415 times.
John Hancock III participated in the American Revolution.
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Discuss: 1776
Preceded by
The Massachusetts Provincial Congress and new office created
October 25, 1780

2nd Governor
James Bowdoin
John Hancock III
1st Governor
of Massachusetts

Mass. Governor
3rd Governor
Succeeded by
Acting Governor
Thomas Cushing

4th Governor
Samuel Adams
Preceded by
3rd President
Peyton Randolph
John Hancock III
4th President
of the Continental Congress
24 May 1775 - 1 Nov 1777
Succeeded by
5th President
Henry Laurens
Preceded by
12th President
Richard Henry Lee
John Hancock III
13th President
of the Continental Congress
23 Nov 1785 - 29 May 1786
Succeeded by
14th President
Nathaniel Gorham



1st Signer of the Declaration of Independence.
Notables Project
John Hancock III is Notable.
1776 Project
Governor John Hancock III was a Founding Father in the American Revolution.
Daughters of the American Revolution
John Hancock III is a DAR Patriot Ancestor, A050856.
SAR insignia
John Hancock III is an NSSAR Patriot Ancestor.
NSSAR Ancestor #: P-174340
Rank: Patriotic

John Hancock (1737-1793), orphaned as a boy, was adopted by a rich uncle who had no children of his own. He was educated at Boston Latin School and Harvard University. Just ten years after graduating from college, he inherited his uncle's very lucrative business and became the richest man in America at the time.

The influence of being a workingman, and then one of means may be what made Hancock so in touch with the people. He despised blind authority and those beliefs lead him to use his contacts and resources in the aid of the independence of the colonies. He spoke out strongly regarding British Rule and was often engaged revolutionary politics at first as a financier and later a outspoken public critic of British rule.

On March 5, 1774, the fourth anniversary of the Boston Massacre, he gave a speech strongly condemning the British. In the same year, he was elected president of the Massachusetts Provincial Congress.

On May 24, 1775, he was elected President of the Second Continental Congress. 28 August of the same year, he married Dorothy Quincy in Fairfield, Connecticut.[1]

Hancock is best remembered for his large, flamboyant signature on the Declaration of Independence, so much so that the word “John Hancock” is synonymous with “signature”.

Because of the popularity of the Hancock name, many people claim to be direct descendants. However, Mr. Hancock and his wife had two children neither of whom lived to see their teenage years. Lydia Henchman Hancock died an infant and John George Washington Hancock died at age 9, fell through the ice while skating in a pond in Massachusetts.

John Hancock was son of Rev. John Hancock of Braintree and Mary (Hawke )Thaxter of Hingham. After his father died in 1744 he lived with an uncle and aunt, Thomas Hancock and Lydia (Henchman) Hancock.


  • Ten US states have counties named in John Hancock's honor. They are: Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Maine, Mississippi, Ohio, Tennessee, and West Virginia.


John Hancock is recorded in the report as owning five individuals with documented dates of ownership.

  • Cato Hancock (abt.1747-1817)[2] [3] Cato first appears in the 1764 will of Thomas Hancock (1703-1764), John’s uncle and guardian. Thomas Hancock was also a benefactor of Harvard College, leaving £1000 in his will to fund the Hancock Professorship of Hebrew and Other Oriental Languages.[4] The will stipulates that Cato should be manumitted when he turns 30. Cato also appeared in Lydia Hancock’s 1777 will in which she stipulates that he should receive 6 pounds, 13 shillings, and 4 pence from her estate “at the time he shall become free by my late husband’s will.” [5] As John and Lydia Hancock shared a home, Cato and the other enslaved people named in Lydia Hancock’s will lived in John Hancock’s house up to the time of her death.
  • Frank (1768-1771)[5][2]
  • Agnes (1777)[3][5]
  • Violet (1777)[3][5]
  • Hannibal (1777).[3][5]


  1. Child, Frank Samuel. An Old New England Church, Established Religion in Connecticut (Fairfield Historical Society, Fairfield, Conn., 1910) Page 154
  2. 2.0 2.1 The Manifesto Church: Records of the Church in Brattle Square, Boston, with Lists of Communicants, Baptisms, Marriages and Funerals, 1699–1872 (Boston, MA: The Benevolent Fraternity of Churches, 1902), 184, 185, 187, 189): Internet Archive
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 "Appendix I: List of Human Beings Enslved by Prominent Harvard Affiliates." Legacy of Slavery at Harvard". Harvard University. p 5. Appendix link Full Report
  4. Will of Thomas Hancock, Suffolk County, MA: Probate File Papers,, New England Historic Genealogical Society, 2017–2019, (from records supplied by the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court Archives, digitized images provided by FamilySearch. org), accessed April 2, 2021.
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 Will of Mrs. Lydia Hancock, Suffolk County, MA: Probate File Papers,, New England Historic Genealogical Society, 2017–2019, (from records supplied by the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court Archives, digitized images provided by, accessed April 2, 2021.

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See Also:

Comments: 16

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Statue on Hancock-Adams Common, Quincy Center, Quincy, Massachusetts You are welcome to use any of my photos in Wikitree profiles and FreeSpaces.

Quincy Homestead (Dorothy Quincy Hancock House and signage) photos 63- 66 You are welcome to use any of my photos on Wikitree profiles and freespaces.

posted by Anonymous Reed
edited by Anonymous Reed
I'd like to remove the coat of arms that's attached, which is associated with a different Hancock family. John Hancock may have used a seal, which I will try to research, but the attached image is not appropriate. See discussion on g2g:
posted by M Cole
I think John Hancock III did have a seal on his chariot. It was later converted to a horse drawn sleigh and still exists at the Quincy Homestead in Quincy, MA. Although the grounds are open daily, the house and garage are open only two or three times a year. I live less than 2 miles away, so I will watch for a tour and try to catch a photo of the vehicle.
posted by Anonymous Reed
Typically the slavery information is up in the biography in Slaves subsection (currently it's below sources). Is there any objection to moving the information into the bio?
posted by M Cole
No objection at all. Are you willing to make this bio improvement?


posted by Betty (Skelton) Norman
A minor point: In the 2nd and 3rd boxes, Hancock's name is given as "John Hancock III," with in the first it is simply "John Hancock."
posted by David McNicol
Fixed succession box 1. Thank you, David.
posted by Betty (Skelton) Norman
As a member of the US Black Heritage Project, I have added a list of the slaves owned by John Hancock on this profile with categories using the standards of the US Black Heritage Exchange Program. This helps us connect enslaved ancestors to their descendants. See the Heritage Exchange Portal for more information.
posted by Gina (Pocock) Jarvi
edited by Gina (Pocock) Jarvi
Here is the Find-a-Grave entry for Frank, the enslaved "servant" of John Hancock.

Here's a great write-up on Hancock's enslaved people:

posted by Wayne Tucker II
edited by Wayne Tucker II

I found this obituary that claimed Lydia Hancock Wakefield (1813-1906) was a Granddaughter. However both children in this profile would not have descendants.

posted by Byron Davis
did john hancock have no siblings? member's of my father's family claim to have traced our family back to him, so i thought for most of my teen's and 20's to have been a descendant of his. i've since learned they were wrong, so the info has gotten skewed somewhere. would love to find out
posted by Virginia Hancock