John Hancock
Burial Location Visited DoI Signer Grave #
Boston, Massachusetts July 6, 2007 10th Visited


Well-known patriot John Hancock                                                              On the base of Hancock's
is one of the many famous people                                                             monument, people have left
interred in the Granary Burying                                                                little gifts from a half dollar to
Ground.                                                                                                  flowers to bricks.


In 1895, this monument was placed atop                                    The ornate top of Hancock's grave. The
the remains of Hancock.                                                            Latin phrase inscribed beneath the hand,
                                                                                              obsta principiis, translates as "resist the
                                                                                              beginnings", which means to nip it in the  

*** Interesting Facts ***

* The story of John Hancock, one of the most important Founding Fathers, began in Braintree, Massachusetts on January 12, 1736 O.S. (now January 23, 1737). His father passed away in his youth, and as a result John was sent to live with his uncle, Thomas Hancock. Thomas Hancock was a prominent Boston merchant, and was in fact one of the most wealthy merchants in all of New England. He sent his nephew to Boston Latin School and then Harvard University, where he graduated from in 1754. For the next six years, John worked as a clerk in his uncle's counting house. He left for Europe in 1760 and returned four years later, at which point his uncle passed away. John Hancock was now in full control of Thomas' mercantile business, and, using all of the knowledge his uncle had passed on to him, was able to keep it going very successfully.

* John Hancock first took public office in 1765, when he was made a selectman in Boston. That same year, Parliament passed the controversial Stamp Act, which required that all legal documents, publications, and playing cards be printed on stamped paper, which was taxed. It was laws like this that started the rift that would tear colonists like Hancock away from Great Britain. In 1766, Hancock was elected to the Massachusetts house of Representatives, of which Samuel Adams was also a member. Though he was becoming more involved in politics, Hancock was still a merchant, and was involved in a messy dispute with some customs officers in 1768. One of his ships, a sloop named Liberty, was seized by British officials on the suspicion that it was smuggling goods. Several trials ensued, and the Liberty was refitted by the British Navy, only to be burned by protestors while it was stationed in Newport, Rhode Island.

* In 1770, following the Boston Massacre, Hancock headed a committee that demanded the removal of British soldiers from the area. The year 1774 saw him elected the president of the Massachusetts Provincial Congress, and he became the president of the Second Continental Congress in 1775. As president of the Continental Congress, he was the first delegate to sign the Declaration of Independence in the Summer of 1776. A popular story pertaining to the signature is that Hancock signed it so large that King George III would not need his glasses to read it. Despite the tale's popularity, there is no truth to it.

* Hancock continued to serve as the president of the Second Continental Congress until October of 1777, when he stepped down due to health issues. He was elected soon after to the Massachusetts House of Representatives, and he was the speaker of the House in 1779, his final year in that body. In the year prior, 1778, Hancock led several thousand soldiers in an attack on Newport, Rhode Island in a failed attempt to retake the city from its British occupants. Despite the failure, Hancock's reputation was hardly damaged, and he was elected Massachusetts' first governor in 1780. However, Hancock's physical ailments (which included gout) continued to plague him, and he resigned in 1785.

* Still very popular throughout the commonwealth, Hancock was re-elected governor in 1787. The statesman had the duty of presiding over the convention at which Massachusetts adopted the U.S. Constitution. He was one of numerous candidates in the United States' first presidential election, though he was able to garner only four electoral votes. John Hancock's health continued to deteriorate, and he passed away on October 8, 1793 at his manor on Beacon Hill. Today, he still remains one of America's most respected leaders.

Spouse: Dorothy Quincy Hancock Scott (1747-1830)

Political Party:
 Federalist Party

Last Words:

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