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John Hancock
John Hancock
American, 1737 - 1793
Biography: John Hancock was born in Braintree, Massachusetts, on 12 January 1737. He was orphaned as a child and was adopted by his merchant uncle. He graduated from Harvard College at the age of 17, and was apprenticed to his uncle as a clerk. Hancock was so capable, that by 1760, he was sent to England on a business mission, where he witnessed the coronation of George III. In 1763, his uncle died, leaving John Hancock possibly the greatest body of wealth in New England. John Hancock was a pivotal figure during the American Revolution, but he is probably best known as a signer of the Declaration of Independence; his signature was first and by far the largest. His career in politics began prior to that: he was elected to the Boston Assembly in 1766; he was a Delegate to and President of the Provincial Congress of Massachusetts in about 1773; and he was elected to the Continental Congress in 1774 and was elected President of that body in 1775. John Hancock was the Governor of Massachusetts from 1780-1785, and again from 1787-1793. John Hancock died during his second term as Governor, on 8 October 1793.