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Who Was the 1st Signer?


John HancockJohn Hancock was born 12 Jan 1737 in Braintree, Massachusetts and educated at Harvard College.  His occupation was that of a merchant.

His father, a minister, died when John was an infant.  He was then adopted and brought up by an uncle, who was the wealthiest merchant in Boston.  From this uncle, John inherited a large fortune, a home on Beacon Hill, and a shipping business.

Hancock began his political career by joining in the protest against the Stamp Act in 1765.  He was elected to the Massachusetts Legislature in 1769 and was one of the boldest leaders in organizing opposition to the British.

When the Second Continental Congress met in 1775, John Hancock was elected president.  He resigned this position in 1777, but continued as a member of Congress.  He was elected the first governor of Massachusetts in 1780 and was re-elected to that office eight times.

John Hancock married Dorothy Quincy in 1775.  They had two children both of which died in childhood.  John died on 08 Oct 1793 at the age of fifty-six.  His fellow citizens gave him the most impressive funeral ever held in New England up until that time.