DEAD: ON THIS DATE
John Hancock (aged 56)
First to sign the Declaration of Independence
John Hancock (January 23, 1737 [January 12, 1736] – October 8, 1793) was an American merchant, statesman, and prominent Patriot of the American Revolution. He served as president of the Second Continental Congress and was the first and thirdGovernor 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 a synonym in the United States for one’s signature.
DEATH: His health failing, Hancock spent his final few years as essentially a figurehead governor. With his wife at his side, he died in bed on October 8, 1793, at 56 years of age. By order of acting governor Samuel Adams, the day of Hancock’s burial was a state holiday; the lavish funeral was perhaps the grandest given to an American up to that time.