John Hancock was born on January 12, 1737 in Braintree, Massachusetts. John was orphaned at an early age and was taken in by his very wealthy uncle. He attended Harvard and graduated in 1754. In 1770, Hancock was assigned as one of the men to investigate the Boston Massacre. He befriended Samuel Adams, a known agitator. It was Hancock's wealth and social position that gave him power, not his ability to lead. He was well liked but not respected.
It was this popularity that ensured him the position as the first governor of Massachusetts. Hancock's political career was uneventful until June 4, 1776, when Thomas Jefferson's Declaration of Independence was approved, Hancock had the honor of being the first man to put his signature on this famous document. John Hancock died in 1793 at the age of 56.