JOHN HANCOCK AND HIS WIFE, DOROTHY
SELL 32 ACRES OF LAND IN MASSACHUSETTS AN EXTREMELY RARE COMBINATION OF SIGNATURES
HANCOCK, JOHN. (1737-1793). American patriot and statesman, who was the first to sign the Declaration of Independence. Manuscript Document Signed, “John Hancock”, with his wife’s signature underneath his, “Dorothy Hancock”. Two full pages, legal folio. Boston, November 29, 1790. Letter silked for preservation, else fine condition. The document reads:
“Know all men by these presents that I John Hancock of Boston in the County of Suffolk and Commonwealth of Massachusetts Esquire for and in consideration of the sum of ten pounds paid me in hand by John Sprange of Deadham in the same County … the receipt whereof I do hereby acknowledge and myself therewith fully contented and satisfied have and by these presents do give grant bargain sell and convey to him the said John Sprange his heirs and assigns forever a certain piece or parcel of land lying in Braintree partly and partly in Milton in the county aforesaid containing about thirty-two acres and three quarters more or less which same land was purchased by the late Thomas Hancock Esquire of one John Washworth by a deed bearing date the twenty-third day of April one thousand seven hundred and forty seven and which has come to me the grantor by the wills of the said Thomas Hancock and his Widow Lydia Hancock and which is bounded and described in the deed aforesaid. To have and to hold the above granted premises to him the said John Sprange his heirs and assigns forever and of the said John Hancock for myself my heirs executors and administrators do covenant and agree to end with the said John Sprange his heirs and assigns that I am the lawful owner of the aforegranted premises and that I have good and lawful right to sell and convey the same as aforesaid and that he the said John Sprange his heirs and assigns shall hold and enjoy the same forever; and Dorothy the wife of the said John Hancock in taken of her … wishing her dower in the premises both hereunto let her hand and seal this with her said husband the twenty-ninth day of November in the year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and ninety, John Hancock, Dorothy Hancock. Sealed Signed and delivered in presence of Ja. Sullivan, Titus Thayer. Suffolk … the 11th 1791 then His Excellency John Hancock Esq. acknowledged the aforegoing to be his free act and deed before me, Ja. Sullivan Jus. Peace. April 11th, 1791. Boston, April 3d, 1792, Received and entered with Suffolk Deeds Lib: 172, Fol: 209 etc. Henry Alline Regstr.”
Dorothy Quincy married John Hancock in August of 1775, though prior to this she was reported to have had a crush on Aaron Burr. It was Hancock’s Aunt Lydia, that quashed those ideas, however, by abruptly ending a visit by Burr when he came to call upon her. She was witness to the Battle of Lexington, and was by default the first presidential secretary, while she assisted her husband with his work in the Continental Congress, as Hancock had no staff. This is the only document we have handled in our many years wherein we have both the signature of our first Signer of the Declaration of Independence and his wife together on the same document, whose signature in her own right is nearly unobtainable. While not of the stature of Abigail Adams, Martha Washington, or Dolley Madison, she deserves her place among them.