Thomas Hancock (merchant)

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A 1730 portrait of Thomas Hancock by John Smibert
Portrait of Hancock by John Singleton Copley
Hancock Manor, Thomas Hancock's home on Beacon Hill in Boston

Thomas Hancock (July 17, 1703 – August 1, 1764) was a merchant in colonial Boston. Born to Reverend John Hancock and Elizabeth (Clark), he got his start in the book trade and expanded into importing and exporting throughout the British Empire. He was also a smuggler, evading the British Navigation Acts by trading with Holland, which was forbidden. Thanks to lucrative contracts with the British government during King George's War and the Seven Years' War, Hancock became one of Boston's wealthiest men. When his health failed, he passed his business and fortune to his nephew, future Founding Father John Hancock, whom he had raised since John was eight.


Further reading[edit]

  • Baxter, William T. The House of Hancock: Business in Boston, 1724–1775. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press, 1945.
  • Fowler, William M., Jr. The Baron of Beacon Hill: A Biography of John Hancock. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1980. ISBN 0-395-27619-5.
  • Tyler, John W. Smugglers & Patriots: Boston Merchants and the Advent of the American Revolution. Boston: Northeastern University Press, 1986. ISBN 0-930350-76-6.

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