Hancock, John

Hancock, John

Hancock, John, 1737-93, political leader in the American Revolution, signer of the Declaration of Independence, b. Braintree, Mass. From an uncle he inherited Boston's leading mercantile firm, and naturally he opposed the Stamp Act (1765) and other British trade restrictions. In 1768 his ship Liberty was seized as a smuggler and confiscated by the crown. A riot ensued, and later the ship was burned. Hancock was hailed as a martyr and elected (1766) to the legislature, where he joined Samuel Adams in advocating resistance to England. In 1775, Gen. Thomas Gage issued a warrant for their arrest, but they escaped. Hancock was a member (1775-80, 1785-86) and president (1775-77, 1785-86) of the Continental Congress. His name appears first (and largest) on the Declaration of Independence, and the term "John Hancock" is often used to mean a signature. He was governor of Massachusetts (1780-85, 1787-93).

See biographies by L. Sears (1912, repr. 1972), W. T. Baxter (1945), H. S. Allan (1948), and F. Wagner (1964).

Hancock is a city in Houghton County. It is the northernmost city in the U.S. state of Michigan, located on the Keweenaw Peninsula, or, depending on terminology, Copper Island. As of the 2000 census, the city population was 4,323; the city website estimates its current population as 4,900. It is the sister city of Porvoo, Finland. Laurn Grove Park is located in West Hancock.

The city was named after John Hancock.


The future site of Hancock was originally owned by James Hicks.

The earliest building in what is now the City of Hancock was a log cabin erected in 1846 on the site of the Ruggles Mining Claim; it is no longer standing, the site taken up by the Houghton County Garage buildings. It was owned by Christopher C[olumbus]. Douglass, who came to live there in 1852. The Quincy Mining Company founded Hancock in 1859 after purchasing land from Douglass and building an office and mine on the site.

Hancock's first store was built by the Leopold brothers in 1858; the store also housed the first post office. Samuel Hill, an agent for the Quincy Mining Company, platted Hancock Village in 1859. Although it was organized and officers elected in 1863, the village was not incorporated until 1875 under a charter amended in 1877.

In 1869 a fire burnt down about 75% of the village. There was also a significant fire in the 1940s that destroyed much of the downtown.

The Mineral Range Railroad began providing passenger and freight service between Hancock and Calumet in 1873.

Hancock was incorporated as a city in 1903.


According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 2.8 square miles (7.4 km²). 2.5 square miles (6.5 km²) of it is land and 0.9  km² (0.3  sq mi) of it (12.28%) is water. Hancock is connected to Houghton, Michigan by the Portage Lake Lift Bridge, which crosses the dredged Portage Lake.

The city is bounded on the south by the Portage Canal; and on the east by Limerick, an unincorporated community straddling Quincy and Franklin Townships, Frenchtown, Sing-Sing and Franklin Mine, unincorporated communities in Franklin Township; and on the north by Quincy and Hancock Townships.


Hancock has a humid continental climate but winters are typically long and snowy with much lake effect snow.


The East Hancock neighborhood is part of the city, and consists of many old Victorian-style houses, which were once owned by those who ran the mines.

Doctors' Park, located in West Hancock near the former Portage View Hospital Building (now the Portage Campus of Finlandia University), is so called because many of the residents are physicians. It lies north of West Quincy Street.

People and culture

Hancock has been called "the focal point of Finns in the United States". Due to the large number of Finnish immigrants, many street signs in Hancock are, as of 2007, printed in both English and their Finnish names.

Hancock hosts an annual midwinter festival called Heikinpäivä.

Every summer, the cities of Hancock and neighboring Houghton host a festival known as "Bridgefest," to commemorate the building of the Portage Lake Lift Bridge.


As of the census of 2000, there were 4,323 people, 1,769 households, and 902 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,727.5 per square mile (667.6/km²). There were 1,983 housing units at an average density of 792.4/sq mi (306.3/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 95.95% White, 0.76% Black or African American, 0.93% Native American, 1.06% Asian, 0.02% Pacific Islander, 0.23% from other races, and 1.04% from two or more races. 0.76% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race. 32.2% were of Finnish, 14.4% German, 8.2% English, 5.3% Italian, and 5.2% French ancestry according to Census 2000. 94.4% spoke English and 4.4% Finnish as their first language.

There were 1,769 households out of which 23.3% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 39.2% were married couples living together, 9.2% had a female householder with no husband present, and 49.0% were non-families. 38.8% of all households were made up of individuals and 14.9% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.22 and the average family size was 2.97.

In the city the population was spread out with 19.0% under the age of 18, 18.0% from 18 to 24, 22.6% from 25 to 44, 20.1% from 45 to 64, and 20.3% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 37 years. For every 100 females there were 98.6 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 97.1 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $28,118, and the median income for a family was $36,625. Males had a median income of $27,090 versus $22,150 for females. The per capita income for the city was $16,669. About 6.9% of families and 14.4% of the population were below the poverty line, including 7.0% of those under age 18 and 15.1% of those age 65 or over.

Museums and galleries

The birthplace of Mary Chase Perry-Stratton, founder of Pewabic Pottery, "escaped the 1869 fire"; it is now called Pewabic House and run as a museum.

The Kerredge Gallery and the Republic Bank Gallery are both located inside the Copper Country Community Arts Center.

Turquoise Art Gallery is also located in Hancock.


Public education

Elementary-school students attend the Gordon Barkell Elementary School (formerly Hancock Elementary School), middle school students Hancock Middle School and high-school students Hancock Central High School.

Higher education

Hancock is the home of Finlandia University (formerly Suomi College), and several small parts of the campus of Michigan Technological University are also located in Hancock, including a former MTU "underground classroom" in Quincy Mine.



US 41 courses north on a scenic drive to Calumet and Copper Harbor. To the south and east U S41 routes to Houghton and Marquette.
M-26 routes north to Hubbell, Lake Linden and Laurium, Michigan. Before reaching its ending in Copper Harbor, M-26 follows a scenic stretch along Lake Superior
M-203 serves as a connector to McLain State Park.

Intercity bus

Indian Trails bus lines operates a terminal at the Shottle Bop Party Store, 125 Quincy Street. Until January 31, 2007 this was operated by Greyhound Bus Lines.

Public transportation

In 1902 "Houghton County Traction Company" ran "a trolley system" with service "to nearby towns".

Hancock Public Transit operates a demand bus which will take riders to anywhere in Hancock, Houghton, or Ripley.


The Houghton County Memorial Airport (CMX) is often said to serve Houghton, though it is closer to Hancock and sometimes referred to as "Hancock".


The Jack Stevens Trail runs through the city.


The 2004 Professional Walleye Trail Championship Tournament was held partly in the city.

External links


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