John Hancock

(1737–1793)

John Hancock

Anecdote...

As president of the Continental Congress, Hancock was the first to sign the Declaration of Independence. Having written his name in a fine, bold hand—the model for signatures from then on—he commented, “There, I guess King George will be able to read that.”

Of Note...

The term “John Hancock” has become, in the United States, a synonym for a signature.

Biographical Note: 

John Hancock was President of the Continental Congress, and the first person to sign the United States Declaration of Independence. According to legend, he signed his name largely and clearly to be sure King George III could read it, causing his name to become a slang term for “signature.” However, other examples show that Hancock always wrote his signature this way so his “thumb-in-the-eye” comment to King George may be apocryphal. Still, it makes for a good anecdote.