Thomas Hancock

Portrait of Thomas Hancock
Courtesy of the National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution

Thomas Hancock (1703-1764) was the founder of the powerful and successful Boston mercantile conglomerate, the House of Hancock. He was politically prominent in Boston as well, serving as one of the city’s five selectmen who regulated markets, law enforcement, schools, streets and oversaw the city’s budget. It was at his urging that John Hancock traveled to London in the care of Thomas Pownall in 1760 to complete his business education.