Boston-born Thomas Hancock was one of the wealthiest merchants in Massachusetts. In 1744 he adopted his 8-year old nephew, John. Twenty years later, when Thomas died, young John inherited the estate which included Thomas’s property in Worcester. John eventually sold a large part of the land holdings, in 1772, to Stephen Salisbury, who built his Mansion and Store on the portion of the lot that faces what is now Lincoln Square. John kept the house that Thomas had built and visited it on occasion. In April 1775 John Hancock and Sam Adams fled the British as they entered Lexington. Hancock and Adams stopped at several towns before arriving in Worcester late on April 24. From here Hancock wrote a letter to the Provincial Congress telling them of his situation and asking for assistance. Help arrived and on April 26 Hancock, Adams, and the rest of the Massachusetts delegation traveled to Philadelphia to meet with the Continental Congress.
The Hancock House originally stood on Lincoln Street near Timothy Paine’s house. The house was moved in 1846 to Grove Street, near the current location of the Courtyard by Marriott hotel, and was razed in the 1920s. The doorway to the Hancock House was preserved and sent to the Smithsonian Institution.