DescriptionJohn Hancock 1764 signed receipt re: cash for materials to be used for King George III's works at Annapolis Royal, Nova Scotia, Canada. Manuscript Receipt Signed: "pr Thos Hancock & Co." by John Hancock, one page, 8" x 4". Annapolis Royal (Nova Scotia), March 19, 1764. Hancock has signed the name of his uncle's company beneath the words: "Dec 31- 1764. Accepted". On verso, John Hancock has written: "T Williams Bill/in fav. Jno Easson/160 Dols.".
The promissory note, in full: "To Thos Hancock Esqr & Co at Boston. Gentn: At Ten days sight please to pay to Mr. John Easson or Order the Sum of One Hundred and Sixty Dollars for Cash receivd to carry on His Majesty's Works at this place. I am, Gentn: Your most Humble Servt" signed: "Thos Williams". Endorsed on verso: "John Easson".
John Hancock's father, a clergyman, died suddenly in 1744 when John was seven years old. His uncle, Thomas Hancock, one of the wealthiest merchants in Boston and childless, adopted him and raised him. John graduated from Harvard College in 1754 and joined his uncle in his business, inheriting the company upon his uncle's death on August 1, 1764. John Hancock became one of the wealthiest merchants in Boston. This promissory note was written while Thomas was alive, with John concluding the paperwork after his uncle's death.
Thomas WIlliams (1720-1789) was Paymaster, Commissary and Ordnance Storekeeper at Annapolis Royal, and was with the Ordnance department from 1744 until his death. His son, Commissary-General Thomas Williams, was barrack-master at Halifax and his grandson, Sir William Fenwick Williams, defeated the Russians in the siege of Kars in the Crimean War, commanded the forces in Canada from 1859-1865, and was Governor of Nova Scotia (1865-1867).
John Easson (c.1715-c.1790) was commissioned in 1737 by the Board of Ordnance in London as a Master Artificer, and sent on service to Annapolis Royal, Nova Scotia. After leaving government service, he was a craftsman and carpenter. The Bailey House in Annapolis Royal, still standing on one of the oldest streets in Canada, was built by Easson in 1770, six years after endorsing this note.
Autographs of 18th century Canadians Thomas Williams and John Easson are rare and this is an excellent example, showing the business ties between two important government officials in colonial Canada and John Hancock of the American colonies. An old catalogue description of this promissory note has been affixed on verso. Three vertical folds. Overall, fine condition.
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