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Hancock Clarke House

Hancock Clarke House

The Hancock Clarke House,Lexington, Massachusetts.

The Hancock-Clarke House is a historic Revolutionary War site on Hancock Street in Lexington, Massachusetts. It played a prominent role in the Battle of Lexington and Concord as both John Hancock and Samuel Adams, leaders of the colonials, were staying in the house before the battle. The House is currently operated as a museum by the Lexington Historical Society, and open weekends starting April 16,and daily from May 30 - October 30. An admission fee is charged.

In 1698, soon after arriving in Lexington, the Reverend John Hancock built a small parsonage on this site. This original section now forms the small rear ell, 1½ stories high with gambrel roof. A living room-kitchen and tiny study are located downstairs and two low-studded chambers upstairs. In 1738 his son Thomas, a wealthy Boston merchant, enlarged his parents' home, adding the 2½-story front, or main, section of the house with large central chimney, a short center hall, and two rooms on each of the two floors. Succeeding Hancock as minister in 1752, the Reverend Jonas Clarke, who reared twelve children in the parsonage, was an eloquent supporter of the colonial cause.

This house is the only surviving residence associated with John Hancock, famous American patriot, first signer of the Declaration of Independence, and first Governor of Massachusetts. This was his boyhood home as in 1744 when upon the death of his father at Quincy, the 7-year-old boy came to live at this house with his grandfather, Rev. Hancock. In 1750 the lad joined his childless uncle, Thomas Hancock, a wealthy Boston merchant who adopted him.

On the evening of April 18, 1775, the younger John Hancock and Samuel Adams were guests of Rev. Clarke. Fearing that they might be captured by the British, Dr. Joseph Warren of Boston dispatched William Dawes and Paul Revere to Lexington with news of the advancing British troops. Arriving separately, they stopped to warn Hancock and Adams around midnight, then set off for Concord.

This house contains furnishings and portraits owned by the Hancock and Clarke families and an exhibit area that includes relics of April 19, 1775.