This research paper concerning the military history of Joseph Hancock, Jr. during the American Revolutionary War was motivated by a strong desire to understand the historical period that defined this country and an avid curiosity regarding this ancestor’s contribution to American independence. The author also had a desire to leave a historical legacy for descendants, descendants of the men in the Pennsylvania 8th Regiment, and historical societies that are interested in these men. This research paper is thus published for a limited audience of interested parties and is not a commercial for profit endeavor. A number of excellent publications were used and are credited as references in the bibliography. Joseph Hancock ’s military history is therefore integrated, to the level of detail possible, in history derived from sources of published and public information. Reading some of these publications is highly recommended.
The author wishes to thank a number of individuals that have contributed immensely to this work. First is grandfather, Homer Hancock, of Pontiac Michigan, who instilled an interest in the study of Hancock family history, a subject he investigated. Thanks to family records he was able to construct a family tree that aided immensely in the research for this manuscript. Distant cousin, Jerry Bowen, of Hagerstown Maryland, a descendant of Joseph Hancock’s second wife, published a book entitled “Joseph Hancock of Revolutionary War Fame.” It provided an excellent history of Joseph’s life and the important anchor points from which this author was able to do research. Cousin Leona Falls, of Yorktown Indiana, his been an avid family researcher and has assisted in several important ways. First, she was given the text of this research paper as it was composed and provided invaluable suggestions and corrections. She also showed my sister and me where the family burial sites are located. From burial information, Homer’s family tree is validated through the direct descendants of Joseph Hancock, Jr. to the author. Marion Golden, of Hancock Maryland, a founding member of the Hancock Historical Society and a descendant of Joseph’s first Captain, Andrew Mann, has been of great help and inspiration. It is likely the town’s name evolved from the area once known as Hancock’s Ferry, then Hancock’s Town, and eventually Hancock. Joseph Hancock ran the local ferry from which the name originated prior to the later enlisting in the Pennsylvania 8th Regiment in August of 1776, Marion has provided valuable documentation and personal insight concerning the Hancock history in the town.
The paper is focused on Joseph’s military history. There are numerous opportunities for further research, including the genealogy of Joseph Hancock Sr., and what Joseph Hancock did for the decade following the War, before purchasing his first property near in Kentucky, and detailed documentation of Joseph’s post-military history, farming and raising a family in Maysville Kentucky, Centerville Ohio, and Wayne County Indiana.
This paper was designed to tell a story of one rank-and-file man who was, along with a few thousand others, essential to the success of American liberation from British colonial rule. It does not debate all of the nuances of historical fact but reflects what the author believes to be the mainstream thinking or evidence contained in the sources used. Further research may require revision of some of the text as old documents from the period are discovered and released providing new insight. Therefore, from time to time this manuscript may be improved with new or more complete information. Anyone interested in contributing to this work is encouraged to contact the author.
Bruce T. Hancock
528 Oxford Ct.
Rochester Hills, MI 48307