JOHN HANCOCK (1737-1793). Hancock was the first Signer of the Declaration of Independence, a Revolutionary Era leader and a Massachusetts Governor. An early convert to the independence movement, Hancock was considered one of the most dangerous of the revolutionaries by the British. As president of the Continental Congress from 1775 to 1777, he gained fame for the boldness with which he signed the Declaration of Independence. He served as President of the Massachusetts constitutional convention in 1780, then as the state's first governor from 1780 to 1785 and from 1787 until his death. In 1788, he presided over the Massachusetts convention called to ratify the Constitution.