Date: Thu Sep 16 00:02:08 EDT 1999
Subject: A.Word.A.Day--John Hancock

John Hancock (jon HAN-kok) noun

A person's signature.

[After John Hancock 1737-1793. American politician and Revolutionary
leader. He was president of the Continental Congress (1775-1777) and the
first to sign the Declaration of Independence. Hancock later served nine
terms as governor of Massachusetts (1780-1785 and 1787-1793). (From the
prominence of his signature on the Declaration of Independence).]

Few of us remember the courage it took to sign the Declaration of Independence. John Hancock knew the danger, and his signing his name in large letters put him at added risk.
From the Internet:
Five signers were captured by the British as traitors, and tortured before they died. Twelve had their homes ransacked and burned. Two lost their sons serving in the Revolutionary Army; another had two sons captured. Nine of the 56 fought and died from wounds or hardships of the Revolutionary War.