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Settlement of the area that was to become Hancock began along the Contoocook River, in a region known as Society Land or Cumberland, which had been reserved for the proprietors of land that would become New Hampshire. Settled around 1764, the Hancock was initially part of Peterborough, becoming independent in 1779, and named for John Hancock, who was a landowner in the area, the first governor of the state of Massachusetts, president of the Continental Congress, and a signer of the Declaration of Independence. Nearly every building on Main Street is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, including Hancock’s Meetinghouse, which contains Paul Revere’s #226 bell, which chime on the hour, day and night. The town does not have paved sidewalks, but gravel paths leading from home to home.



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