Wednesday, February 3, 2021

Hancock, New Hampshire Town Hall - Weathervane Wednesday

 Today's weathervane was photographed in Hancock, New Hampshire.

The Hancock town hall is on the common, across from the Congregational Church and the Pine Ridge Cemetery.  The first "meetinghouse" was the church across the street, with it's bell made by Paul Revere, built in 1790, and the bell tower added later.  In 1871 the church and town government separated, and the town hall was built across the street. According to The History of Hancock, New Hampshire page 288, "W. S. Carkin, who [it is conjectured] contributed the elegant weather-vane, so useful as ornamental, which now rests on the cupola of this structure".  The new building served as a school, as well as for meetings and town offices. 

The town separated from Peterborough in 1779 and was named after John Hancock. He owned land in what is now the center of town. The first settler in Hancock was John Grimes, a Scots Irish man from Londonderry. He settled in Hancock in 1764 for a brief time, but returned to Londonderry.  

In the 2010 census there were 204 people residing in the main village (the junction of NH state routes 123 and 137) and a total of 1,654 in the town of Hancock.  My 5th great grandparents, John Emerson and Catharine Eaton, removed from Massachusetts to Hancock after the Revolutionary War.  In 1790 the population of the town was 634 people, then it jumped up to 1,184 around the time of their deaths (1809).  The population of the town dropped during the Civil War and reached a low of 531 in 1920.  The estimate for 2017 (according to Wikipedia) has dropped again down to 1,640.  None of John and Catherine Emerson's eleven children lived in Hancock (or even New Hampshire) after marriage - they all removed to distant places such as Vermont, Massachusetts, New York, and Ohio.  Farming the stony soil in the hills of the Monadnock region of New Hampshire was not profitable. 

As you can read above, the weathervane above the cupola on the Hancock town hall dates from about 1871.  It is a scrollwork weathervane, probably mass produced in a local New England factory, which was a common product in this time period.  Scroll weathervanes were popular, replacing the banner weathervanes of the eighteenth century. This arrow style scroll features a heart shaped tail. 

For the Truly Curious:

The History of Hancock, New Hampshire: 1764 - 1889, by William Willis Hayward, 1889

The Town of Hancock, New Hampshire website:  

Hancock, New Hampshire Congregational Church - Weathervane Wednesday:   


To Cite/Link to this post:  Heather Wilkinson Rojo, "Hancock, New Hampshire Town Hall - Weathervane Wednesday", Nutfield Genealogy, posted February 3, 2021, ( accessed [access date]). 

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