The Ticonderoga Historical Society has received the donation of a table that was once in the “banqueting hall” of the original John Hancock mansion in Boston. The table was the gift of Benn and Claire Eilers of Bend, Oregon. Benn Eilers is a descendant of Hancock’s sister-in-law, Sarah Quincy.
With leaves that extend to 30 feet, the table is constructed of birds-eye walnut, a relatively rare wood. It is believed that George Washington dined at the table while visiting the Hancock House in Boston in 1789, during Hancock’s time as Governor of Massachusetts.
The original Hancock House was constructed in 1737 by Thomas Hancock, an uncle of famed signer of the Declaration of Independence John Hancock. Hancock inherited the house upon his uncle’s death and in the 1860s the house was razed, despite protests from historians and preservationists.
Ticonderoga native son Horace Moses orchestrated the building of the Ticonderoga Hancock House in 1925, choosing to replicate the architecturally significant Boston home. In 1926, Moses donated to the New York State Historical Association (NYSHA), founded in Lake George in 1899. The Hancock House served as the Association’s headquarters until 1944, when NYSHA moved to Cooperstown following a substantial gift by Stephen Carlton Clark – the basis of the Fenimore Art Museum. NYSHA no longer exists.
The table is now on display in the parlor of the Hancock House in Ticonderoga and may be viewed daily from 10 am until 4 pm until Labor Day. As resources become available, the table is expected to interpret a colonial table setting in John Hancock’s home.
Founded in 1897 and chartered in 1909, the Ticonderoga Historical Society advances the preservation and interpretation of history through its collections, programs and community outreach. For more information, visit their webpage.
Photo: John Hancock’s Table, courtesy Hancock House.