Joseph Hancock Jr

Primitive Park

161-175 West Main Street

Hancock, Maryland

The Mayor and Council, Town of Hancock will dedicate the Joseph Hancock Jr Primitive Park, 10:30am 16 June 2007

Park is located at 161-175 West Main Street, previous location of several residential homes which were demolished in 2001 due to continued damage by floods. Properties were purchased from property owners using Federal (FEMA), State (MEMA), Washington County and Town funds. Restoration of the area which has been designated as a Municipal Park will be used for primitive camping with campsites with grilles, benches, and picnic tables. Several apple trees have been planted by the Hancock Rotary Club adjacent to the new Town Gateway Sign.



Descendants of Joseph Hancock, Jr

Photo Courtesy of Norma Emery & Hancock News

Reaching back more than 200 years, the town of Hancock honored its namesake, Joseph Hancock, Jr., when it dedicated a park bearing his name on Saturday June 16.

"We are here to honor a Revolutionary War hero," Mayor Dan Murphy told a crown of about 50 people-including descendants of Joseph Hancock Jr., - who came out

to watch the official unveiling of the brick welcome sign that fronts the park.

Recounting the events leading up to the park dedication, Murphy said the land on which the park sits once held six homes, all of which underwent repeated flooding

given their elevation and proximity to the river.

When houses, some dating back to 1936, "became gambles for their owner," according to Murphy, town and emergency management officials at state and federal level

began looking at ways to purchase the blighted properties. Funds secured through that effort enabled the town to help those residents relocate and at the same time to

obtain the property for its current use as a recreational area. Murphy said that he believes the park enhances the aesthetics of the community and renders Hancock's

Main Street more attractive.

Citing what was once a mystery surrounding the origins of the town's name, Murphy explained how various conversations and research, some of which was conducted

by members of the Hancock Historical Society, traced the town's lineage to Joseph Hancock, Jr. Once the historical society pinned down the name of the individual who

gave Hancock its name, society representatives asked the town to name the park after Joseph Hancock, Jr, who was born in 1758 and died in 1834. Hancock, who with his

father operated a ferry on the Potomac River in the 18th century, was also a Revolutionary War Soldier in the 8th Pennsylvania Regiment of the Continental Army.

"Today." said Murphy, "we literally put in stone the name of the guy our town is named after."

On hand for the unveiling were numerous townspeople and county and local official - past and present - who contributed to the park's design and construction. Descendants

of Joseph Hancock, Jr, most of whom traveled hundreds of miles to participate, officially unveiled the patriotic draping covering the sign. Local descendants of Joseph

Hancock, Jr, who attended the event were Jerry Bowen, a third-great-grandson of Joseph Hancock, Jr, and his wife, Mary Bowen of Hagerstown. Rhonda Williams, a fourth great-granddaughter of Hancock, her husband Dick Williams, and their grandson, Isaac, traveled to Hancock from Muncie, Indiana to view the dedication. Also from

Indiana were Linda Shelton, another fourth great-granddaughter and her husband, Dick Shelton.

Bruce Hancock, who spoke at the ceremony about the life of Joseph Hancock, Jr. and his wife, Marcheta Hancock, came to town from Rochester Hills, Michigan. Bruce

Hancock is a fourth great-grandson of Joseph Hancock, Jr.

During the dedication speech, Murphy pointed out the grove of 12 apple trees that were planted at the park and donated by the Hancock Rotary Club to commemorate

Hancock's long history as what Murphy called "the fruit basket of Maryland". Other features of the park include benches provided by local groups and individuals as

well as six campsites. Murphy told the audience that more campsites may follow as the need develops. Murphy also said that among planned improvements to the park

are enhancements to the parking area, a set of bathhouses with showers and restrooms, and a small pavilion. Another historical marker about Joseph Hancock, Jr. will

also be installed in the park at a later date.

Article written by Norma Emery and published in the Hancock News, 21 June 2007-Reprinted with their permission

Work is continuing at the Joseph Hancock Jr Park. In addition to the apple trees planted by the Hancock Rotary Club

a new pavillion has been constructed by the Hancock Lion's Club. Additional upgrades to the park are scheduled.

More camping tent pads will be prepared, bar-b-q grills and picnic tables will be available along with an improved

parking area and an access entrance to the Western Maryland Rail Trail that is adjacent to the park.


Park Center-Main Street


Park Entrance Sign-----------Rotary Apple Orchard-----------Lion's Club Pavillion


Lion's Pavillion......................Primitive Camping Area


Primitive Park - overnight camping - tent pods - BBQ grills - picnic tables

Individuals and groups that are interested in

use of the park should contact the Town Office at 301-678-5622 or

e-mail at to make reservations:

Guaranteed use of New Pavilion requires reservation and fee of $45.00



Rules and regulations for use of park to be developed by Hancock Parks and Recreational Committee