John Henry didn’t sign Declaration
I’ve always wondered why one’s signature is often called one’s “John Henry.”
Even in early childhood, I would often hear such phrases as: “Put your John Henry right here.”
When I learned that the most conspicuous of signatures on the Declaration of Independence was that of John Hancock (above), I soon got his name confused with John Henry’s.
Then I learned that John Henry was a “steel-drivin'” railroad man of American folklore — a reference that resonated with me as a youngster in a railroad family.
But did John Henry sign the Declaration on a day off from driving steel? If not, why is his name associated with signatures?
THIS LITTLE ARTICLE says the confusion of John Henry with John Hancock is just one big mistake and that “John Henry” in reference to a signature is cowboy slang that has nothing to do with John Henry, the folk hero.
So are we clear on all this?