Archives of Maryland
(Biographical Series)

Alexander Contee Hanson, Sr. (1749-1806)
MSA SC 3520-585


Born October 22, 1749 in Frederick County, Maryland.  Son of John Hanson (1721-1783) and Jane (Contee) Hanson (1728-1812).  Attended the College of Philadelphia; later studied law.  Married Rebecca Howard (1758-1806) on June 4, 1778.  Children:  Charles Wallace (born c. 1784, m. Rebecca Dorsey Carnan), Alexander Contee, Jr. (1786-1819), Mary Jane (d. 1815, m. Thomas Peabody Grosvenor).  Resided on Church Street in Annapolis, Maryland, c. 1778-1806.  Died in Annapolis on January 16, 1806 of apoplexy.

Alexander Contee Hanson was a lawyer admitted to the Frederick County Court, the Provincial Court, and the Charles County Court in 1773.  The following year he was admitted to practice in the Prince George's County Court.  He was a member of the Annapolis Convention from Frederick County for the first session in 1774.  In 1774 and 1775 he was elected to the Committee of Observation in Frederick County.  He served as assistant private secretary to General George Washington in 1776.  He served as clerk of the Maryland Senate, elected in 1777 and resigning in 1778.  He was judge of the General Court from 1778 to 1789, and a judge on the Court of Oyer and Terminer in Frederick County in 1783. He compiled the Laws of Maryland that was published in Annapolis in 1787.  He authored numerous political pamphlets, and writing under the pseudonym "Aristides," he was an articulate supporter for the ratification of the U.S. Constitution.  He was a delegate to the Constitution Ratification Convention held in Annapolis in 1788.  In 1789 and in 1792 he was a presidential elector.  He served as chancellor of the state and judge of the Land Office from 1789 to his death in 1806.  He was president of St. John's College, Annapolis, in 1795.  He also compiled a volume of Maryland testamentary laws, published in 1798.

Hanson owned 364 acres of land in Frederick County and two lots in Annapolis at his first election to public office.  Before his death he patented 64 acres and sold at least 109 acres in Frederick County.  He rented two lots in Annapolis from 1775 to 1806.  He owned 11 slaves and a 97-volume library.

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