He completed preparatory studies and became a surveyor and a school teacher.
Not to be confused with John Hathorne, ancestor of Nathaniel Hawthorne. He was a captain in the local colonial militia, and became a colonel of the Fourth Orange County (New York) Regiment February 7, 1776, and served throughout the Revolutionary War. He was one of the commanders of the Battle of Minisink.
After the war, on September 26, 1786, Hathorn became a brigadier general of the Orange County militia, and on October 8, 1793, a major general of state militia.
Hathorn was a member from Orange County of the New York State Assembly in 1778, 1780, from 1782 to 1785, in 1795 and 1805, and served as Speaker in 1784. He was elected to the Confederation Congress in December 1788 but did not attend because it soon become defunct.
In March 1789, he was elected to the First United States Congress, and served from April 23, 1789, to March 3, 1791. He was elected as a Democratic-Republican to the Fourth United States Congress, and served from March 4, 1795 to March 3, 1797.
Hathorn engaged in mercantile pursuits until the time of his death.
He was buried in Warwick Cemetery. His stone house still stands on Hathorn Road, with his and his wife"s initials worked in red brick on the south gable of the house. In World World War II, the United States liberty ship Steamship John Hathorn was named in his honor.
Member of New York Assembly, 1778, 80, 82-85, 95, 1805, speaker, 1783-1784. Member of New York Senate, 1786-1790, 99-1803. Member of council of appointment, 1787, 89.
Member United States House