George Hitchcock was born in 1812 in Great Barrington, Massachusetts - the sixth of eleven children. His father David, was of English descent, while his mother, Sarah, was of Dutch descent. He father was a poet & wrote two volumes of satirical verse. He was also a shoe maker by trade. In 1830, David & Sarah, along with 8 children started West.
In 1834, George married Caroline Grossman, & by 1839 the family had moved into Iowa Territory. George & Caroline went on to have 8 children.
George, desiring to by a minister like his two brothers, started college in Illinois. He was only able to attend a couple of years due to a chronic lung disease. Though he did not finish college, he did take 2 more years of informal, but quite rigorous study, being mentored by his younger brother Allen, and Reverend Julius Reed, a Congregational minister at Fairfield. George passed his studies & was commissioned by the American Home Missionary Society in 1844. His first commission was in Oskaloosa, IA. He then went on to Eddyville, IA & then became a circuit preacher serving settlements along the Des Moines River.
In 1853, the now Revered Hitchcock recieved a commission to start a church near what is now Lewis, IA. He & Caroline, along with their 6 children at that time, moved to the area, & built a log cabin on the east side of the Nishnabotna River - about 3/4 of a mile west of what would become the town of Lewis. In 1855 Revered Hitchcock established the Congregational Church, most likely with first meetings in their log cabin. The roots of that church remain in Lewis today, having merged with the United Methodist Church in 1971. It is now known as the United Congregational Methodist Church.
In an article published in 1903, Deacon Adams, who had been a 'conductor' on the Underground Railroad from Mills County, IA wrote: "Stealthily we made our way in a northeasterly direction, staying the night near Lewis in Cass County. Here we took breakfast on the morning of July 6th (1854) with a Methodist (sic) missionary named Hitchcock who was stationed at a place called "Injun Town" (all records show that Rev. Hitchcock was a Congregational minister, not Methodist as in this account)
From this statement by Deacon Adams, it's clear that the Hitchocock's were active in the Underground Railroad from the time they arrived in Cass County. At this early date, there was no way of anticipating the Civil War & the emancipation of slaves. Therefore, when Rev. Hitchcock was in the process of building his "big house" in 1856, he felt it necessary to build a secret room in the basement to allow 'freedom seekers' a refuge on their journey to freedom in the Northern states & Canada.
George Hitchcock was born in Great Barrington, Massachusetts
George marries Caroline Grossman
George Hitchcock commissioned by the American Home Missionary Society