Notes on collections at the RIHS
He was born on March 3, 1744 in Springfield, Massachusetts, and came to Providence after the Revolutionary War. When fighting broke out between the colonies and Great Britain in 1775, Hitchcock felt compelled to join the army. He served as chaplain of the Continental Army from 1779-1780 in the following regiments: 3rd Continental Infantry, 10th Massachusetts and Patterson’s Massachusetts Brigade. Following the end of the war, Rev. Hitchcock preached in different communities until he finally settled in Providence, R.I. as the pastor of the First Congregational Church in 1783. Here he became an active member in the Benevolent Congregational Society, which was also referred to as the First Congregational Society interchangeably.
Rev. Hitchcock received his doctorate from Brown University in 1788 and maintained close connections with the school throughout his life. He was also involved in the cause of education, along with President James Manning (1738-1791) of Brown University, Moses Brown (1738-1836) and other prominent Providence citizens. By the time of his death, he was successful in obtaining the establishment of a public school system in Providence. Besides this endeavor, Rev. Hitchcock was a member of the Pennsylvania Society for Promoting the Abolition of Slavery. He himself had purchased a man from slavery, Ceasar Hitchcock, whom he manumitted and remembered in his last will and testament for his faithful service. Rev. Hitchcock died in Providence, R.I. on February 27, 1803.
Portions of his diaries were published by the RIHS in 1899, and can be read online.