Barnabas Hitchcock 1785-1864

 Barnabas Hitchcock was the fourth child of Luke Hitchcock and Jerusha Prentice, born 21 Feb 1785, in Rockingham, Windham, New Hampshire Grants [now Vermont], USA. 

When Barnabas was very young, his father moved the family to Littleton, New Hampshire, USA where they lived until at least the end of 1789 while Luke served on a town committee.

We next find Luke Hitchcock and family in Swanton, Chittenden, Vermont in the 1790 U.S. Federal Census which was actually taken in 1791 after Vermont became a state on 4 March 1791. Barnabas would have been 6 years old.

Barnabas 12 moved with his parents and siblings to Lower Canada, Seigneury of St Armand in 1797 according to the 1842 Census of Lower Canada, Missisquoi County, Township of Stanbridge, images 26 & 27.

In early 1798, Barnabas 13 heard the Methodist, Hezekiah Calvin Wooster who was on his way home to Connecticut, preach, probably in Dunham, Lower Canada (Quebec, Canada), and was "awakened" to a sense of sin. Three years later, in 1801, at the age of 16, he was "converted" by turning away from sin and cleaving to God. Case and His Cotemporaries or the Canadian Itinerants' Memorial: Constituting a Biographical History of Methodism in Canada From its Introduction into the Province, till the Death of Rev. William Case in 1855, Vol IV, p. 182 

On 1 Sep 1801, Luke Hitchcock, Barnabas' father, was granted 1000 acres of land on the 4th and 9th Ranges in the Township of Stanbridge, Lower Canada. 

In 1804, Barnabas Hitchcock 19 and Jane McKinney (McKenny) 17 were married. She was born in 1787 and was the oldest of 8 children, the daughter of Peter McKinney (McKinnie, McKenny)  and Anne Hodgkinson ?-1838. 

Barnabas and Jane go on to have 6 children: Luke 1805-aft 1880, Peter McKinney 1807-1898, Edward 1809-1889, Prentice 1814-1837, Barnabas 1815-1911 and Jane 1824-1908.

On 27 Aug 1810, before Leon Lalanne, Notary, Barnabas Hitchcock 25, Blacksmith, received the original lease for Lot Number 7 in Missisquoi Bay, Seigneury of St Armand (present-day Philipsburg, Quebec, Canada) from Philip Ruiter "for and in consideration of the annual and perpetual rent of one pound ten shillings [£1.10s or 30s]...payable yearly on the first day of May..." (Leon Lalanne, Notarial Record). Philip Ruiter, for whom Philipsburg was named, was land agent for Thomas Dunn, Seigneur of St Armand. Missisquoi Bay (Philipsburg, Que.), George H. Montgomery, 1950, p. 49. The boys would have been: Luke 5, Peter 3 and Edward 1.


From Missisquoi Bay (Philipsburg, Que.), 1950, p. 47


In 1811, Barnabas Hitchcock 26 was "licensed as an exhorter" (Case, Vol IV, p. 182) by Samuel Draper, Presiding Elder of Champlain District, New York Conference, of which Dunham Circuit was a part. Minutes of the Annual Conferences of the Methodist Episcopal Church 1773-1828 p. 201. This was a lay position giving Barnabas permission to hold prayer meetings to "arouse to a sense of duty". This license needed to be renewed annually.  Cyclopedia of Methodism: Embracing Sketches of its Rise, Progress, and Present Condition, With Biographical Notices and Numerous Illustrations, 1881 p. 351.


War of 1812 

On 19 June 1812, U.S. President James Madison signed the act from Congress of 18 June 1812 declaring war on the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland and the dependencies thereof.  "Canada became the battleground."


From  The Library of Congress


Unofficial word of the American Declaration of War reached Sir George Prevost, governor-in-chief of British North America and commander of British forces in North America, on Thursday 25 June 1813 in Quebec City, Lower Canada. Prevost met with the Executive Council of Lower Canada the next day. "...I have received by Express from Montreal of a Declaration of War having taken place against Great Britain by the Government of the United States. Although the Information cannot be considered as authentic until I shall have received from His Majesty's Minister at Washington an Official Report of the Event still I deem it expedient to bring the subject thus early before you..."  Select British Documents of the Canadian War of 1812, Vol I, 1920, The Champlain Society, p. 195-196.

The Militia Acts for Lower Canada required all males between the ages of 16 and 60 to serve in the militia of the parish, township or seigneury in which they resided, in the event of "insurrection, invasion or imminent danger." An Act for the Better Regulation of the Militia 1812, The Provincial Statutes of Lower-Canada, Vol. 7, p. 118. The Townships of Stanbridge and Dunham and the Seigneury of St Armand were organized as the Townships Fourth Battalion Sedentary Militia, the Townships' six battalions being one of three divisions in the Three Rivers (Trois-Rivières) District. The Militia at the Battle of the Châteauguay, A Social History, Michelle Guitard, 1983 p. 15. The Townships Fourth Battalion was called out by General Order issued at Montreal, 27 September 1813. Select British Documents..., Vol. II, p. 374-376. 


Lower Canada Sedentary Militiaman 1813

 (Canadian Military History Gateway) 

Barnabas Hitchcock - War of 1812 map


 Map from Missisquoi Museum's Maps Project


For the settlers of the Eastern Townships, many of whom traded with and had roots, family and friends in the United States, the "issues of the war" seemed far removed.  From Isle aux Noix to Chateauguay. A Study of the Military Operations on the Frontier of Lower Canada in 1812 and 1813, presented to the Royal Society of Canada May 28th 1913, Part I, Colonel E. A. Cruikshank, p. 140 wrote "...the inhabitants of the frontier townships in Vermont and Lower Canada had voluntarily entered into a mutual agreement to abstain from molesting one another." This "neutrality" frustrated U. S. Major General Wade Hampton who charged Colonel Isaac Clark to commence a "petty war". Records of the Governor and Council of the State of Vermont, Vol VI , p. 485. On the night of Monday to Tuesday 11-12 Oct 1813, Colonel Clark and his men sailed into Missisquoi Bay, first to Caldwell's Manor on the west side, then to the east side to attack Philipsburg. According to From Isle aux Noix..., May 26, 1914, Part II, p. 74. "...about 100 men of the Fourth Battalion of the Eastern Townships had assembled there two or three days before..."  After a brief skirmish in which Private Lawrence Sornberger was killed and some wounded, the militia surrendered (Men of Today in the Eastern Townships 1917, p. 42) and 101 men were taken prisoner, marched to Swanton, Vermont and then put on boats to Burlington, VermontRecords of the Governor and Council of the State of Vermont, Vol VI , p. 486. A reporter observed, " I have just seen Colonel Clark's prisoners, who were paraded through this town. They are a motley crew of farmers, citizens, tavern-keepers, traders, etc.; not a regular soldier among them. They were surprised in their beds." The War of 1812, Land Operations, George F. G. Stanley, 1983, p. 249.





 The Quebec Mercury, Tuesday, October 19, 1813, p. 6


The Vermont Mirror [Middlebury, Vermont], Wednesday, October 20, 1813, p. 3 




Plattsburgh [New York] Republican, October 30, 1813, p. 3 



 Columbian Patriot [Middlebury, Vermont] Wednesday, October 20, 1813, p. 3


The Pittsfield Sun [Massachusetts], Thursday, November 4, 1813, p. 3

 *Greenbush Military Cantonment, Rensselaer, New York, Headquarters of the Northern Division of the U. S. Army

Barnabas Hitchcock 28, Sergeant, and his brother Prentice 25, Private, were among those taken prisoner on 12 Oct 1813. According to British War Records, they were held at the prisoner depot in the military cantonment at Pittsfield, Massachusetts until they were delivered to Captain Louis Ritter of the Frontier Light Infantry at Odelltown (near present-day Lacolle, Quebec) on 1 Feb 1814. 

In response to our query, The National Archives in Washington, DC were "unable to locate a reference" to Barnabas Hitchcock or his brother, Prentice, as prisoners of war, saying that the records of the War of 1812 are "fragmentary and incomplete" and that fires "contributed to record loss". 


 Meanwhile, on 19 Oct 1813, Philip Ruiter, justice of the peace and brother of one of the prisoners, wrote to the Rev. Charles Stewart, Church of England minister for St Armand, asking him to speak to Governor-in-Chief Prevost about a prisoner exchange for the militiamen. Stewart complied and, on 25 Oct 1813, received a response from Lieutenant-Colonel Edward Brabazon Brenton, " With regard to the unfortunate men taken at Missisquoi Bay His Excellency desires me to say, that you have his authority to signify to the Commanding Officer at Burlington that upon their release an equal number of the Militia of the United States, who were allowed to go home on their parole, will be struck off the list of Prisoners of War, and considered exchanged." The Life of the Right Reverend, The Honourable Charles James Stewart, Thomas R Millman, 1953, p. 28. On 5 Nov 1813, Stewart wrote to the command of the Burlington Cantonment with the offer and received a reply on 12 Nov 1813 from Lieutenant-Colonel Moody Bedel, "...had the letter arrived before they were marched away and their names sent to the War Office, [your] 'wishes might have been answered'." The application for exchange now had to go to the Office of Commissary General of Prisoners. In late November, the men marched back to Burlington to await their exchange. Loyalties in Conflict, A Canadian Borderland in War and Rebellion 1812-1840, J. I. Little, 2008, p. 39. 


The Geneva [NewYork] Gazette, Wednesday, December 1, 1813, p. 



List of British Prisoners of War now at Burlington, in hopes of being exchanged.                              November 20, 1813

Major Powell,             of the 4th battalion Township militia [L. C.]

Captain J. Ruiter,                      "

Lieutenant Adj. Luke,                 "             

Lieut. John Reychand [sic],        "

Ensign George Willis,                "

Ensign Christian Snyder,            "

Ensign John Waggoner             "








 The Montreal Herald, Saturday, December 18, 1813, p. 1


On 6 December 1813, Philip Ruiter was issued a pass to enter the United States to take some articles and supplies to the prisoners in Burlington. On 8 December 1813, he received a letter asking for "Flanels, Casiners, Vestings, Linens, Broad Cloths, Handkerchiefs, and Stockings" signed by 11 prisoners at Burlington: John Baxter, John Jones, George Lawes, Philip Luke Jr, J. B. Powell, William Powers, John Rickert (sic), John Ruiter, Christian Snyder, John Waggoner and Titus Williams. Missisquoi Bay, p. 98  On 10 December 1813, Philip Ruiter wrote to the Honourable Thomas Dunn, seigneur of St Armand and a former judge, administrator of Lower Canada and senior member of the Executive Council, to inform him of the state of affairs. Missisquoi Bay, p. 97-98. See Ruiter Papers, Public Archives of Canada.

The advertisement below offered a reward for 6 men who escaped, Barnabas Hitchcock being one of them. They must have left after signing the letter to Philip Ruiter dated 8 December 1813. We must point out that Jane McKinney, Barnabas' wife, was pregnant with their 4th son, Prentice, born 8 March 1814.


 Northern Sentinel [Burlington, Vermont] Friday, January 21, 1814p. 4,


Prisoners, while awaiting exchange, could give their parole d'honneur or their word of honour and lessen the restrictions of their detainment. According to the Cartel for the Exchange of Prisoners of War Between Great Britain and the United States of America, "made and concluded" at Halifax, Nova Scotia and signed at Washington on 12 May 1813 by John Mason, Commissary General for prisoners for the United States and Thomas Barclay, his Britannic Majesty's agent for Prisoners of war, a certificate was to be granted to each prisoner outlining the rules conditional to his parole. 


In January 1814, Brigadier General William H Winder who had been captured at the Battle of Stoney Creek on 6 June 1813, was granted a parole by Sir George Prevost allowing him to go home with the stipulation that he return by 15 March 1814. Winder came back with a letter from Secretary of State James Monroe to Sir George Prevost "in which a mutual exchange of prisoners was solicited" and giving Winder the  authority to negotiate a general exchange. The Pictorial Field-Book of the War of 1812, Benson J Lossing, 1868, p. 789  These talks took place with Adjutant General Edward Baynes at Dewey's Tavern just south of the line on the road between Odelltown, Lower Canada and Champlain, New York in the spring and summer of 1814. The War of 1812 in the Champlain Valley, Allan S. Everest, 1981, p. 85-86.

On 27 Jan 1814, orders were issued at Montreal and a prisoner exchange took place on 1 Feb 1814. Loyalties in Conflict, p. 40



On Tuesday last [1 Feb 1814], 74 American militia prisoners taken at Lewistown, Buffalo, and Black Rock, left this place in sleighs for Odletown, escorted by a party of the XIX Light Dragoons, as exchanges for some of our militia and fellow citizens, who had been basely carried off by the enemy in their marauding incursions into our territory. Thus has RETALIATION had its proper effect.


 The Montreal Herald, Saturday, February 5, 1814, p. 2


Plattsburgh [New York] Republican, Saturday, February 5, 1814, p. 2


The following passage confirms Barnabas Hitchcock's escape (Case Vol II, p. 18-19),  

"Barnabas Hitchcock, a powerful exhorter, then resided in Montreal [1815] and conducted the business of blacksmith, who had served in the militia during the war, and who had also been taken prisoner by the Americans, and only obtained his liberty by escaping from his guards, and stopping in the woods by day, and travelling in the bye-paths at night, until he got within the Canadian lines..."

Barnabas knew his way having spent part of his childhood in Swanton and Georgia, Vermont, and his brother, Luke and family, may have been living in Highgate, Vermont. (There is no Luke Hitchcock listed in State of Vermont, Roster of Soldiers in the War of 1812-14. It must have taken several nights, travelling on foot in winter conditions, to reach safety. Burlington to the Canadian border is about 43 miles or 70 kilometers. 

The Quebec Gazette, Thursday, January 27, 1814, p. 2  


 Vermont 1810-1814

Muster Rolls and Pay Lists 

The Sedentary Militia received the same pay as the regular army when it was on active service - sixpence a day, with officers paid the equivalent rate as their counterparts. The Militia at the Battle of the Châteauguay, A Social History, Michelle Guitard, 1983 p. 52.


The Militia at the Battle of the Châteauguay, A Social History, Michelle Guitard, 1983, p. 52

Nominal Rolls and Pay Lists for the Townships Fourth Battalion have been digitized and are available at The men were paid on a monthly basis at "army pay", most starting 23 September 1813 and on through their active service including those held as prisoners; some "returned home" in December 1813, others were exchanged in February 1814 and three officers were still captive in March 1814.

Barnabas (Barney as he was called in the records) was part of the group who "returned home" or escaped, as was stated above in the Burlington newspaper. Prentice Hitchcock was also on the December list. We believe they were officially exchanged in February 1814.



Prince Regent's Bounty Land, Province of Lower Canada   

In 1818, the Prince Regent directed that "grants of land should be made to certain persons who had served in the militia of the Province, during the last war with the United States of America", namely, those who had been called up to active service. The applications had to be made by 1 May 1823. The deadline was extended twice to 1 May 1824 and, then, to 1 August 1830 to accommodate the demand, inconvenience and problems associated with the system for disposal of the land grants. The Report and Despatches of the Earl of Durham: Her Majesty's High Commissioner and Governor-General of British North America, 1839, p. 337.

The militiaman had to apply for a location ticket in writing and include his demobilization paper or a recommendation from one of his officers. Once received, he had three years to clear and cultivate four acres of land and build a dwelling house to prove residency. With the proof, he could request the patent or title for his land. The applicant had to pay fees: 1) for the request - 15s6d, 2) the location ticket - 17s6d, and 3) the survey and the title which were based on the number of acres. The land was allotted according to rank:  lieutenant colonel - 1200 acres, captain - 800 acres, major - 800 acres, subaltern - 500 acres, sergeant - 200 acres, soldier - 100 acres. Lands were granted, initially, in the following Eastern Townships: Weedon, Dudswell, Ham, Chester, Wolfstown, Ireland, Halifax, Inverness, Leeds, Tring, Broughton, Jersey, Shenley, and, later, in Cranbourne, Warwick, Brandon, Caxton, Horton, Kilkenny and Stanfold. The Militia at the Battle of the Châteauguay..., p. 97.

The eligible men from the Townships Fourth Battalion having been called into active service on 27 September 1813, and, many of whom were held as prisoners of war, applied in one block and were located in the Township of Weedon.

Partial list from

Barnabas Hitchcock and his brother, Prentice, were part of the group. Both brothers received location tickets dated 5 August 1830. Barnabas was assigned the 200 acres of the third lot in the third range in the Township of Weedon and, Prentice, 100 acres in the south west half of the fourth lot in the third range in the Township of Weedon. 


In Barnabas' file, there is a copy of an extract of Council approval regarding the Petition for exemption from Personal Residence on Lands: Petitioner is not bound to reside personally upon the land in question, and that the performance of the condition by any persons he may place upon it will be sufficient.  

The Letters Patent granting the land in the Township of Weedon to Barnabas Hitchcock were issued by command on 10 November 1836. The Letters Patent for Prentice Hitchcock were issued by command on 17 January 1839.

On 7 May 1838, according to the index of Daniel Thomas, Notary, of the District of St Francis where the Township of Weedon was located, Barnabas Hitchcock and others conducted a deed transaction with Thomas Reed. We do not know the details of this meeting. BAnQ



* In Pink - Lands of the B.A.L. Company, 1839, map from BAnQ

 Barnabas Hitchcock's land in the Township of Weedon became part of the holdings of the British American Land Company. See the map  and List of Unsold Lands: The Property of the British American Land Company, The Eastern Townships of Canada, District of St. Francis, Weedon, 1 June 1842, BAnQ. 



Click on map to enlarge, then move about to view the Eastern Townships.


Post War

"The dissatisfaction of the war of 1812-15 led to the withdrawal of the American Ministers, and the sending of Missionaries by the British Wesleyan Conference. In 1814 the first Minister was sent from England, and for the ensuing six years both English and American Methodism had its representative stationed in Montreal." Cyclopedia of Methodism in Canada 1880, p. 252

As previously mentioned, in 1815, Barnabas Hitchcock was working in Montreal as a blacksmith and known as a "powerful exhorter". Case (Vol II, p. 19)  goes on to say that, though Barnabas had been taken prisoner by the Americans, "yet he sided with the American preachers, and did much by his talent and liberal contributions to sustain that branch of Methodism in the city."

 Methodist Chapel 1809-1821 from St James United Church, Montreal

Barnabas Hitchcock's family was with him in Montreal where, on 8 Oct 1815, Jane and Barnabas' 5th son, Barnabas, was probably born. According to their son, the Rev. Peter M Hitchcock's, memoir, "At eight years of age he was a newsboy in the streets of Montreal." Minutes of the Annual Troy [NY] Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church 1898, p. 143.

In 1816, Barnabas Hitchcock was on a jury list in Montreal which indicates he was living in the city. (National Archives of Canada via

Barnabas was also mentioned in The First Century of Methodism in Canada, Vol. I, 1905, p. 77  for the years 1815-1817, "Montreal Methodism had some able laymen, among whom were Barnabas Hitchcock, a blacksmith and local preacher, afterwards a regular itinerant...". 

In 1819, the following notice was printed in the newspaper. 

 The Quebec Gazette, Thursday, 23d September, 1819, p. 3


According to Case (Vol IV, p. 182), Barnabas 38 was licensed as a Local Preacher in 1823. He received it "from the Rev. James Booth, then stationed in the St. Armand Circuit." (Obituary) This was an annual license enabling him to preach and, depending on the Elder, perform matrimony, administer baptism and bury the dead. He could continue to work as a blacksmith.

Barnabas Hitchcock was recalled in In Old Missisquoi: With History and Reminiscences of Stanbridge Academy, 1910, p. 16, in reference to the "old brick school-house" c1820-1854: "Within the walls of the old school-house, many an adult sinner was convinced of the error of his ways under the fervent teaching and prayers of such long-remembered local preachers as Messrs. Gage, Hart and Hitchcock...pioneers of the Methodist Church in Missisquoi County."

Barnabas Hitchcock and family were listed in the 1825 District of Bedford Census in the Township of Stanbridge (sheet 807): 1 child under age 6 (baby Jane), 2 children between 6 & under 14 (Barnabas 9 & Prentice 11), 2 children between 14 & under 18 (Edward 15 & Peter 17), 1 single male between 18 & under 25 (Luke 20), 1 married male between 25 & not 40 (Barnabas 40), 1 married female between 14 & not 45 (Jane 38) for a total of 8 in the household. We also know that all were present at the time of enumeration which took place between 20 June & 20 Sep 1825; Barnabas was not away. Listed on the census form just before Barnabas was his brother Prentis [sic]. Listed just after was his father Luke. This area was known as Hitchcock's Corner. Pike River 100 Ans de Souvenirs 1912-2012, p. 155. 

On 12 Sep 1826, Barnabas Hitchcock, Blacksmith, appeared before Leon Lalanne, Notary, and voluntarily donated Lot #7 in the village of Philipsburg in the Seigneury of St Armand to Martha Foster, wife of Enoch Gerrish, trader of St Armand, and to the heirs of her body, lawfully begotten, subject to her payment of the annual perpetual rent of £1,10s (or 30 shillings) and any arrears now due payable to the heirs of the late Philip Ruiter. Leon Lalanne, Notarial Record


  Saddle-Bags Man


Circuit Rider

Images from The Illustrated History of Methodism in Great Britain & America 1880


In 1829, Barnabas was "Received on Trial" in the Highgate, Vermont, USA Circuit. He would have been appointed there full-time. Cyclopedia of Methodism in Canada, Book I, 1881p. 100. However, in Minutes of the Annual Conferences of the Methodist Episcopal Church 1829-1839, Vol II, p. 25, 27, there was no mention of Barnabas Hitchcock on trial or in the Highgate [VT] Circuit, Plattsburg District, New York Conference.

In 1830, Barnabas 45 was ordained Deacon and assigned to the Milton, Vermont, USA Circuit where he remained in 1831. This meant that Barnabas had committed to devoting his whole time to the ministry. In addition to performing his other duties, he could now help serve Holy Communion. Cyclopedia of Methodism in Canada, Book I, 1881p. 100.  In Minutes of the Annual Conferences of the Methodist Episcopal Church 1829-1839, Vol II, p. 62, 64, Barnabas Hitchcock was a preacher stationed in the Milton [Vt] Circuit, Plattsburg District, New York Conference in 1830. He was admitted on trial and was not listed as a deacon. However, in his obituary, it said that Barnabas Hitchcock was ordained a deacon in 1830 by Bishop Hedding in New York City. The New York Conference was held 6 May 1830 in New York City and Elijah Hedding was a bishop of the Methodist Episcopal Church. Barnabas Hitchcock remained on trial in the Milton Circuit in 1831.

Example of Ordination Parchment, Deacon's Orders signed 1830.

From The First Century of Methodism in Canada, Vol I, 1908, p. 239

In the 1831 Missisquoi County Census, Township of Stanbridge, 9th Concession or Range (sheet 1259), Barnabas was not listed. His brother, Printice [sic], and his father, Luke, appear as in the Census of 1825. The property between them, where Barnabas was in 1825, is listed to Jones Snider who is not the proprietor. We think that Barnabas may have rented out his farm so that Jane and family could join him in Milton, Vermont where he was Deacon. (There is no Barnabas Hitchcock in the 1830 U.S. Census.)

In 1832, Barnabas was sent to the Essex, New York, USA Circuit. Cyclopedia of Methodism in Canada, Book I, 1881p. 100.  In Minutes of the Annual Conferences of the Methodist Episcopal Church 1829-1839, Vol II, p. 145, 148, Barnabas Hitchcock was a preacher stationed in the Westport-Essex Circuit, Middlebury District, Troy [NY] Conference where he remained on trial.  

In 1833 and 1834, Barnabas was continuing a revival in St John's, Lower Canada (now St-Jean-Sur-Richelieu, Québec, Canada). Case, Vol IV, p. 183

There was political turmoil in Upper and Lower Canada in the 1830s culminating in the Rebellions of 1837 and 1838, of which the Battle of Moore's Corner in the Seigneury of St Armand was a violent event. Conservative (constitutionalist, Tory) and reform (liberal, Patriote) elements were present throughout the Eastern Townships including the Seigneury of St Armand and the Townships of Stanbridge and Dunham. Townships Heritage Web Magazine, Part 1 & Part 2. In February 1835, the Missisquoi Constitutional Association was formed. Loyalties in Conflict, p. 64, 70. Among the members were Barnabas Hitchcock's sons, Luke and Barnabas, his brother, Prentice, Captain of the Militia, and, possibly, Barnabas himself. Their names appeared in several newspaper accounts of meetings. This paragraph, taken from the report of the meeting held 9 Feb 1835 in Frelighsburg, Seigneury of St Armand, conflates the identities of Barnabas Senior and Barnabas Junior. 

The Vindicator, Montreal, Friday, February 13, 1835, p. 2


In 1835, Barnabas was sent to Russeltown, Lower Canada. (Case, Vol IV, p. 183). This was the first year he was listed with the English Wesleyan Methodists. The University of Manchester, Methodist Collections, Index of Methodist Ministers.

In 1836 and 1837, Barnabas was assigned to the Melbourne, Lower Canada Circuit. Cyclopedia of Methodism in Canada, Book I, 1881, p. 247. But, according to Case (Vol IV, p. 183), Barnabas was in Hatley, Lower Canada. In fact, both places were in the same large circuit, about 81 kilometers or 50 miles one way from Hatley to Melbourne. The First Century of Methodism in Canada, Vol I, 1908, p. 393.  "In 1838 the Compton and Hatley circuit was said to include Hatley, the northwest corner of Barnston, Compton, Ascot, Orford, Brompton, Windsor, Melbourne, Shipton, Durham, and Kingsley [Kingsey]." Borderland Religion: The Emergence of an English-Canadian Identity 1792-1852, J.I. Little, 2004, p. 323. Also in Borderland Religion, p. 160, we find the following, " William Squire [Methodist minister in Stanstead Circuit] reported in 1836 that 'the appointment of Br. Hitchcock to the Melbourne circuit continues to be attended with Divine blessing,' "

We do not know if Jane and any of their children were with Barnabas during these years or if they returned to the farm in the Township of Stanbridge. On 4 Jan 1837,  Barnabas and Jane's son, Prentice, died at the age of 22. He is not in church records but he is in the Philipsburg Protestant Cemetery records. The Rev. Peter M Hitchcock's obituary mentions that he preached his first sermon at the funeral of his brother, Prentice. (Glens Falls, NY Morning Star, Saturday, 9 April 1898, p. 8)

In 1838, Barnabas Hitchcock 53 was ordained an Elder/Minister (Obituary) by the Rev. William Croscombe who had been stationed in Odelltown, Lower Canada in 1837 before moving to Nova Scotia in early 1838. Barnabas was authorized to administer sacraments without supervision including Holy Communion. He was appointed to the newly configured Russeltown, Lower Canada Circuit in 1838 & 1839. Cyclopedia of Methodism in Canada, Book I, 1881p. 100 & p. 292Huntingdon, Lower Canada was included in the Russeltown Circuit and Barnabas Hitchcock was noted as the first Methodist minister. The History of the County of Huntingdon and of the Seigniories of Chateaugay [sic] and Beauharnois, 1888, p. 363.

On 7 Aug 1839, Jerusha Prentice 81, Barnabas' mother, died and she was buried on 8 Aug 1839. Barnabas did not sign the register of the Methodist Church, St Armand, Lower Canada but his sister, Lovina, did.

According to Cyclopedia of Methodism in Canada, Book I, 1881p. 100, in 1840, Barnabas Hitchcock, at the age of 55, was located and ceased being a traveling minister. He had been working on contract for the Wesleyan Methodist Society but it now thought him too old to be an "assistant missionary", and, he was also married which the Society did not like for its itinerants. Borderland Religion, p. 160. Barnabas returned to his farm in the Township of Stanbridge, but the WMS kept calling on him so he continued as a salaried agent. Borderland Religion, p. 214.

In a letter to the editors of the Wesleyan, dated 3 Dec 1841, written by the Rev. J Raine, Wesleyan Mission House, Russeltown and reprinted in The British North American Wesleyan Magazine 1842, Vol. II, p. 187-189,  Barnabas Hitchcock participated in revival meetings in the Russeltown Circuit in October 1841, "We beg also gratefully to record our obligations to our beloved brother Hitchcock, who kindly responded to our call for help."

In the 1842 Census of Lower Canada, Missisquoi County, Township of Stanbridge, Barnabas Hitchcock 57 is listed as farmer & proprietor with a total of seven residents, no one absent. Prentice Hitchcock, his brother, is listed after Barnabas.

In 1843,  Barnabas Hitchcock signed the St Armand Circuit register as Minister from January to June, between the departure of Richard Hutchinson and the arrival of Hugh Montgomery.

In 1844, Barnabas Hitchcock was called to the Melbourne Circuit to fill in following the death of the minister appointed there, John RaineCase, Vol IV, p. 443. Barnabas Hitchcock signed the register as Minister from September 1844 until June 1845 when John Borland arrived.

On 6 Jul 1849, Barnabas Hitchcock signed the register of the Methodist Church, St Armand, Quebec, Canada as a witness to the burial of his brother, Prentice Hitchcock.

Starting in 1850 until his death in 1864, Barnabas Hitchcock was Supernumerary for the St Armand Circuit. He did not work full-time but did supply his services when needed. Cyclopedia of Methodism in Canada, Book I, 1881p. 100.

On 16 April 1850, Barnabas Hitchcock signed as a witness to the baptisms of his grandchildren, Prentice, Virtue Viola, Ellen Melissa and Albert Chester in the Methodist Church, St Armand, Canada East. These were the children of his son, Barnabas Hitchcock and Sarah (Sally) Montle.

 In the 1851 Agricultural Census of Canada East, Missisquoi County, Township of Stanbridge, 9th Range, Barnabas Hitchcock had 90 acres of land. His sons, Barnabas and Edward, and his niece, Cynthia Hitchcock L'hote were neighbours. 


See B Hitchcock, Mrs. L'hote and J Brown, 1864 Walling Map

In the 1851 Personal Census of Canada East, Missisquoi County, Township of Stanbridge, we found the following: Rev. Barnabas Hitchcock, Methodist Minister, 66, Jane Hitchcock 64, Edward Hitchcock 40, Peter Hitchcock 14. Peter was their grandchild. His mother, Esther Corey, died in 1842 and his father, Luke Hitchcock, remarried and moved to the United States.

Jane McKinney 66 died 6 Sep 1853 and was buried 8 Sep 1853 in the Philipsburg Protestant Cemetery near her son, Prentice (He has no headstone.). Barnabas signed as a witness. The record was in the Dunham Methodist Church and not St Armand. There is an asterisk next to her name.



In 1854, Barnabas Hitchcock was Supernumerary for the Shefford and Granby, Canada East, Circuit. Cyclopedia of Methodism in Canada, Book I, 1881p. 100

In a letter between brothers Wilbur Fisk Hitchcock and Peter McKinney Hitchcock, Barnabas' grandchildren by his son Luke, dated 7 June 1854, Wilbur says, "I am glad to hear that Grandfather is about again & getting well."

On 23 Jan 1855, Barnabas Hitchcock, Senr., 69 Widower of Stanbridge, County of Missisquoi, Minister of the Gospel, and Sarah (Sally) Stone (1795-1885), Widow of Abel Adams (1783-1849), of St Armand in the same county, were married by Licence in the Methodist Church, St Armand, Canada East in the presence of the subscribing witnesses: James Norris, Wes. Minister, S.W. Stone, W.L. Holsapple.  

In 1855, Barnabas Hitchcock was Supernumerary for the Dunham, Canada East, Circuit. Cyclopedia of Methodism in Canada, Book I, 1881p. 100.

 In his letter dated 26 April 1856, Wilbur Fisk Hitchcock mentions receiving a letter from Grandfather (Barnabas Hitchcock). In another letter dated 18 July 1856, Wilbur mentions that Grandfather may be willing to assist Peter. Barnabas wrote to Peter on 4 Aug 1856 from Pigeon Hill. He had left his farm and moved with his second wife, Sally, to Pigeon Hill in the Seigneury of St Armand, about 10 miles or 16 kilometers away. This was where she had lived with her first husband and had a house.

See B Hitchcock, upper left corner    1864 Walling Map


On 8 Nov 1856, Barnabas Hitchcock, Minister, "that for and [in] consideration of the love and affection [he] bears to his Daughter the said Jane Hitchcock, wife of John Brown, and for divers other good and valid consideration hath given to [her] 50 acres situated in the south half of Lot #5 in the 9th Range in the Township of Stanbridge [for her] sole and separate use free from the interference and control of her present or any future husband, and to her heirs forever." Signed, sealed and delivered in the presence of Thomas Capsey and James Capsey. Registre Foncier du Québec (Québec Land Register)

On 31 July 1857, Barnabas Hitchcock appeared before Richard Dickinson, Notary, for the purchase of 100 acres of Crown Lands situated in the east half of Lot #5 in the 9th Range in the Township of Stanbridge, for the sum of 62 pounds, 10 shillings (£62.10s). Registre Foncier du Québec (Québec Land Register)

On 2 Nov 1857, Barnabas Hitchcock, Minister of the Gospel, sold to his son, Edward Hitchcock, Yeoman, 50 acres situated in the north half of Lot #5 in the 9th Range in the Township of Stanbridge, with all the buildings and improvements thereon, for the sum of 100 pounds (£100). Signed, sealed and delivered in the presence of G. L. Tittemore and Joseph W. Bingham. Registre Foncier du Québec (Québec Land Register)

Barnabas Hitchcock wrote a newsy letter to Peter 24 April 1857. Wilbur, in his letter to Peter of 17 May 1857, gave his opinion on whether Peter should take over Barnabas' farm. Peter received a letter from Barnabas, dated 17 Nov 1857, in which he asked Peter to come home to the farm. Peter did come back to Stanbridge. He married Elizabeth Francis Cornell on 22 Dec 1857 and they lived on the "old place" as Barnabas called it.

On 1 Aug 1859, the Reverend Barnabas Hitchcock, Wesleyan Methodist-Connexion [Minister], his son, the Reverend Peter McKinney Hitchcock, Methodist-Episcopal Minister, and, his grandson, Peter McKinney Hitchcock the second, nephew of the Reverend Peter McKinney Hitchcock, Yeoman, appearing before Richard Dickinson, Notary, "did and do hereby covenant, promise and agree to and with the other of them", Barnabas Hitchcock doth give unto his son and grandson and their heirs 55 acres situated in the east half of Lot #4 in the 9th Range in the Township of Stanbridge with all the buildings and improvements thereon with the following stipulation: Peter McKinney Hitchcock the second (grandson) must pay $100 to each of his sisters, Jerusha Hitchcock and Delia Hitchcock, one year after the death of Barnabas Hitchcock. Registre Foncier du Québec (Québec Land Register)

From 1858 to 1864, Barnabas Hitchcock held services regularly at the Methodist Chapel in Pigeon Hill where he lived with his second wife, Sally Stone. (The brick church, built in 1825, was moved about 20 kilometers or 12 miles away to Stanbury, Quebec in 1889 and later demolished and the brick reused.) With Heart and Hands and Voices, Phyllis Hamilton, 1996, p. 226.

In 1861, Barnabas 76 preached a Jubilee Sermon in St Armand celebrating his 50 years in the ministry. The First Century of Methodism in Canada, Vol II, 1910, p. 160.

In the 1861 Personal Census of Canada, Missisquoi County, Parish of St Armand West, were listed Barnabas Hitchcock 76, Preacher, Sally Hitchcock 66 and Elizabeth Smith 56, servant, single, born in England. They lived in a 2-story frame house.

See Mrs Hitchcock, Chapel     1864 Walling Map 

Wilbur wanted to be remembered affectionately to Grandfather (Barnabas) in his letter to Peter of 19 June 1864.

On 2 Aug 1864, Barnabas Hitchcock, Wesleyan Minister, and his grandson, Peter McKinney Hitchcock the second, Yeoman, appeared before Richard Dickinson, Notary, whereby Barnabas Hitchcock doth give unto his grandson and his heirs land (30 rods by 16 rods) situated in Lot #3 in the 9th Range in the Township of Stanbridge. Registre Foncier du Québec (Québec Land Register)

Barnabas Hitchcock of the parish of St Armand West, Wesleyan Minister, died 12 Oct 1864 at the age of 79. His funeral took place on 15 Oct 1864 in the Methodist Church, St Armand, Canada East and he was buried in the Philipsburg Protestant Cemetery next to his first wife, Jane McKinney, and near their son, Prentice. His grandson, Peter Hitchcock, signed the register.



This obituary, written by the Rev. John Armstrong, minister of the Philipsburg/St Armand Methodist circuit from 1864-1866, and entered into the Minutes of the Wesleyan Conference, appeared in The Christian Guardian, 19 April 1865, p. 64, the Wesleyan Methodist weekly newspaper published in Toronto, Ontario, Canada from 1829-1925. Part of it was reprinted in Obituaries From Ontario's Christian Guardian 1861-1870, Donald A. McKenzie, 1988, p. 154.   And a version of this obituary was printed in The Christian Advocate and Journal, NY, 4 May 1865, p. 142, a weekly newspaper published by the Methodist Episcopal Church in New York City, NY, USA. The abridged obituary was also included in Contributions to the History of the Eastern Townships, 1866, p. 45.

We believe the obituary has Barnabas Hitchcock's years of service in Montreal incorrectly. Our research shows that Barnabas was in Montreal after the War of 1812 and prior to his going to the United States. When he returned to Lower Canada in 1833 from his time in Vermont and New York State, he was in St John's and circuits in the Eastern Townships. 

** As for "the untoward domestic circumstances", we have yet to discover anything. Nothing is mentioned in the Hitchcock Letters. We surmise that there may have been friction between Mr. Armstrong and Barnabas Hitchcock. Barnabas held regular services in the chapel in Pigeon Hill from 1858 until his death. Also, in 1859, Notary Dickinson referred to Barnabas Hitchcock as a "Wesleyan Methodist-Connexion" Minister. The New Connexion was part of smaller offshoots of Methodism that joined together with the Wesleyan Methodist Church of Canada in 1874 to form the Methodist Church of Canada.

From Case (Vol IV, p. 183), "he [Barnabas Hitchcock] was everywhere characterized as a soul-saving preacher."


Barnabas Hitchcock's name appeared on The List of Ministers Having Died in the Work in An Alphabetical Arrangement of All The Wesleyan Methodist Ministers and Preachers On Trial in Connexion with the British and Irish Conferences, 1896, p. 213.  

On 24 Apr 1868, Edward J. Morgan, Township of Stanbridge, with the power-of-attorney for Luke Hitchcock of the County of Oceana, Michigan, one of the United States of America, Clerk in Holy Orders, and for Peter McKinney Hitchcock of the Town of Argyle in the State of New York one of the said United States of America, Clerk in Holy Orders, Edward Coslett, Township of Stanbridge, Jane Hitchcock, wife of John Brown, who is also present, Township of Stanbridge, and Sarah Montle, wife of Barnabas Hitchcock, who is also present, Township of Stanbridge, appeared before Richard Dickinson, Notary, do hereby sell to Sarah Montle who is separated as to property from Barnabas Hitchcock, and to her heirs, 50 acres situated in the north moiety of the East half of Lot #5 in the 9th Range in the Township of Stanbridge with all the buildings and improvements thereon for the following sums paid to: Luke Hitchcock $50, Peter McKinney Hitchcock $100, Edward Coslett $100, Jane Hitchcock $100. Registre Foncier du Québec (Québec Land Register)

Years later, Wilbur Fisk Hitchcock wrote to his brother, Peter, about his grandfather in his letter dated 3 Mar 1890, "Meanwhile, Grandfather was in the townships preaching & saving souls. I often felt & fully believe his duty was to stay at home, attend to his family & its needs..." We wonder if Wilbur was reflecting on his father, Luke Hitchcock's, abandonment of his first family.

Barnabas Hitchcock - Methodist Itinerant Map

c1910 from the McCord Museum, Montreal

The Methodist Church, Philipsburg, Quebec, Canada is part of the United Church of Canada Bedford Pastoral Charge and is still active today. A history of the church was written in 1907 for the Third Report of the Missisquoi County Historical Society and another appears in With Heart and Hands and Voices, Phyllis Hamilton, 1996, p. 221-224.

The stained glass window below is an interior photograph of the central window over the entrance to the church as seen above. It was installed in 1902 and dedicated in memory of the Rev. Barnabas Hitchcock and his son, the Rev. Peter M. Hitchcock, by Barnabas' grandson, Peter McKinney Hitchcock and Peter M's son, Charles H. Hitchcock.