Deerfield — Men Of Note Born In Deerfield
Extracted from "History of the Connecticut Valley in Massachusetts, Volume II," by Louis H. Everts, 1879.
Richard Hildreth, historian, statesman, and editor, son of Hosea, was born June 28, 1807. He graduated at Harvard College in 1826, and was a Fellow of the Massachusetts Historical Society. He married, in 1844, Caroline Negus, of Petersham. He studied law in Newburyport, and practiced in Boston. He was editor of the Boston Atlas in 1832-40, and was the author of "Archy Moore, the White Slave," "Theory of Legislation," 1840; "A History of Banks," "Despotism in America," 1840; "Theory of Morals," 1844; "Theory of Politics," 1853; "Japan as it Was and Is," 1855. He contributed largely to newspapers and magazines, and for several years was an editor of the New York Tribune. His greatest work was a "History of the United States," 6 vols., 1849-56. He was United States consul at Trieste in 1861, and died at Florence, Italy, July 11, 1865.
Col. Ebenezer Hinsdale, son of Samuel, was born in 1707. He graduated at Harvard College in 1727. He married, about 1730, Abigail, daughter of Rev. John Williams. He was ordained, at Boston, missionary to the Indians, Dec. 11, 1732, under the auspices of the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts. Gov. Belcher, the American agent, stationed him at Fort Dummer, and made him chaplain of the post. In 1742 or '43 he built a fort on the east side of the Connecticut, at a place called "The Cellars." This was the foundation of the town of Hinsdale, N. H. Here he kept up a military establishment through the Indian wars. He also had a residence here, and kept a store on the Ebenezer Hinsdale Williams lot, originally Lot No. 41, drawn by Ens. Daniel Fisher. He rose to the rank of colonel during the wars, and did valuable service. He died at Hinsdale, Jan. 6, 1763.
President Edward Hitchcock, son of Justin, was born in 1793. He was a graduate of Deerfield Academy; A.M. of Yale, 1818; LL.D. of Harvard, 1840; D.D. of Middletown, 1846. He married, in 1821, Orra White, of Amherst. He was principal of Deerfield Academy, 1813-19; pastor of a church in Conway, 1821-25, leaving there to accept the professorship of chemistry and natural history at Amherst College. In 1845 he was made president, and held this office and the professorship of natural theology and geology until 1854. President Hitchcock's entire school education was obtained in six winter terms of the Deerfield Academy, working on the farm the rest of the year. He was an ardent student, developing that love of the science of nature which marked his future career. Astronomy was a favorite study, in which he was encouraged and directed by his uncle, Gen. Hoyt; he devised and made astronomical apparatus when that of the academy failed to meet his wants. He published an almanac, 1813-17, in which he corrected, by his own observations, calculations made by European astronomers, thereby entering on a contest with the magnates of that science in the Old World, and coming off conqueror. But for a partial failure of eyesight, our young astronomer would, doubtless, have earned for himself a place by the side of the first men of the world in his favorite field. Other work, however, had been waiting for him for untold ages that of interpreting the marks on the sandstone of his native valley. In 1823 he published "The Geology of the Connecticut Valley." He was State geologist of Massachusetts in 1830, and made reports in 1833, '35, '38, and '41 on the geology of the State. He also published the following: "Report on the Geology of Vermont," 1860, under the direction of that State; "Surface Geology," 1857; "Elementary Geology," 1840, which had passed through 30 editions in 1856; "Religion of Geology and its Connected Sciences," 1851; "Wreath for the Tomb;" "Memoir of Mary Lyon;" and many other volumes. He was also a large contibuor to scientific and religious journals. His great work, and the one by which his fame will be the most enduringly established, was the scientific exposition of the fossil foot-prints in the sandstone of the Connecticut Valley. "The Ichnology of New England," 1858, published by the State, fully illustrates the labors of twenty years on this subject. His views were accepted by the scientists only after a prolonged contest, which gave him a world-wide notoriety. He died Feb. 27, 1864.
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