THOMAS HITCHCOCK, a venerable farmer of the town of Lebanon, was born in the town of Oxford, Canada, June 2, 1808, a son of Julius Hitchcock, who was born in Connecticut, December 20, 1777. The last-named, when thirteen years old, began to learn the trades of shoemaker, tanner, and currier, at which he served an apprenticeship of three years, at the end of that time going to Canada, where he engaged in farming and in working at these trades. In March, 1812, he started in a sleigh to visit friends in New York, and while on his way happened to read in a newspaper that war would certainly be declared by the United States against Great Britain. Thereupon he returned to his home in Canada, sold off his personal effects as quickly as possible, and again started for New York, crossing the line between the United States and Canada the day before the declaration of war was promulgated, his removal to Madison County being made with teams. Upon arriving in Madison County, he purchased a tract of land in the town of Lebanon, a few acres of which were cleared, and whereon a log cabin was already erected. Upon this farm he lived during the rest of his life, following agriculture and his trades, dying in 1850.
Thomas Hitchcock was four years old when his father removed from Canada to Madison County; and it was here that he received his education, first in the district schools, then by attendance for one term at a select school in Smyrna, and afterward by attendance several terms at Lebanon Academy. When twenty-one years of age, he taught school one term. Learning the trade of shoemaking, he followed that trade, and also farming, until he was twenty-seven years of age, when he settled on the farm which he now owns and occupies, since then having devoted himself exclusively to the cultivation of the soil and the various industries therewith connected.
On April 13, 1833, he married Roxanna C. Ballard, who was born November 21, 1808, in the town of Lebanon. Her father, Daniel Ballard, a native of Salem, Mass., who was there reared and married, removed to the State of New York by means of ox-teams, and, after residing for a time in the town of Madison, came to the town of Lebanon, bought timbered land, erected a lot house in the woods, and cleared a farm. He remained a resident of the county till his death. The maiden name of Mrs. Ballard was Ann Millen, she being also a native of Salem, Mass. Mrs. Hitchcock was well educated in her youth in the district schools, and from the age of eighteen she taught school a part of each year until her marriage. She is to-day one of the oldest lady residents of the county who taught school in their youth. Mr. and Mrs. Hitchcock have lived together more than sixty years—a remarkable length of time, considering the average duration of human life.
Increasing his years by ten, how well the beloved poet’s lines apply!—
“With sixty years between you and your well-kept wedding vow,
The Golden Age, old friends of mine, is not a fable now.
“And sweet as has life’s vintage been though all your pleasant past,
Still, as at Cana’s marriage feast, the best wine is the last!
“May many more of quiet years be added to your sum,
And late at last, in tenderest love, the beckoning angel come.”
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