Minister George B. Hitchcock built this house around 1855 and resided here from 1856 to 1865. Hitchcock is best-known today for his opposition to slavery and his participation in the Underground Railroad, providing sanctuary for slaves who were trying to reach Canada or at least escape far from Missouri and other slave states.
Massachusetts in 1812, Hitchcock became a student of ministry, and in 1844 was ordained a
minister in the Congregational Church. He worked as a traveling circuit preacher in the frontier
country of western Iowa following his ordination. Settling in Lewis in the mid-1850s, Hitchcock
built a log cabin where he lived until the completion of his stone house around 1856. It was this house that Hitchcock used to aid the Underground Railroad. In 1865, Hitchcock was called by the Congregationalist Church to
work in Missouri, where he was given the opportunity to educate and minister freed blacks. Two
years later he moved to Kansas to carry similar duties in that frontier area. His home in
Iowa stands as a testament to his role in the antislavery movement and his involvement in the
John Brown entourage left the Tolles Cabin and headed northeast in to a snow
storm on February 13, 1859. They travelled toward Lewis, Iowa, and the farm of
Brown’s cousin Oliver Mills.
lived just south of Lewis, then the county seat of Cass County. Reverend George
B. Hitchcock, a Congregationalist, resided about a mile due west of the Mills
place (see map). Mills and Hitchcock worked together in the antislavery
movement. The Hitchcock House (pictured) is a National Historic Landmark and
one of the few physical reminders of the Underground Railroad remaining in the
Next Stop: Grove City, Iowa.
Mills was born in Trumbull County, Ohio in 1821. At 29, he removed to Iowa and
by 1857 he had settled near Lewis. After his involvement with the Underground
Railroad, Mills continued to be active in civic life. He was elected to the
Iowa General Assembly in 1872 and served twenty years with the state agricultural
society. Notably, he promoted the establishment of the state agricultural
college, now Iowa State University.