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George B. Hitchcock House George B. Hitchcock House
Photograph by Atlantic News-Telegraph. Courtesy of the State Historical Society of Iowa.

The home of Reverend George B. Hitchcock in Lewis, Iowa was a welcome respite for runaway slaves and abolitionists who traveled through the state. A minister of the Congregational Church, Hitchcock was an ardent abolitionist and an agent for the Underground Railroad. Born in 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. From this house, Hitchcock carried out his Underground Railroad activities, providing shelter to fugitive slaves on their way northward. 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. An ardent abolitionist virtually his entire adult life, George B. Hitchcock died in 1872 in Kansas. His home in Iowa stands as a testament to his role in the antislavery movement and his involvement in the Underground Railroad.

The George B. Hitchcock House is located 1and 1/2 miles west of Lewis, Iowa, on Nishna Valley Road, south of U.S. Hwy. 6. It is open for tours from May-September, from 1:00pm-5:00pm, closed Mondays. Call 712-769-2323 or visit the house's website for further information.

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