Phineas Hitchcock

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Phineas Hitchcock
Phineas Hitchcock - Brady-Handy.jpg
United States Senator
from Nebraska
In office
March 4, 1871 – March 4, 1877
Preceded by John M. Thayer
Succeeded by Alvin Saunders
Delegate to the U.S. House of Representatives from Nebraska Territory's At-large district
In office
March 4, 1865 – March 3, 1867
Preceded by Samuel G. Daily
Succeeded by statehood achieved
Personal details
Born Phineas Warren Hitchcock
(1831-11-30)November 30, 1831
New Lebanon, New York
Died July 10, 1881(1881-07-10) (aged 49)
Omaha, Nebraska
Political party Republican

Phineas Warren Hitchcock (November 30, 1831 – July 10, 1881) was a Delegate and a Senator from Nebraska. Hitchcock County, Nebraska, is named after him.[1]

Life and career[edit]

Early life[edit]

He was born in New Lebanon, Columbia County, New York, the son of Gad Hitchcock and Nancy Prime.[2][3]


When he turned 16, he began two years preparatory course study at the Great Barrington Academy in Great Barrington, Massachusetts. He entered Williams College in Williamstown, Berkshire County, Massachusetts graduating in 1855. His classmates at Williams included, James A. Garfield, James Gilfillan and John James Ingalls. After he graduated, and after several years of combined law study and journalistic work in New York State, he moved to the Territory of Nebraska in the spring of 1857, locating at Omaha, then a small settlement. He at once opened a law office, combining with the practice of his profession an agency for several insurance companies and a general real estate business.

Marriage and family life[edit]

He married on December 27, 1858 at Omaha, Nebraska, Annie M. Monell, the daughter of Lucinda Carpenter and Dr. Gilbert C. Monell, an 1839 graduate of the Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons and a member of the Old Settlers' Association.[4][5] She was born in 1837 in Newburgh (town), New York, Orange County, New York and died in 1877 in Omaha, Nebraska. She is buried in Prospect Hill Cemetery.

They were the parents of three children, all born at Omaha, Nebraska: Gilbert M. Hitchcock, born September 18, 1859 and the founder of the Omaha World-Herald and a U.S. Representative and Senator; Grace Hitchcock, born September 20, 1862 and John Gray Hitchcock, born April 29, 1865.

Political career[edit]

Hitchcock was appointed a United States Marshal from 1861–1864; a Republican, elected as the Nebraska Territory Delegate to the Thirty-ninth Congress and served from March 4, 1865 to March 1, 1867, when the Territory was admitted as a State into the Union. He was appointed surveyor general of Nebraska and Iowa from 1867-1869. In 1870, Hitchcock was elected as a Republican to the United States Senate and served from March 4, 1871, to March 4, 1877. He was an unsuccessful candidate for reelection.

Hitchcock served as the chairman of the Committee on Territories in the Forty-fourth Congress. He was involved in newspaper publishing and various businesses.

In 1873 Hitchcock introduced the Timber Culture Act a follow-up act to the Homestead Act. The Timber Culture Act was passed by Congress on March 3 of that year. This act allowed homesteaders to acquire 160 acres of land by planting 40 acres of trees. At the end of eight years from the date of entry, the settler could make final proof if the necessary conditions had been fulfilled. Five additional years were allowed to make proof, or a total of thirteen years from the date of entry. The claimant had to prove that the trees had been planted and cultivated and that not less than 675 living trees per acre had survived. An affidavit or "timber culture proof" had to be completed by the claimant and two witnesses before the final certificate and patents were issued.



U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by
Samuel Gordon Daily
Nebraska Territory Delegate to the U.S. House of Representatives
Succeeded by
U.S. Senate
Preceded by
John M. Thayer
U.S. Senator (Class 2) from Nebraska
Served alongside: Thomas W. Tipton, Algernon S. Paddock
Succeeded by
Alvin Saunders