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Justin Hitchcock's eighty-seven-page autobiography, transcribed by his grandson, begins with a philosophical "enquiry into the cause of introducing surnames among Mankind" and ends with a heartfelt lament over the death in 1799 of George Washington, who "came the nearest to perfection in my opinion of any man." A hatter by trade, Hitchcock wore many hats in his life; he was a husband and a father, a church deacon and a town clerk, a teacher of singing and a sometime farmer, a friend of government and a Revolutionary War patriot. He devotes many pages to the state of the Nation, but only a very few sentences to his marriage and the birth of his five children.