Jeremiah Hallock (1756-1826) was ordained as minister of the Parish of West Simsbury (now Canton Center) on October 26, 1785 and served until his death in 1826. His forty-one years as pastor of what is now the Canton Center Congregational Church has never been exceeded. The eldest of nine children, he was born in Brookhaven, Long Island and moved with his family to Goshen, Massachusetts at age eight. While still a teenager, he served in the Revolution in 1776 and 1777. His formal education was minimal, though he studied with several ministers and was licensed to preach the gospel in 1784. In 1787, Yale awarded him an honorary Master of Arts.
Called the “godly pastor” by his biographer, Hallock was exceedingly devout and adopted the motto “What can I do for God?” He lived according to twenty-four strict moral resolutions he recorded in his journal, and devoted one day each month to fasting. A man of uncommon energy, in 1801 Hallock made “a four-month missionary tour of northeast, Vermont, then a sparsely settled wilderness,” according to Canton historian Lawrence Carlton. “He traveled on foot and horseback over a thousand miles, preached ninety-six sermons and helped establish two new churches.” In 1815, he gave the sermon dedicating the current Canton Center church building.
Although the inscription is faded, his gravestone describes him as a man of piety, humility, and wisdom who was faithful and unwearied in his service to God and deeply solicitous of his people. Jeremiah Hallock is buried in the Canton Center Cemetery across Cherry Brook Road from the church to which he was so devoted.
For more about Hallock, see Canton Remembers: Incidents in Local History, Dr. and Mrs. Lawrence S. Carlton, editors, p. 41, “Jeremiah Hallock—The Godly Pastor.”
“Your Silent Neighbors” introduces readers to people out of Canton’s past. Readers are encouraged to visit these gravesites and pay their respects to the people who have helped make our community what it is today.