Died October 21, 1854
Wesleyan Seminary Principal +
Accomplishments as Principal
Dr. Hinman, although he died in his thirties, achieved fame in the Midwest after his sojourn in Albion.
Hinman’s academic and personal background somewhat resembled that of Mr. Stockwell. He was born August 3, 1819, in Kortright, Deleware County, New York. The father of Dr. Hinman was Amos, son of Titus of Harpersfield Deleware County, New York]; his mother was Electa Clark of colonial ancestry. She was a gifted woman and a devoted Christian. She often spoke in public.
“As a youth Dr. Hinman was an intelligent, earnest Christian. He was converted at ten years of age.” To prepare for college, he studied at Cazenovia Seminary, Cazenovia, New York, and was graduated in 1839 from Wesleyan University, Middletown, Connecticut, when he was 20. While still a student he was licensed as a Methodist minister, in a traveling capacity, by the Vermont Conference.
After graduation from college, however, he began a teaching career. His first such post was at Newbury Seminary, Newbury, Vermont, a school Mrs. Stockwell had attended. He remained at Newbury for seven years, eventually becoming its principal. It was from this Vermont town that he came to Albion in 1846 to the principalship of the Wesleyan Seminary.
For seven years he acted as principal of this institution and by his efforts put the institution in the foremost rank with the schools of the middle west at that time.
During his years at Albion, Principal Hinman was instrumental in changing the name of the institution to the Albion Female Collegiate Institute and Wesleyan Seminary, and women were received for education. Those who knew Dr. Hinman well, have pronounced him a man of great character, inspiring eloquence, and magnificent pulpit power.
The Ohio Wesleyan University conferred a doctor of divinity degree upon him in 1851. After leaving Albion he served as the first president of northwestern University before it conducted any classes. He was unanimously elected president June 23, 1853, but was dead of choleric dysentery October 21, 1854, a little more than a year after receiving the appointment.
For some time during the period of his greatest work for Northwestern it was clear to acquaintances and associates that Dr. Hinman’s health was not good. They urged him to cease working with such zeal, but he refused to listen if there was serious work to be done. Finally, it became clear to him that he must see to his health. He set out on a journey to the East to meet his family and to seek recovery. He got as far as Troy, New York, when he could travel no farther. He went to an inn, took to bed, and was discovered there subsequently by a Reverend Mr. Ransom who is not otherwise identified. Mr. Ransom knew Dr. Hinman only by reputation, but took him to his home. Four days later, after contracting what was believed to be typhoid fever in addition to the dysentery, Albion’s second principal, and Northwestern University’s founder and first president died. He was 35. He was buried in Newbury, Vermont.
Source: Gildart, Robert. Albion College, 1835-1960, A History. Chicago: Donnelley Lakeside Press, 1961.