HUBBARD, HESTER (Hetty) ANN (Case), teacher; b. c. 1796 and baptized 1816 in Granville, Mass.; d. 24 Sept. 1831 in Belleville, Upper Canada.
Hester Ann Hubbard was to be a member of the Methodist mission to the Mississauga Ojibwas of Grape Island, Bay of Quinte, which depended largely on the generosity of American friends. This generosity was fostered by William Case*, superintendent of Indian missions for the Canada Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church, in several speaking tours of the leading cities in the northern states. In the spring of 1828 he made such a trip, accompanied by the Indian exhorter Peter Jacobs [Pahtahsega*], and as on other occasions probably also hoped to secure new labourers for the mission. He was successful on both counts, recruiting two new teachers, Hester Ann Hubbard and John B. Benham, along with Eliza Barnes who had already taught at Grape Island in 1827. Of Miss Hubbard’s previous career her obituary records only that she left behind “many endearments in New England.”
Although she was said to have spoken to the Indians on the morrow of her arrival “with much energy and power,” Hetty Hubbard concentrated her attention almost entirely upon the pupils of the “female School” at Grape Island. She rarely appeared before the public, and then only to display the academic, domestic, and musical skills of her charges. In her only composition to have survived, a letter written in late 1828, she described how the missionary group at Grape Island had formed a household to which four of her Indian pupils had been admitted. Case went on frequent missionary tours during this period, and one of those most often in his company was Eliza Barnes.
On 26 Feb. 1829 a missionary party set off on another foray to the United States. On 11 March the party divided, Case proceeding directly to New York City with the missionary, Peter Jones* while Barnes and Hubbard visited friends and held meetings in their native New England. By 30 April they were reunited in New York City. Then, on the evening of 4 May, after a busy set of meetings at which he had been a speaker, the 40-year-old Case took a wife. Domesticity triumphed. Hetty Hubbard was the bride, Eliza Barnes the bridesmaid. The ceremony was performed by the Reverend Nathan Bangs*.
After a honeymoon spent furthering the missionary cause in western New York, the Cases seem to have enjoyed more than a year of happy and useful life together. The birth of a child, Eliza Jane, on 10 Aug. 1830 must have added to their bliss, although the busy father complained mildly of the attention it required. Mrs Case seems to have relinquished her school, for a Miss Skelton was engaged to introduce the Pestalozzi system.
In February 1831 Hetty Case and her daughter became seriously ill. Although both were later reported on the way to recovery, during the summer the mother took a distinct turn for the worse. After months of acute depression she died in September; on her deathbed she handed over her daughter to the Reverend Sylvester Hurlburt and his wife for adoption. Case described the loss of his wife as “irreparable.” He did not slacken his missionary efforts, however, and on 28 Aug. 1833 he married Eliza Barnes.
Quaintly described by John Saltkill Carroll* as possessing a countenance and spirit “not unlike that of the Rev. John [William] Fletcher, of saintly memory,” Hetty Case was an able though modest woman who felt called to a field of labour that proved to be beyond her strength. As her husband wrote, “She seemed worthy of a better death.”
No likeness of Hester Ann Hubbard has been found. The portrait of Mrs Case in the UCC-C is of Eliza Barnes.
Granville Public Library (Granville, Mass.), Congregational Church (Granville), reg. of baptisms, 1816. Methodist Episcopal Church in Canada, Missionary Soc., Report (York [Toronto]), 1829–31. “Selections from the papers of James Evans, missionary to the Indians,” ed. Fred Landon, OH, 26 (1930): 474–91. Christian Advocate and Journal, and Zion’s Herald (New York), 25 Jan., 18 April, 8 Aug., 24 Oct., 5 Dec. 1828; 6 March, 15 May 1829; 24 Oct. 1831. Christian Guardian, 13 Feb. 1830, 1 Oct. 1831, 28 June 1854, 13 Jan. 1858. “New York Evening Post, New York City . . . : marriages . . . ,” comp. G. A. Barber (typescript, 23v., New York 1933–48; copy in New York Public Library, Local Hist. and Geneal. Division). J. [S.] Carroll, Case and his cotemporaries . . . (5v., Toronto, 1867–77), 3. Peter Jones, Life and journals of Kah-ke-wa-quo-nā-by (Rev. Peter Jones), Wesleyan missionary, [ed. Elizabeth Field and Enoch Wood] (Toronto, 1860).