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Posted 24 Feb 2001   For week ended May 14, 2000
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Sent on Mormon-News: 18May00

Summarized by Kent Larsen

Nauvoo Restoration names new director
Philadelphia PA Inquirer 15May00 D6
By Catherine Quillman: Inquirer Suburban Staff

WALLACE TOWNSHIP, PENNSYLVANIA -- Inquirer reporter Quillman investigates a part of Wallace Township, Chester County, Pennsylvania, near Philadelphia, said to have been called "Mormon Hollow" or "Mormon Valley," and discovers the origins of a group of Mormon converts in Pennsylvania that included Edward Hunter, later Presiding Bishop to the LDS Church.

The area was originally settled by Scotch-Irish Presbyterians, represented by families such as the McClures, Reeds, Reas, Dowlins and Moores. The families originally went to the Presbyterian Church at the Brandywine meeting house, built in 1755, in Guthriesville. But when the building was renovated in 1839, the families decided it was too far away and decided to build a new Church themselves.

About this time, Mormon missionaries arrived in the area, looking for a place to meet, and settling on the West Nantmeal Seminary, an elementary school that Edward Hunter built in 1833, and which is still standing, according to the article. Hunter, a wealthy farmer in the area, supported the school as long as it was open to "any religious group." But, the seminary officials told the missionaries no because they considered the Mormons a "very dangerous people." Hunter then stepped in and threatened to withdraw his support from the seminary, giving the missionaries a place to meet.

For a time, the Mormon missionaries and the Presbyterians shared the building, until the Presbyterians built the Fairview Church in 1840. The missionaries, in the meantime, found success among the people living in "Mormon Hollow", which was near the present-day Devereux school on Route 282.

The success of the missionaries allowed the branch to blossom to more than 200 members by 1840, when Joseph Smith visited the group. The Deseret News's Church Almanac reports that between 8 and 10 members were baptized each week into the branch. Reports say that the prophet stayed in the home of Edward Hunter for several months.

Hunter was baptized in the area in a millrace, and later led the "Mormon Hollow" residents when they moved to Nauvoo, Illinois. After the martyrdom of Joseph Smith, Hunter went on to Utah, where he was made Presiding Bishop in 1851, serving until his death in 1883 at age 90.


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