September 28, 2023

Early Life of Edward Hunter, Pennsylvania Church History

Edward Hunter was an early member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, his work and faithfulness has benefited generations. Although, Edward Hunter is relatively unknown in Church History he is one of the many members of the early Church who did above and beyond what was asked of him and laid a foundation for generations. His home has been restored in Nauvoo, Illinois and tours are open year round.

Early Pennsylvania Latter-day Saints

Edward Hunter was a wealthy Quaker from Chester County Pennsylvania, about 12 miles west of Philadelphia. It is estimated that he was the second wealthiest person in Chester County, and maybe the most wealthy man that converted to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, of the time.

When a schoolhouse in Chester County burned down in 1833 Edward Hunter offered to replace it on the land he would donate. Edward Hunter had one stipulation when building the schoolhouse and it was that residents "would allow all persons and persuasions to meet in it to worship God." Edward made sure the requirement was included in the articles of agreement for the donating of the land and the building. The finished building was called the West Nantmeal Seminary.

A couple years after the school building was built, in the spring of 1839, Latter-day Saint Missionaries Elijah H. Davis and Lorenzo Barnes tried to use the school building to teach about the restored gospel of Jesus Christ, but they were refused. The residents of the county were angry and did not want the Missionaries in their town. Edward Hunter reminded them of the agreement made in 1833 allowing people of every religion to have the right to meet and worship God. He informed the townspeople that the "Mormons" would have their rights to preach there, like everyone else, or he would take the building back.

This incident, along with others prepared Edward Hunter to be an advocate for early Saints. That are of Chester County became known as "Mormon Hollow" with large groups of people converting to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The Prophet Joseph Smith came to see the Saints in "Mormon Hollow" and it was after the visit of the prophet when Edward Hunter converted to the Church.

Edward Hunters Life

Edward Hunter lived a life of service for the Savior, Jesus Christ and participated in building the kingdom of God on Earth. Edward Hunter was baptized by Orson Hyde in Pennsylvania. He moved to Nauvoo and his donation of wealth helped with the building of the temple in Nauvoo. He became one of Joseph Smith's body guards, moved to Utah with the main body of the Saints, and became the presiding Bishop of the Church. You can tour Edward Hunters home in Nauvoo which was recently redone in 2020, Edward Hunter is buried in the Salt Lake City Cemetery.

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References:

https://ensignpeakfoundation.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/04/MHS_SPRING-2005_09-EDWARD-HUNTER-CONVERSION.pdf

https://www.deseret.com/2019/5/15/20673367/picturing-history-prospering-in-pennsylvania-bishop-edward-hunter

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