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Ballou, Adin (23 April 1803–05 August 1890), Universalist clergyman, reformer, and founder of Hopedale Community, was born in Cumberland, Rhode Island, the son of Ariel Ballou and Edilda Tower, farmers. A largely self-educated preacher, Ballou’s earliest religious experience was Calvinist in nature, and he later recalled the “very solemnizing effect” of the preaching he heard as a youth. At about age eleven, however, Ballou experienced a religious conversion, and a year later he was baptized into a Christian Connection church that emphasized a more enthusiastic and fundamentalist religiosity. Ballou developed a deep interest in religious matters over the next several years and eventually became a self-proclaimed preacher. At age eighteen, in the autumn of 1821, he was received into the fellowship of the Connecticut Christian Conference, a Christian Connection body. In 1822 he married Abigail Sayles; they had two children before Abigail died in 1829....

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Evans, Frederick William (09 June 1808–06 March 1893), reformer and Shaker elder, was born in Leominster, England, the son of George Evans, a soldier in the English army, and Sarah White. Because of his mother’s death when he was four and the absence of his father on military service, Frederick was cared for by relatives and, after a brief attendance at school in Stourbridge, received only a practical education at Chadwick Hall, his relatives’ 500-acre English estate. In 1820 at age twelve he emigrated with his father and brother George to the United States, where he worked for the next ten years on reform causes with his brother. These ten years composed another phase of informal education for Evans during which he and his brother published several reform newspapers, among them the ...

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Laura Smith Haviland. Courtesy of the National Afro-American Museum.

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Haviland, Laura Smith (20 December 1808–20 April 1898), abolitionist and evangelist, was born in Leeds County, Ontario, Canada, the daughter of Daniel Smith and Sene Blancher, farmers. She grew up in western New York State in a community of the Society of Friends and received several years of education in a Quaker school. In 1825 she married Charles Haviland, Jr.; they had eight children. In 1829 the young couple moved to Michigan Territory, where they joined her parents and siblings in establishing farms in the valley of the River Raisin (near present-day Adrian, Mich.) and living pious lives in a tightly knit extended family....

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Matthews, Mark Allison (23 September 1867–05 February 1940), fundamentalist minister and civic reformer, was born in Calhoun, Georgia, the son of Mark Lafayette Matthews, the owner of a carriage shop and factory, and Malinda Rebecca Clemmons. His once prosperous family suffered serious reversals when the carriage shop, factory, and home were burned to the ground by the marauding armies of ...

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Ward, Henry Dana (13 January 1797–29 February 1884), reformer and clergyman, was born in Shrewsbury, Massachusetts, the son of Thomas Walter Ward, a sheriff, and Elizabeth Denny. Ward studied history and classics at Harvard, where he earned a B.A. in 1816; in 1819 he earned an M.A. from Harvard. He married Abigail Porter Jones of Lebanon Springs, New York, in 1821. They had no children....

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Willing, Jennie Fowler (22 January 1834–06 October 1916), evangelist, reformer, and church worker, was born in Burford, Canada West (present-day Ontario), the daughter of Horatio Fowler, a homesteader and participant in the Papineau Rebellion of 1837, and Harriet Ryan, the daughter of the founder of Canadian Methodism, Henry Ryan. The Fowlers settled in Newark, Illinois, following Horatio’s expulsion from Canada after the failure of the rebellion. Jennie was a sickly child and largely self-educated. Her first job was as a school teacher in Illinois at age fifteen....