Edward Partridge in Painesville, Ohio

For a short period in the 1830s, the town of Painesville, Ohio, played an important part in the development of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The town was a place of success for Mormon missionaries; it was a religious battlefield in which the Campbellites resisted the encroachments of the missionaries; it was the home of the Painesville Telegraph, one of the most virulent critics of Mormonism; and finally, it was the home of Edward Partridge, a man who would play a critical role as the first bishop of the Church (fig. 1).

In 1830, Edward Partridge was a successful, prominent, and relatively wealthy businessman. He owned a hat-making factory and a retail store and a substantial house, and he had a wife and family to whom he was dedicated. In most Church histories, he is portrayed as sacrificing all he had when he joined the Church, reluctantly abandoning his business and family when he accepted the call to serve as bishop and departed for Missouri. These histories also conclude that by joining the Church he suffered great economic loss and that he left Painesville with reluctance.

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