Itinerant preacher and author
Born into an elite New England family, she spent several years in the social limelight of Washington, DC, while her father was in Congress. At the age of twenty-three, she resolved to put away frivolities and pursue religion seriously. She became a well-known preacher, and on January 8, 1827, with President John Quincy Adams in attendance, she preached to Congress, the first of four times altogether. Her beliefs became increasingly apocalyptic; in particular she developed a strong interest in Native Americans, whom she believed were descendants of the lost tribes of Israel. Between 1836 and 1858, she traveled four times to Jerusalem, believing it to be the epicenter of Jesus’ return. Despite her affluent background, she lived her last years in poverty, disengaged from family and friends. She died alone in a Philadelphia almshouse and was buried, as she requested, in an unmarked grave.