Although Mormon historians usually focus primarily on the metropolis in Mormon history, there has been for most of our history a thriving presence of Latter-day Saints on the periphery. The following excerpt, taken from an 1856 New Jersey article, sheds light on Latter-day Saint life outside of Utah and the West during the 1850s.
State Gazette (Trenton) 6 September 1856
MORMONS IN NEW JERSEY.-There are a considerable number of Mormons in this state; in Monmouth, Ocean and Burlington Counties. Bill Smith, a brother of the prophet, lived for several years in Monmouth county, where he was an apostle of the new faith and made many converts. He was himself a man of vicious character, and a strong advocate of the spiritual wife system, before the church had declared in favor of polygamy as one of its doctrines. This part of the creed, however, did not meet with much favor, and his attempts to reduce it to practice finally led to his expulsion. We do not understand that, even now, the New Jersey Mormons accept polygamy as an article of their faith. Of course, a practical application of it would ensure for them the crown of martyrdom, as they would infallibly be made acquainted with the inside of the State Prison. The largest congregation of “Latter Day Saints now in this state is at Toms River where they have a church usually attended by about fifty persons. Their numbers were greater, but some thirty members have emigrated to Utah. A correspondent of the Mount Holly Mirror, writing from Hornerstown, gives some information of this peculiar sect. The shepherd of the flock was on Curtis, known as Elder Curtis -a tailor by trade, but, like many individuals who assume clerical robes, not particularly fond of labor. He appeared to be well posted in the creed of his church, and professed to be a firm believer in the genuineness of the Prophet Joe Smith.-He was one of the large number who left this State for Nauvoo, during the first excitement produced by the advent and preaching of Mormonism. Returning, however, after the destruction of that city, he again settled in Hornerstown-where he continued to practice the duties of his Eldership until November last, when he died suddenly. He had but one wife.
The Saint upon whom the mantle of Elder Curtis seems to have fallen, is an Englishman by birth, named Richard Traceder, who emigrated to America after his conversion to the faith. He is, seemingly, a man of considerable intelligence-has but one wife-and, though not an old man, has thirteen children.
A Mormon Camp Meeting is to be held near this place, shortly, under the charge of Elder Traceder. The time is not yet fixed, but it will most likely commence on Thursday, Sept. 12th. A large delegation of Saints is expected from Tom’s River and vicinity, where they are said to be quite numerous.
The society has embraced a number of respectable and wealthy farmers of this neighborhood; but now new converts are seldom made, and, with emigration and the constant falling from grace, the number is gradually dwindling down, and a few years will witness the entire extinction of Mormonism in that section of Monmouth and Ocean.
 This paper was located and transcribed by Stephen J. Fleming. See footnote 2.