In 1848, the area around Hydesville was at the center of an American religious revolution. THe area eventually became known as "The Burned Over District" because the region was so heavily evangelized, it left no more fuel (the unconverted) left to burn (convert).
As a result, Kate and Maggie Fox spend most of their childhood surrounded by new religions, new prophets, and their newly converted acolytes. Joseph Smith and the Mormons had been run out of town in 1831. The Millerites were regrouping from their Great Disappointment of 1844, and others, including the Quakers and Shakers were creating successful communities all over the region.
The Burned Over Dictrict, at this precise moment in history, is the epicenter of a religious revival movement which would later be known as the Second Great Awakening.