Several weeks after meeting with U.S. President Martin Van Buren on Nov. 29, 1839, the Prophet Joseph Smith traveled by train to Philadelphia arriving on Dec. 21, 1839. His published history says he "spent several days preaching and visiting from house to house, among the brethren and others," according to History of the Church 4:47.
According to Philadelphia historian Charles Muldowney, the Prophet organized a branch of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints two days later on Dec. 23, his birthday. That branch met on the second floor of a building located on the northeast corner of Seventh and Callowhill streets. That structure is no longer extant.
Joseph wrote: “A great work will yet be done in Philadelphia. Our meeting house is very much crowded with attentive hearers and there are no doubt many believers from the favorable expressions, friendly treatment and good feelings which they manifest towards myself and the brethren” (see "Joseph Smith Papers, Documents, Volume 7: September 1839-January 1841," page 91).1 comment on this story
On Dec. 30, Joseph visited some members of the church in New Jersey. One account says he went to Monmouth County but there were at least six branches of the Church in the Delaware River Valley near Bucks County, Pennsylvania, and Mercer County, New Jersey. It was estimated that in January 1840 there was a combined membership of more than 250 people in that region (see "Joseph Smith Papers, Documents, Volume 7," Page 91, footnote 214).
Also in January 1840, the Prophet Joseph preached to members of the Brandywine Branch in Chester County, Pennsylvania. He used a building, still extant, owned by Edward Hunter. While in Chester County, Joseph wrote a letter to his wife, Emma. It is one of the few surviving letters written entirely in the Prophet’s hand (see "Joseph Smith Papers, Documents, Volume 7," pages 134-136).