The best paragraph so far is from the introduction, where Irene Bates cites Stephen A Marini's study on radicalism in New England.
They had also encouraged the breakdown of the old order of religious domination. “The grip of colonial religious culture was broken and a new American style of religious diversity came into being.” Such a setting became fertile ground for religious experimentation and the birth of indigenous religious sects, some of which “undertook to redefine social and economic order through the model of the extended family.” Without stable institutional structures, the family thus became the “crucible” for forming “primary identity, socialization, and cultural norms for rural life” (Marini, 7, 56, 31). Lucy was a product of this environment. [Emphasis RCK]The Marini book will need more investigation.