Tredyffrin Easttown Historical Society
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Source: 1943 Volume 5 Number 3, Page 69

Reverend Leonard Fletcher

Page 69

According to Horatio Gates Jones, Vice-president of the Historical Society of Pennsylvania (cf. "History of the Great Valley Baptist Church", 1883, p. 64) Leonard Fletcher was born in Worcester County, Massachusetts, in the year 1796. In 1810 his parents went to Washington County, N. Y. When twenty-three years of age he began the study of law in Philadelphia, but after two years of study his health failed and he went south. While at a hotel he took from the mantelpiece a tract called "The Dairyman's Daughter", the reading of which led to his conversion, and he was baptized by the pastor of the Baptist Church at Newbern, N. C. Feeling called to preach the gospel, he placed himself under Rev. William Staughton, D. D., and entered Columbia College, D. C. His health again failed. He left college and was ordained as pastor of the church at Salisbury, Md., where he labored successfully for three years. Then he settled in Sussex County, N. J. Here his labors were greatly blessed. In 1832 he became pastor of the Great Valley Baptist Church and remained in that position until 1840.

Undoubtedly Rev. Fletcher was responsible for the anti-slavery movement in this region, and for the formation of the Wilberforce Anti-Slavery Society. In the latter years of his pastorate the beloved Brother Fletcher preached a sermon which greatly pleased the members of the Wilberforce Anti-Slavery Society who urged its publication. But there were others of the Church who were offended; his usefulness was impaired and he had to leave.

On the 5th month, 18th, 1840, the following resolution was passed by the Anti- Slavery Society:

"Whereas, in the events of Providence, we have been called upon to part with two of our most valuable members, President John Jones and Rev. L. Fletcher, Resolved: That we mourn the loss of our friends who have felt it their incumbent duty to leave us and take up their abode in distant lands, and wherever it shall be the will of Providence that their lots shall be cast we feel fully satisfied that the cause of the down-trodden and oppressed will be ably defended by our absent friends, find we wish them Godspeed in every good word and work".

Rev. Fletcher was pastor at Hamilton, N. Y., for two years, and then devoted himself to evangelistic work in the South. His last pastorate was at Penningtonville (now Atglen), Chester County, Pa. He died August 16, 1859, in his sixty-third year and was buried in the Great Valley Baptist Cemetery (cf. Tredyffrin- Easttown History Club Quarterly, V, 1942, p. 43).


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