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Joseph Leonard was one of the Black leaders at Brindley Town, serving as the Anglican lay preacher and school teacher.

Leonard's name is listed in the muster list of blacks who landed at Digby, and he was noted as a leader among them. He spearheaded land petitions and served as the spokesman to the white community.

Leonard also served as the Anglican lay preacher at Brindley Town, where his independence brought him into conflict with the white establishment. Leonard had been authorized to read from the bible and lead prayers, but he went well beyond that. He performed marriages, baptisms, and communion without having been ordained as a preacher. Eventually, this came to attention of Charles Inglis, the Bishop of Nova Scotia. Inglis traveled to Digby and confronted Leonard, who displayed no guilt, but only expressed his wish to be ordained as an Anglican minister. Inglis rejected him on the spot.

After this incident, the Anglican authorities decided that Leonard had set a bad example, and sent Isaiah Limerick from Birchtown as a replacement school teacher and lay preacher. Limerick quickly made enemies in the area (as he had in Birchtown) and there was conflict in the community, leading to the temporary closure of the school. Leonard had some friends among the area's whites, notably the local school inspector Colonel Barton, who wrote a letter to Parr expressing support for Leonard and suspicion of Limerick. After the disruptions at the school in Halifax (William Furmage was found to be spreading Methodist doctrines), Limerick was reassigned there and Leonard reinstated as schoolteacher and religious leader in Brindley Town.

Leonard left for Sierra Leone with most other people of the area, and established a school with books he brought from the Nova Scotia school. He eventually converted to Methodism, and wrote a petition opposing the firing of schoolteachers for doctrinal differences.

Image Credit: Tina Elliot

Story: Faith

The Anglicans


Isiah Limerick


Brindley Town