Leekley, John (1803-1854)

A transcription of obituary published in the Primitive Methodist Magazine by John Sharpe is attached. It records that periods of self doubt caused his retirement from the ministry, a step which he later regretted. 

He emigrated to USA in  1842 to join his brother at Galena, Illinois. here he was instrumental in forming a PM Society that within a few years grew to in excess of 1000 members. From the commencement of the P.M. Connexion in the Western States to the time of his death, he held the office of corresponding secretary, and satisfactorily and efficiently discharged its duties. He was also book steward for the Connexion, and a member of the Connexional committee.


John was born on 4 September 1803 at Middleton in Teesdale, Co. Durham, to parents John and Mary.

The 1841 census return records John as a coal miner.

He married Sarah Kipling (1803-1836) on 3 July 1828 at Melsonby, Yorkshire. Records identify five children.

  • Hannah (1829-1848) – married George Redfearn
  • Margaret (1830-1838)
  • Thomas (abt1833-1850)
  • John (1835-1839)
  • Mark (1836-1836)

He married Margaret Thompson (abt1814-1844) on 21 March 1840 at Toft Hill, Durham. Records identify two children.

  • John Thomson Leekley (1842-1913) – fought in US Civil War in 45th Regiment, Illinois Infantry; a miner (1870)
  • George William (1843-1844)

John died on 27 February 1854 at new Diggings, Lafayette, Wiscosin, USA.


  • 1827 Pocklington
  • retired ill
  • 1842 to USA


Primitive Methodist Magazine 1854/714

J Petty, The History of the Primitive Methodist Connexion, 1880, p473 

W Leary, Directory of Primitive Methodist Ministers and their Circuits, 1990

Census Returns and Births, Marriages & Deaths Registers


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