Rev. Abiel Leonard

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Rev. Abiel Leonard's Geni Profile

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Rev. Abiel Leonard

Birthdate: (36)
Birthplace: Plymouth, Plymouth County, Province of Massachusetts
Death: August 14, 1777 (36)
Danbury, Fairfield County, Connecticut, United States
Immediate Family:

Son of Nathaniel Leonard and Priscilla Leonard
Husband of Dorothy Leonard and Mary Leonard
Father of Capt. Nathaniel Greene Leonard
Brother of Anna Leonard; Sarah White; Anna Torrey; Mary Leonard; Nathaniel Leonard and 10 others

Managed by: Private User
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About Rev. Abiel Leonard

  • Daughters of American Revolution Ancestor #: A069260
  • Death: 14 Aug 1777 DANBURY CONNECTICUT
  • Service Description: 1) 3D REGT (Library of Congress)

A sermon preached in Clermont, 1772: t.p. (Abiel Leonard, A.M. pastor of the church in the First Society in Woodstock)

found: Sibley's Harvard grads., v. 14 (Abiel Leonard; grad. 1759; chaplain of Conn. regiment in Revolution; b. 11/5/1740; d. 8/14/1777)

Woodstock An Historical Sketch by Clarence Winthrop Bowen, PhD copyright 1886

"...the fact that Mr. Stiles was a graduate of Yale College' instead of Harvard, as his two predecessors had been, and his family connections were all with Connecticut, his parishioners were led to believe that he would favor the " Saybrook Platform " of faith, rather than the " Cambridge Platform," and if there was one thing our ancestors abhorred quite as much as Episcopacy or popery it was the " Saybrook Platform." To be tainted with that form of faith, as was the case with Mr. Stiles after his settlement in Woodstock, was heresy indeed, and Woodstock was determined, according to her grant of 1683, to have none other but an "able, orthodox, godly minister." Instead of attending the Association of Ministers in Massachusetts, Mr. Stiles preferred the meetings of the Windham County Association in Connecticut, and when Woodstock became a part of Connecticut the troubles with Mr. Stiles increased. Councils were held. Pastor and parishioners tried to discipline each other. The General Assembly of Connecticut was appealed to. Threats—even violence was resorted to. But without going into the details of this long-protracted struggle, let it be said that there were two parties in the controversy, one side sympathizing with Mr. Stiles in his more liberal theological views, and the other side at first insisting on a minister who should conform in all respects to the "Standing Order," and afterwards opposed to Mr. Stiles personally as well as theologically. The Stiles party had favored, while the anti-Stiles party had opposed, the annexation of Woodstock to Connecticut. The result of the quarrel was a break in the church in 1760. The North Society was constituted by act' of the General Assembly, and Mr. Stiles and his followers went to Muddy Brook. Thus was formed the Third Congregational Church of Woodstock, and here Mr. Stiles continued to preach until his death in 1783.' When it was determined in 1831, by the church in East Woodstock, to build a new meeting-house on the spot of the old one erected in 1767, the people in Village Corners objected to the location and formed a society of their own —the Fourth Congregational Church of Woodstock. After the departure of Mr. Stiles the First Church was without a pastor for three years. Much time was spent in "going after ministers." The young Yale graduates who preached on trial did not please the church, whose sympathies were still with Massachusetts. Finally the Rev. Abiel Leonard, a graduate of Harvard College, was installed on June 23, 1763. Of the twelve churches asked to assist in the ordination only one was a Connecticut organization. In fact it was not until the year 1815 that the church, after an adherence to the Cambridge order of faith for a hundred and twenty-five years, finally accepted the " Saybrook Platform," and joined the Connecticut association. The church was prosperous under Mr. Leonard. Largely owing to his influence, the quarrel between the First and Third Churches was healed. In 1776, on the breaking out of the Revolutionary War, Mr. Leonard was made Chaplain of the Third Regiment of Connecticut troops. The church, at the request of the commander, Colonel, afterwards General, Israel Putnam, granted the necessary leave of absence. The following year Washington and Putnam joined in writing a letter to the church at Woodstock asking for a continued leave of absence for Mr. Leonard, praising him in the highest terms, and saying : " He is employed in the glorious work of attending to the morals of a brave people who are fighting for their liberties—the liberties of the people of Woodstock— the liberties of all America." Agreeable a gentleman as Mr. Leonard was, he was suddenly superseded while on a visit to Woodstock, and on receiving the mortifying news when en route to join the army he at once committed suicide.

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Rev. Abiel Leonard's Timeline

November 5, 1740
Plymouth, Plymouth County, Province of Massachusetts
October 4, 1768
Age 27
Woodstock, Windham, CT, USA
August 14, 1777
Age 36
Danbury, Fairfield County, Connecticut, United States