A pioneer preacher in Nova Scotia, he was born in Huddersfield. His family emigrated c.1775. He was converted at a prayer meeting in 1779 and began to preach, though conscious of his lack of theological education. To combat the influence of the New-Light preacher Henry Alline, he began to itinerate in 1781. When he wrote to John Wesley for help, he was advised to look to American Methodism. In 1783 he organized classes and held services for Loyalist emigrants from New York. He attended the Christmas Conference in Baltimore in 1784 and was ordained by Thomas Coke at the Conference in Philadelphia in May 1789 as superintendent for Nova Scotia. In 1791 he visited Newfoundland and reorganized the work there. Despite moves to put him in charge of the work in the West Indies (1792-1793) and in Bermuda (1804), he remained the effective chairman of the Nova Scotia District until his retirement in 1812, at what he recognized as an appropriate time. He died on 8 September 1834 and is remembered as 'the Apostle of Nova Scotia Methodism'.