At the Leeds Conference of 1769, shortly after his wife and child had died in tragic circumstances at Barnard Castle, he and Joseph Pilmore offered to go as the first British preachers appointed to America. On his way from Leeds to Bristol he preached at Monyash, Derbys, on 'Jabez was more honourable than his brethren' (1 Chron. 4:9). A young woman, Mary Redfern, found spiritual comfort in the sermon and when she later married William Bunting in Manchester called her son Jabez. Boardman's American ministry extended from Philadelphia to New York and into New England, where in 1772 he formed a small society in Boston that did not survive. Perhaps through periodic ill-health his leadership of the American connexion was relatively ineffective. He seems to have been more gifted as a pastor than as a pioneer. Following the arrival of Francis Asbury, he returned to English and Irish circuits in 1774 and died in Cork on 4 October 1782 after a seizure which left him blind.
'Pious; - fine temper, and good sense. - Greatly beloved. - Eminently useful… Preached the night before his death.'
Wesleyan Takings (1840), p.325