LESLIE, JOHN WALTER [SSNE 6602]
Johann Walter Lesle (ca. 1620-1679)
Of unknown parentage born in Danzig around 1620, John Walter Leslie, or, actually "Johann Walther Lesle", claimed to have Scottish roots when, receiving his doctorate in theology at the Brandenburg university (Alma Mater Viadrina) in Frankfurt (Oder), he called himself "Scoto-Boruss. Dantiscanum“ (Scottish-Prussian from Danzig), in 1652. In the same way, his origin is noted in the Brandenburg university registers when he was elected to the office of rector in 1656.
Still a student, Johann Walter Lesle had begun teaching logic and metaphysics at the Brandenburg university, already. In 1654, he was appointed professor of morals and philosophy and in 1664 professor of theology as successor of Georg Conrad Bergius (1623-1691). From Bergius (who had become court preacher at Berlin) he also took over the office of first pastor of the Reformed congregation in Frankfurt (Oder). Moreover, in 1664, he, for a second term, accepted the honorary office of university rector which he was to hold two more times in 1670 and 1675. The author of several theological works published at Frankfurt (Oder) after 1651, he died in Frankfurt (Oder) on July 27, 1679.
Johann Walter Lesle had married twice. In the first marriage with an unknown wife he became father of a son Johann Theodor. The son's birthday is not known, but because he became not enrolled regularly at the Brandenburg university until 18 years later, on April 30, 1679, his birth can be dated around the year 1660. With his second wife Catharina Sybilla Sagittarius (* 1651), the daughter of the Berlin court chaplain Johann Christian Sagittarius (1603-1674), Johann Walter Lesle after 1667 had become father of three sons, Christian Walter, Johann Walter and Johann Samuel, whose exact birth dates couldn‘t be determined, yet. It seems that only Johann Samuel reached adulthood. As a regular student, he enrolled at the University of Frankfurt on April 27, 1692. A promising student of theology, his life took a fatal turn, however, when he, in a strange fit of rage, caused the death of a child entrusted to him by hitting it with a piece of wood.
Sources: A. Bieganska, The Learned Scots in Poland (From the Mid-Sixteenth to the close of the Eighteenth Century) in Canadian Slavonic Review, Vol. XLIII, No. 1, March 2001, p.7.
This article was written on 24 June 2020 by Rainer Bunz.