Joseph was born on 31 December 1834 in Mapperley, a Derbyshire village in England. His parents were William and Sarah Hawley. By the age of 17, he was working as a servant for the Thornhill family in nearby Stanton. Soon enough though, he began working at the coal mines in Ilkeston and Stonebroom like most men in the village.
There he worked until 1882 when he decided he wanted something better for the remainder of his life. He took his family and moved them to Young, Pennsylvania in Jefferson County.
But the miner in him just couldn’t quit. He worked the Pennsylvania coal mines until his death on 26 March 1908 of the “infirmities of old age.” Having the flu certainly didn’t help.
He was buried in the Horatio Cemetery in nearby Punxsutawney three days later.