Joseph was born on 25 June 1827 at Hunslet Hall, nr Leeds, Yorkshire to parents David Morton and Sarah Spencer. He was baptised on 11 April 1838 at Huddersfield.
During early boyhood, his parents moved to Huddersfield and then Manchester. The family attended the New Jersey St Society and it was there, in Sunday School, that Joseph decided for Christ. The family returned to Leeds, attending the Quarry Hill chapel. Joseph became a local preacher and was soon called to ministry. He turned down the first call due to anxiety, but accepted a second call.
Joseph’s obituary records that he was a capable administrator, a good preacher, an untiring worker, a devoted servant of the Church, and one of those well balanced, all-round men, to whom Primitive Methodism owes so much. Those who knew him best love to remember his breadth of view, his catholic spirit and his generous disposition.
Joseph married Jane Harrison (1837-1917) of Tealby, Lincolnshire in the summer of 1858. Census returns identify eleven children.
- Charlotte Evangeline (1860-1925) – married William Eber Thornton, an insurance company district manager (1901)
- John Angell James (1863-1934) – an insurance clerk
- Hannah Jane (1864-1891)
- Lucy (b1866)
- Adelaide (1867-1945) –married Henry Saxon, a joiner; died in Australia
- Sarah Louisa (1868-1947) – married Richard Miles, a timber merchant’s foreman in 1911
- Arthur Ernest (1870-1940) – an insurance superintendent (1901), later a labourer underground (1911)
- Joseph Herbert (b1871) – a shoemaker
- Albert E (b1873) - a monumental mason (1891)
- Florence (1874-1933) – married William Dakin, a clerk
- Ethel Gertrude (1876-1973) – a kindergarten governess (1911)
Joseph died on 14 August 1905 at Birkenhead, Cheshire.
- 1854 Market Rasen
- 1855 Retford
- 1857 Swinefleet
- 1858 Rochdale
- 1859 Preston
- 1860 New Mills
- 1865 Manchester ll
- 1867 Knowlwood
- 1869 St Helens
- 1872 Douglas
- 1875 Darwen
- 1879 Preston Brook
- 1881 Warrington
- 1884 Deal
- 1885 Dawley
- 1886 Pembroke Dock
- 1887 Brynmawr
- 1891 Lydbrook
- 1894 Cardiff ll (S)
- 1898 Lydbrook
Primitive Methodist Magazine 1884 (portrait); 1906/993
PM Minutes 1906/20
W Leary , Directory of Primitive Methodist Ministers and their Circuits , 1990
Census Returns and Births, Marriages & Deaths Registers