Joseph was born in Portobello in 1883, the son of Betsy Clayton. In 1901 he was living with his sisters Elizabeth and Voilet [sic] Clayton and brother, Jesse Meesham, at 55 New Street, Portobello. Joseph was a cooper. In 1911, Joseph was visiting the home of Joseph Blanton at 11 Brickkiln Street, Willenhall. Joseph was now a waggoner down the pit. He worked for Rubery, Owen and Co at Darlaston, and before 1914 he was living with a Louisa Everitt at 49 New Street, Portobello. He was vice-captain of the Rubery-Owen football club.
Joseph enlisted with the Worcestershire Regiment on 23 August 1904, and served in the army abroad for seven years. On the outbreak of war he was called up as a Reservist (service number 8587) and joined the 3rd Battalion of the Worcestershire Regiment. He received a gunshot wound to his right knee on 14 October 1914, but recovered and returned to duty on 27 January 1915. He received another gun shot wound to his right leg on 3 July 1915. Unfortunately he did not recover from this one and died on 9 July 1915 in hospital in France after an operation. The Express & Star on 9 September 1915 carried details of his death. He is buried at the Etaples Military Cemetery, described as “a nice place near the hospital” by the newspaper, and listed on the Portobello war memorial.