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No better illustration of what industry joined to intelligence and sobriety will accomplish can be found than in the case of the subject of this sketch.
   He was born in Lancastershire, England, March 26, 1824, and after receiving an ordinary education and the rudiments of a trade as a tinner, came to this country and located in Milledgeville, Ga., beginning life as a journeyman. After two years of hard work and strict economy he saved enough from his earnings to open a small tin-shop. In time he added a stock of hardware and his business grew; until the opening of the war he was driving a splendid trade and was on the road to wealth and independence. Like many others who were just fairly getting started he closed his store, sacrificed his property, and threw himself and fortunes into the uncertain conflict of arms. He joined the "Baldwin Blues," which were mustered into the Fourth Georgia regiment and sent into the Fourth Georgia regiment and sent to join the conflict then raging in Virginia. After some service in the army of north Virginia, he was discharged on account of failing health and sent home, when he was placed in the State armory and there remained until the surrender. At the close he opened a small shop again and began anew. By the exercise of the same industry and economy, and the same attention to his own affairs which characterized his earlier years, his business has grown and prospered and he now has the best house of the kind in any country town in middle Georgia; not only that, but he has interests outside. he has been active in the movements to secure for his town a system of gas and water works, a street car line and a building and loan association. He has also been one  of the aldermen of the town many years, and was recently elected mayor. He has become thoroughly Americanized, although of foreign birth, and is in active sympathy with all distinctively American interests. His wife is a Georgia lady, being a descendent of one of the old families of Wilkinson County - her maiden name Martha J. Sanders. He has but one child, a daughter, Sarah Isabella.

Source: Biographical Souvenir of the States of Georgia and Florida. Chicago, IL: F.A. Battey & Company, 1889.

February 28, 1909
The Atlanta Constitution
Aged  Citizen of Baldwin Was Stricken With Pneumonia.
Milledgeville, Ga., February 27. (Special) Joseph Staley, one of Milledgeville's oldest citizens, died today of pneumonia. he was in his eighty-fifth year, and had been constantly in business in this city for over fifty years. He was a native of England, coming to this section when thirty years of age, and for years has been in the hardware business. Mr. Staley fought through the war as a member of the Baldwin Blues. Up to a few days ago he actively attended to his business.

Staley Avenue in Milledgeville is named after Mayor Joseph Staley.

Eileen Babb McAdams copyright 2005