His early life was spent somewhere in Guinea which was was a loose name for the interior of West Africa. He was taken from there as a slave to Brazil but then appears to have been taken to Lisbon in Portugal where we first see him. Sometime in his life he was introduced to music and his master in Lisbon sent him to a teacher. It was not long before he was playing second violin in the city's operatic orchestra.
Fate had something else in store for this young slave.
In his book Philip Mardsen tells us that he was heard at a concert by the captain of a British ship holed up in Portugal for repairs.Sir Edward Pellew was captain of the frigate Indefatigable at the time and he stole Joseph carrying him off on the man of war. He was a prisoner on the ship for about four years where he played the fiddle for Pellew and his crew! He must have seen action during that time however when Pellew was posted to another ship Emidy found himself free again on the coast of Cornwall at Falmouth. Falmouth was a thriving cosmopolitan port in those days and Joseph was accepted ,he married a local girl the daughter of a tradesman and began to make a name for himself with his amazing musical talents.
The family moved to Truro and his fame grew. Attempts were made to introduce him to the London Music world but were not altogether successful although his own work and his rendition of the greats of the time won him praise in high places. It was thought as a black man he would not have been totally accepted in the big city! It was said that if he had been lucky enough to have the same advantages he could have been a Beethoven or a Mendelssohn .As it was this amazing black musician lived out his 60 years in Cornwall with his family. Joseph's compositions seem to have died with him which must be a great loss to music.
I personally hope he had a happy life playing music down here in the far West so far from his African homeland.
His grave is well kept and we added a bunch of rosemary from our garden.
It was a beautiful day and the walk to the churchyard was a circular one along the lanes.
Romantic remains of old farm machinery ,there was a wren darting about on the overgrown wagon.