Between 1818 and 1822, Joshua was born into slavery in Kentucky. He escaped by the Underground Railroad and crossed the Ohio River. In 1850, Joshua was residing in Wilmington, Clinton, Ohio. He later made his way to Sandusky, Ohio, continued across Lake Erie to Detroit and then entered Canada. In June 1863, he returned to enlist in the 55th Massachusetts United States Colored Infantry, Company F. The Regiment was sent to Folly Island, South Carolina, where Joshua was discharged in October 1863 due to varicose veins in his legs. Undeterred, in May 1864, Joshua re-enlisted in the 5th Massachusetts Cavalry. By October, Joshua was promoted to Corporal. The regiment participated in the advance on Petersburg, VA. April 1865, Joshua was promoted to Sergeant. The unit was mustered out in October 1865. After the war, Joshua married Mrs. Matilda Murphy on Christmas Eve of 1871 and settled in Dayton, Ohio. They had two children. Their son, Paul, attended school with Orville and Wilbur Wright. By January 1877, they divorced and Joshua moved to the Old Soldier's Home in Dayton, Ohio. Eight years later, Joshua died at the National Home for Disabled Soldiers in Dayton, Ohio.