Joseph P. Greaves, a former resident of this town, died at the home of his daughter, Mrs. Geo. H. Francis, at Dunellen, on Saturday last, after a lingering illness. The funeral services were held from the First Baptist church yesterday afternoon, Rev. C.J. Greenwood and Rev. Wilbur A. Hayes officiating. Favorite hymns of the deceased were sung by the Misses Edith Mooney and Lucy Johnson. The church was literally covered with beautiful floral tributes. Interment was made in the family plot.
Joseph Greaves, third son of Joseph and Maria Pearson Greaves, was born of English parents, in Basle, Switzerland, May 1st, 1830. His childhood was spent in England, and his education was obtained in the classical schools at Plymouth and Dartmouth. At the age of fifteen years he entered upon a business career at St. Johns, Newfoundland. Coming to the United States in 1853, he was connected with various business houses in New York City, and resided in Brooklyn, where he was married in 1861, to Louisa Mary, daughter of William Ridgway. In 1867 he came to Westfield, purchasing the homestead on Benson place, now owned by Mrs. J.E. Burtis, and resided there until the death of Mrs. Greaves, in 1899.
Born of Christian parents, he was brought up in the faith of the Church of England, but on coming to the United States he began to worship with the Baptists, and soon became a member of the Central Baptist church in Brooklyn, N.Y. His abilities as a teacher and preacher were quickly recognized, and he was licensed to preach the Gospel in 1858. He was ordained in 1865, and placed in charge of the Canton Street Mission, of the Central Baptist Church, of Brooklyn.
On coming to Westfield he connected himself with the newly formed Baptist Church, and gave his services to the church as pulpit, supply for three years. In 1870, at the earnest solicitation of the membership, he gave up business and became the first pastor of the church, continuing in this capacity until 1876, when he resigned.
In 1879 he became pastor of the Irving Street Baptist Church, in Rahway, serving for two years.
In 1881, he went back to business in New York City, and continued with the firm of Beebe & Bro. until his retirement from active work in 1899.
He was a staunch Baptist, but a firm believer in the larger fellowship of all true Christians. For a number of years he taught the Bible Class in the Presbyterian Sunday School, and was on the roll of the Baptist school as its senior teacher at the time of his death. He conducted a Union Teachers' Meeting for the study of the Sunday School Lesson for nearly twenty years.
Three children, a son and two daughters, and a brother, Rev. Frederick Greaves, of New York City, survive him.
Published by The Westfield Leader on September 4, 1912.