Milward Funeral Directors, Lexington Kentucky

Joseph Milward

Joseph Milward

Joseph Milward

1803-1883

Born in Baltimore in 1803, Joseph was brought to Lexington as a young child by his widowed mother. At 16 he became an apprentice cabinet maker and for a time was a journeyman craftsman in Cincinnati and later in Richmond, Ky.

By 1825 Joseph had returned to Lexington for good, opening a business with John Baxter, a wheelwright and wood turner. Their shop was located on South Broadway, on the same street and not far from where Milward Funeral Directors downtown home is located today.

While producing various pieces of furniture, they soon began to focus on producing caskets and providing aid for bereaved families in the community. Within 10 years, Joseph became sole proprietor of his business.

Although he would face major challenges and heavy losses during the depression dubbed the Panic of 1837, he weathered the storm and turned his company into one of the city’s most viable and successful businesses.
After 40 years in the business, Joseph retired in 1865 at the age of 61. His career was “a shining example of what sterling integrity and perseverance may achieve,” wrote The Biographical Encyclopedia of Kentucky in 1878. “Devoted to principle, he is always found on the side of justice, and his career has been marked by an unwavering adherence to right in all his transactions with his fellow men.”