From Biographical Memoirs of Huntington County, 1901, pages 448-450
This estimable gentleman and subject of this sketch was born in Lancaster, England, near the city of Oldham, on October 26, 1826, and there grew to manhood. His immediate ancestors were William and Hannah (Taylor) Bardsley, but the genealogy of the family is traced back to Greece, whence the early members emigrated to England. William Bardsley was a farmer and dairyman of the rural district and was there married to Hannah Taylor, a family of nine children resulting, six sons and three daughters, only a few of whom grew to adult years.
Joseph Bardsley spent his first few years with his father and did such work as he was able on the farm and in the dairy, but at the age of nine he was placed in a cotton and woolen factory, where he remained until he reached his majority. He was filial in his duties and scrupulously carried his earnings to his mother, and as these earnings were one dollar a day after his twelfth year, it amounted to no inconsiderable sum. He was a careful workman, discharging his duties faithfully and understanding the work thoroughly. When the war between the United States and Mexico was brewing his interest was much excited and he closely watched the struggle, his sympathies all being with the United States. At last he could stand the suspense no longer and determined to cross the ocean and take up arms in the cause of the sister country. On February 7, 1848, he set sail from Liverpool, reaching New York on the 23d of the following month. When he reached the goal he found the war was over, and as thirty-five dollars represented his sole capital after reaching this country, it was expedient that he find employment without delay. The only opening which seemed to him available was in the harvest fields, and in June he obtained work in the fields, continuing until the harvest was ended in the state of New York, when he went to Vermont and continued in the same kind of work, receiving one dollar a day for his labor until August. Vermont is a state of factories, and as Mr. Bardsley was a skilled workman it was no trouble for him to secure work in the woolen factories there. He remained in that employment until the following fall, saving his earnings until he had accumulated two hundred dollars, with which he started for the Indiana forests, intending to carve a farm from the unbroken frontier, much of which was already putting on the appearance of cultivation and prosperity.
Arriving in Franklin county, he met and fell in love with one of the fair natives of that vicinity, Miss Jane E. Barickman, whose parents had come there from Kentucky when Franklin county was in its infancy. Mr. Bardsley concluded it would be much easier for two to make a home than for one, and as he was successful in converting Miss Barickman to his way of thinking, they were married and began life's journey together. A family of six daughetrs and two sons have been added to their household, all of whom have grown to honorable manhood and womanhood. They are as follows: James T., who married Miss Rittenhouse and resides in Rock Creek township; Delilah, wife of James H. Marshall, of Warren; Ida L., who married H. O. Brelsford and lives in Jefferson township; Anna M., wife of Henry H. Blake, a resident of Ohio; Ellis K., who married D. S. Bowman, of Claysville, Washington county, Indiana; Mary H. married Henry Buzzard, and resides on county line of Huntington and Grant; William, who married Ida Brown and resides on the homestead; and Lola J., wife of Jesse Smith, of Marion. After marriage the young couple set bravely to work to lay the foundation of future independence from want. Their first home was a rented farm, but it was only a matter of time before they purchased land in Franklin county, selling it at an advanced price during the war. He then moved to the farm of his father-in-law, Mr. Barickman, tending it about five years. Huntington county held out inducements to him in the way of unimproved and heavily timbered land, and he bought a tract of eighty acres, upon which he moved in the fall of 1866, and where he still remains. After improving this land he desired to extend his possessions and bought an adjoining fifty acres, giving him one hundred and thirty acres, lying in section 15 of Jefferson township, and there is not a better piece of property in Huntington county to-day than this. Although Mr. Bardsley is not a member of any religious body, he is a strong believer in the larger hope as set forth in the Universalist doctrine, and his entire life has been broadened and made better by his ideas on the universal brotherhood of man and the uplifting conception of the Father as a spirit of love, but previously they had been members of this curch in Fairfield. This desire to help others in their struggles through life has actuated him in his lodge work, and no more enthusiastic worker can be found in the ranks. He was a charter member of Salamonie Lodge, No. 392, Independent Order of Odd Fellows, of Warren. He belives in the principles of Democracy, but is far too honorable and upright to make a politician, a fact which easily explains his defeat by a small majority when he was the party nominee for the office of township trustee.
Mr. Bardsley had relatives in Indiana; a sister of his father married a man named William Wright, and it was with one of their sons, James, where Mr. Bardsley made his home after coming to Indiana until his own marriage. Mr. Bardsley was an expert in his line of business, concerning the wood and cotton business, fixing and repairing and setting up a great deal of his own machinery. He thoroughly understood the business in all its intricate details.