Joshua Seward was born in Portsmouth, New Hampshire on May 5, 1809 and died in Woburn, Massachusetts on July 21, 1885. Current research suggests that he was most likely an apprentice of John Sawin. Sawin was a prolific Boston clockmaker. In 1832, Seward formed a partnership with Alva Skinner under the firm name Skinner & Seward. In May of 1833, Seward advertised working alone. He was then located at 63 Congress Street. By 1836, it appears he gave up clockmaking to operate the livery stable at the Boylston Estate on School Street in Boston. In 1840 through 1842, he lived in Charlestown.