Joseph Henry Beatty (b. 1840) was born in Doylestown, Pennsylvania, to John Beatty (b. 1800), a prosperous farmer, and his wife, Mary Assheton Henry Beatty. He had five siblings: brother Reading (b.1834), and sisters Emily, Susan Assheton, and Francis H. (Fanny). After receiving a boarding school education at Tuscarora Academy, and while still in his teens, Joseph Henry agreed to supervise the operation of oil wells in Franklin, Pennsylvania, for George F. Curwen, husband to his sister Emily. In the Civil War, Beatty served with the Union Army Commissary Department for two years. He then attended Burnham's American Business College in Hudson, New York, for a short period. After another fling with oil drilling in 1865, Beatty purchased a farm in North Vineland, N.J., where he became a fruit farmer. Joseph Henry married Olive McConnely Kerns in North Vineland, New Jersey, in 1863.
Francis H. "Fanny" Beatty, Joseph's sister, married Robert F. Holmes in November 1861. Robert had recently enlisted in the 104th regiment, Pennsylvania Volunteers, Co. A. on September 6, 1861. By 1862 he was a Captain.