JOSEPH O. JOY - Among the prosperous and successful men of every community are to be found a number who owe their prosperity directly to their own efforts. Their work has formed the basis of their advancement in life, and their records should serve to encourage and inspire others to renewed activity. To this class belongs Joseph O. Joy, who was for a number of years a leading agriculturist and business man of Sangamon county and who is now living retired in Loami, having acquired a competence which supplies him with all of the comforts and many of the luxuries of life. He has been a resident of the county since October 14, 1857, and so straightforward has he always been that he is ever spoken of in terms of respect and high regard.
Mr. Joy is a native of Cabell county, West Virginia, born August 2, 1843. His father, William F. Joy, was born at Harpers Ferry in 1817 and represented one of the pioneer families of the Old Dominion. He was married in West Virginia to Minerva Knight, a native of North Carolina, who removed with her parents in her early girlhood days to West Virginia. Mr. Joy was a farmer by occupation and also served as a pilot on the Ohio river for a number of years. In the spring of 1857 he came to Illinois, locating in Loami township, where he purchased a farm on which a few improvements had been made. At once he began its further development and later he bought and sold other land, owing at different times two or three farms. He was actively engaged in agricultural pursuits until his death, which occurred March 17, 1873. His wife survived him and died in 1895. He was a man of good business judgment, who won success in his undertaking, and was also a helpful factor in public affairs. He served as justice of the peace for several years and was also a collector.
Joseph O. Joy was one of a family of nine sons and a daughter, of whom eight reached adult age, while four of the brothers are now living. The family was well represented in the Civil war, five of the brothers entering the army, the four eldest being members of the same company. John W. was shot in the knee by a musket ball at Perryville, was later brought home, and died of his wound. W. E. Joy, who belonged to the same company, was shot through the thigh at the battle of Perryville and remained in the hospital until the following March, when he was honorably discharged on account of disability. He died in September, 1902. James M., the third brother belonging to the same company, was captured at Chickamauga, and held as a prisoner of war at Libby, Salisbury, Blackshear, Florence and Andersonville, being incarcerated for eighteen months or until the close of the war. He is now postmaster at Waverly. A younger brother of our subject, Buena Vista Joy, enlisted in 1863, when but a lad, joining the Sixteenth Illinois Cavalry. In January, 1864, the entire battalion was captured at Jonesville, Virginia, and he was sent to Richmond and later to Andersonville, dying in that prison July 5, 1864. Only two of the soldier boys of this family are now living.
Joseph O. Joy came to Sangamon county in the fall of 1857, joined the family here and began working on his father's farm. He was educated in the public schools of West Virginia and of this county and after the outbreak of the Civil war he enlisted, on the 6th of August, 1862, as a member of Company I, Seventy-third Illinois Infantry, under Colonel J. F. Jacquess, in what was known as the preacher regiment. He became chief butler, and participated in the battles of Perryville, Stone River, Chickamauga, Mission Ridge, and Chattanooga. He was wounded at Mission Ridge, November 25, 1863, being shot through the hip, which disabled him so that he was sent to the hospital at Chattanooga and later to the general hospital at Nashville, Tennessee, Later he was granted a twenty days' furlough and then went to Nashville convalescent barracks and subsequently rejoined his regiment March 6, 1864. For four months he was in the Atlanta campaign, participating in the battles of Rocky Face Gap, Resaca, Tunnel Hill, New Hope Church, Kenesaw Mountain, Peach Tree Creek, Atlanta, Jonesboro, and later returned to Chattanooga and from there went to Pulaski, Tennessee, and arrived at Franklin, November 30-, 1864. He took part in the battle of Nashville in December, 1864, followed Hood to Huntsville and then went into winter quarters. In the following March the regiment was sent in box cars to Knoxville, and participated in the engagements of Blue Springs and Bells Gap, the last fighting of the regiment, being there when Lee surrendered and when the news of Lincoln's assassination was received. Mr. Joy was mustered out at Nashville, June 12, 1865, and was honorably discharged at Camp Butler, June 24, 1865.
The war being ended Mr. Joy returned home with a most creditable military record, and on the 2d of November, 1865, he was married to Miss Sarah J. Baker, a native of Sangamon county and a daughter of Thomas and Nancy Baker, who came from West Virginia to Illinois. The young couple located on a farm of about eighty acres in Loami township and with characteristic energy he began the development of his property. Success attended his labors and as his financial resources increased he purchased more land until his home farm comprised about half a section, well improved with substantial and commodious buildings and all modern equipments for the successful conduct of farming interests. Mr. Joy continued to carry on agricultural pursuits until 1891, when he purchased a house in Loami, remodeled and improved it, and has since occupied it, enjoying a well earned rest from further labor, save the supervision of his invested interests.
The home of Mr. and Mrs. Joy has been blessed with three living children: Charles W., a horse dealer residing in Loami; W. A., who is bookkeeper for the state board of pharmacy at Springfield, and Alice, the wife of J. W. Nipper, also a horse dealer of Loami. They also lost two children - John W., who died when about fifteen years of age, and Irene, at the age of three.
Politically Mr. Joy is a most earnest Republican and cast his first presidential ballot for General U. S. Grant in 1868. He was elected and served continuously on the county board of supervisors from April, 1891, until the spring of 1903, and was chairman of the board for three years. He served on a number of important committees, and for two terms he was chairman of the board of review. He was chairman of the building committee at the time of the erection of the courthouse and was recognized as one of the most important members of the board, his labors being very effective in promoting the best interests of the county. He was also once assessor for two terms, has been a delegate to the county and state conventions of his party, has served on the Republican county central committee and has been treasurer of his village. No public trust reposed in him has ever been betrayed in the slightest degree and his worth as a citizen is widely acknowledged, he having been a co-operant factor in many
measures of public good. He and his wife are members of the Methodist church and he takes a very active part in its work. He is connected, fraternally, with the Woodmen of America, Loami Camp, No. 848, and with the Grand Army of the Republic, and he delights in meeting with his old army comrades. As a citizen he is today as true and loyal to his country as when he followed her starry banner upon the battlefields of the south. His life has ever been upright, actuated by high and honorable principles, and his strong traits of character are those which command respect and confidence in every land and clime.