Our subject is of excellent New England ancestry, and the grandson of James Joy, who was born in Durham, N. H., and was a blacksmith and ship builder by trade. He also engaged considerably in agricultural pursuits. He was a man of much force of character, active and enterprising and prominent in his community. He lived to be eighty years of age, and spent his last days retired from active life at Groton, Mass. In the meantime, however, he, in 1837, had visited Illinois, and by entry and purchase secured about 1,000 acres of land on sections 4 and 5, township 15, range 11, this county. At this time very little of the land in this region had been turned by the plowshare. Grandfather Joy began making improvements, but after a time returned to the old Granite State, and sent his three sons, John, the eldest, and the father of our subject, Charles and Sylvester, to finish what he had begun. John Joy was practically the manager of the property, and upon a part of this he lived and labored the remainder of his life. He finally became te owner of 480 acres, which he improved into a good homestead, and where his death took place in February, 1879. He had been very successful, and made a specialty of stock-raising, from which he realized a good fortune.
John Joy, like his father, was also a native of Durham, N. H., and at an early age learned to handle the blacksmith tools in his father's shop, and also assisted the latter in carrying on the farm. He was married in Loudon, his native State, to Miss Judith Bachelder, who was a native of that place and the daughter of an old New England family, who were prominently connected with the Congregational Church. The parents of our subject, after their marriage, lived in New Hampshire about five years, then equipped themselves for the long journey to Illinois. The trip occupied one month, and upon reaching this county, they settled upon a part of the land which grandfather Joy had entered form the Government, and John Joy prosecuted farming uninterruptedly, until his decease, which occurred in 1879. The wife and mother lived about twelve years after coming to this State, passing away when only about forty years of age, and leaving an only child, our subject. She was a member of the Congregational Church from her youth.
John Joy, after the death of his first wife, was twice married, and the homestead is now owned by his third wife, by whom he became the father of two children: Charles B., who remains at the homestead, and James A., who is engaged in the grocery trade, and furnishing railroad supplies in Pueblo, Colo. The maiden name of the mother of these boys, was Jane Bigger. She is a resident of Jacksonville, and is now past sixty years of age.
The subject of this sketch learned his letters in the old Granite State, and later attended the primitive schools of this county for a time, and when sufficiently advanced in his studies, became a student of Illinois College. In the meantime he had also learned farming in all its details, and chose this for his vocation. In 1855 he took unto himself a wife and helpmate, Miss Angelica Hazelton. This lady was born in Vermont, March 10, 1838, and is the daughter of Thomas and Sarah (Weatherby) Hazelton, who were also natives of the Green Mountain State, and of excellent New England ancestry. They came to Illinois in 1838, and located on land near Chapin. There the wife and mother died in middle life. Mr. Hazelton was married a second time, and finally removed to Mt. Hope, McLean County, this State, where he died when about forty-five years old. Of his first marriage there were only two children: Angelica and Mary Ann; the latter is now deceased. Of his second marriage there was no issue. The Hazeltons were ranked among the best families of that time, and their daughter, Mrs. Joy, is a lady of more than ordinary worth and intelligence. She was left an orphan when quite young, and her early advantages were quite limited, but she has made the most of her opportunity, and is at once recognized as a lady of refinement and cultivated tastes.
Seven children came to the home of Mr. and Mrs. Joy, two of whom - John P., and Arthur B., (twins) died in infancy. Minnie the eldest daughter, is the wife of Albert Rice, who is farming near Arnold, this county; they have two children, Harry J., and Florence. Mrs. Rice received an excellent education, completing her studies in the Methodist College. Miss Nettie Joy completed her education at Creston, Iowa; Edward F., attended school at Galesburg. Walter died April 11, 1889; Ruth B. All are at home with the exception of Mrs. Rice.
Politically, Mr. Joy is a sound Republican, and in religious matters is with his excellent wife, an active member of the Joy Prairie Congregational Church, in the councils of which Mr. Joy has always taken an active part, and is numbered among its chief pillars.