JOY, LYMAN F. , one of the most widely known agriculturists of Morgan County, and a representative of one of its most prominent pioneer families, residing on his farm about five miles southeast of Concord, and eight miles northwest of Jacksonville, was born in Pittsfield, N.H., February 3, 1833, the son of John P. and Judith (Bachelder) Joy. John P. Joy, who was born in Durham, N.H., March 17, 1806, was a son of James and Sarah (Pickering) Joy. The former, who was born March 4, 1778, in Durham, N.H., learned the trade of a blacksmith from his father, and afterward became a shipbuilder; but his business having been ruined by reason of the Embargo Act of 1808 and the War of 1812, he removed to another neighborhood in New Hampshire, where he purchased a farm and engaged in the manufacture of scythes and other implements. He became the founder of the town of Pittsfield, in that State, and was a man of great influence in his community. He married Sarah Pickering December 19, 1802, and they had seven children, one of whom, John P., came with his father to Illinois in 1838, followed later by Charles and Sylvester.
The family located in Morgan County in that year, the elder Joy purchasing about 1,200 acres of fertile prairie land, which has since been known as "Joy Prairie". A month after his arrival in the county he returned to his old home, leaving his sons in possession of the newly acquired property, and spent the remainder of his life in New Hampshire. Two of the sons were married, and brought their wives with them; Sylvester married after he settled in Morgan County. With the exception of a log cabin, the new comers found the land upon which they located devoid of improvements for the accommodation of themselves and their families. The log house first occupied by John P. Joy contained but one room, with puncheon floor; but his wife, Judith Bachelder, a native of Loudon, N.H., was a helpmate in the truest sense of the word, and assisted her husband in every possible way to found a pleasant home in the wilderness. She bore the hardships of the times bravely, and carefully reared her only son, Lyman F. Joy, to the age of sixteen years, when, in 1849, she was called from earth. The elder Joy was again married in 1850 to Elizabeth Parsons, a native of New Hampshire, who died two years later, leaving no children. In 1853 he was united with Jane Bigger, who bore him four children. Of these two survive, namely: James Allen, proprietor of the Joy Steamship Line, running to Atlantic ports from Boston; and Charles, who is located on the homestead. John P. Joy carried on extensive operations in general farming and stock raising, and was very successful. He was an influential member of the Congregational Church, of which he was one of the founders. In politics he was first a Whig, and afterward a Republican, and died at the age of seventy-four years.
Lyman F. Joy attended the early subscription school located on Joy Prairie, and afterward took the full elective (now scientific) course in Illinois College. For five or six years after the completion of his college course he taught school. In 1855 he was united in marriage with Angelica Haseltine, a native of Passumpsic, Vt., and they at once began housekeeping on the place where Mr. Joy now lives. He now owns 420 acres in one body, and all under cultivation, which is reputed to be one of the finest bodies of land for agricultural purposes in Morgan County. All the improvements upon the place are the result of his own labor. While he is now engaged in general farming, for many years he conducted extensive stock operations; and in all his undertakings he has been successful. Mr. Joy has been actively interested in the promotion of the best interests of the Republican party since its organization in 1856, and is now serving his tenth year as Justice of the Peace and his thirteenth year as Notary Public. Aside from purely local offices, such as good citizens are called upon to fill from time to time, he has never sought political honors. For more than forty years he has been a member of the Congregational Church, of which his wife, who died April 9, 1892, was also a member. They became the parents of seven children, of whom the following survive: Minnie, wife of Albert C. Rice, of Arnold, Ill.; Nettie J., wife of Thurlow H. Pratt, of Joy Prairie; Ruth J., wife of Arthur C. French, of Chapin; and Edward F., who, with his father, manages the home place, his wife bing formerly Frances Cowdin.
Mr. Joy is a representative of that type of citizenship which forms the bone and sinew of a community. Throughout his entire life he has shown a gratifying public spirit, taking a hearty and unselfish interest in the promotion of those well considered projects which have had for their end the advancement of the highest interests of his fellow-men. No enterprise of a worthy nature has ever been place before him for consideration and failed to enlist his earnest cooperation and support; and in many instances he himself has taken the initiative. He is an honored representative of a type of strong men which is rapidly disappearing; a man whose integrity and whose motives have never been brought into question; one whom his fellow-men delight to honor. And as such he is entitled to a permanent and conspicuous place in the annals of Morgan County.