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James F. Joy

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"... both the present and future generations of Michigan should recognize Mr. Joy as one of the prominent factors in promoting many of the changes which have occurred within fifty years in Michigan, as well as in the states west, directly through his agency."1

James Frederick Joy (December 2, 1810 – September 24, 1896) was a railroad executive in Detroit, Michigan.

Childhood & Law Career

Joy was born in Durham, New Hampshire, to James and Sarah Gee (nee Pickering) Joy in 1810.2 He attended the public schools in Durham, and college at Dartmouth and Law School at Harvard. In late 1836, he came to Detroit and the next year opened a law partnership with George F. Porter.

There are many biographies of Joy in the various histories of Detroit, but particularly useful have been

George B. Catlin, Local History of Detroit and Wayne County, volume 3 of George Fuller, ed., Michigan: Land of the Great Lakes (Dayton: National historical Association), p. 209.

and

Newspaper obituary for James F. Joy, Sept. 25, 1896.

Business Career

Joy's first involvement in the railroad industry occurred in 1846, when he joined the Michigan Central Railroad (MC) as general counsel. The MC was on the verge of being privatized by the state. Joy then organized a syndicate to buy the MCRR from the state and became its first president. He later was involved with the Illinois Central Railroad (IC). He founded the Chicago, Burlington, and Quincy Railroad (CB&Q).

He served as president of at least four railroads & a station company: the MCRR, the Wabash, St. Louis, and Pacific Railway (WStL&P), the Chicago & Michigan Lake Shore Railroad (C&MLS), the Detroit, Lansing, & Lake Michigan Railroad (DL&LM) in 1873, and the Detroit Union Railway Depot & Station company (DURD&S), for which he also served as treasurer.3 Joy served as a director on at least three railroads: MC, C&MLS, and the Detroit, Hillsdale, & Indiana Railroad (DH&I). It is not yet clear how long he served in any of these capacities.

He also became involved in the construction of the Soo Locks when Charles T. Harvey approached Joy about the potential of a canal at the rapids. Joy wrote the bill for the state legislature that authorized state land grants and oversight of the construction [Dunbar & May, 260]. Joy was also president of the Detroit Post and Tribune (1881–84).

In 1870-71, Joy joined with Ypsilanti capitalists, including former associate Daniel L. Quirk, to build the Detroit, Hillsdale, & Indiana Railroad.4

In 1871-72, Joy, again with the same Ypsilanti capitalists, built the Eel River Railroad.5

In 1882, he was listed as the president and treasurer of the Detroit Union Railroad Depot & Station Company.6

Politics

Joy also dabbled in politics. He was a Whig, then a Free Soiler, and lastly a Republican. He was elected, as a Republican, to the state legislature in 1861 but served only one term.RepublicanState Representative He was also elected (in 1881) a regent of the University of MichiganUM Regent, but resigned from that office after almost five years.7

Notes

1 Fred Carlisle, "Comparative Sketches of E. B. Ward, James F. Joy, Lewis Cass, and Wm. Woodbridge," Historical Collections of the Michigan Pioneer and Historical Society 22 (Lansing: Robert Smith, 1894), 291

2 For Joy's maternal family, see R. H. Eddy, Genealogical data respecting John Pickering of Portsmouth, N.H., and his descendants (Boston: 1884), 23.

3 First Annual Report of the Commissioner of Railroads for the State of Michigan, 1873.

4 62|56]]. Note that Beakes calls this line the "Hillsdale Railroad" but given that no railroad existed in Michigan by that name and that Beakes described the route as connecting Ypsilanti and Hillsdale, it is clear that Beakes was describing the DH&I.

5 62|56]].

6 Detroit City Directory for 1882 (Detroit: J. W. Weeks & Co., 1882), 346.

7 Joy's tenure was from January 1, 1881, to December 21, 1886. B. A. Hinsdale, History of the University of Michigan (Ann Arbor, MI: University of Michigan Press, 1906), 200.

Bibliography

JamesFJoy-Bibliography

Joy, James F. "Railroad History of Michigan," Historical Collections of the Michigan Pioneer and Historical Society 22 (Lansing: Robert Smith, 1894), 292.

Clarence M. Burton, William Stocking, and Gordon K. Miller, The City of Detroit, Michigan, 1701-1922, vol. 3 (Detroit: S. J. Clarke, 1922), 4.

Carlisle, Fred. "Comparative Sketches of E. B. Ward, James F. Joy, Lewis Cass, and Wm. Woodbridge," Historical Collections of the Michigan Pioneer and Historical Society 22 (Lansing: Robert Smith, 1894), 283-292.

Includes short sketches of René-Robert Cavelier, Sieur de La Salle, Antoine de Lamothe Cadillac, Lewis Cass, William Woodbridge, Eber B. Ward, and James F. Joy.

Mitchell, C. T. "Progress in Transportation and Mails in the last Fifty Years," Historical Collections of the Michigan Pioneer and Historical Society 22 (Lansing: Robert Smith, 1894), 281.

Maynard, Brent. "Joy, James F." Encyclopedia of Detroit (Detroit: Detroit Historical Society, 2016).

External Links

  • Wikipedia
  • Bowman, John S. "James F. Joy," The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography (Cambridge University Press, 1995).

Citation: When referencing this page please use the following citation:

R. D. Jones, "James F. Joy," Michigan Transportation History (Ypsilanti, MI: 2018), www.michtranshist.info/.

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Page last modified on May 06, 2018, at 05:09 PM EST