Joyce Landmark Series: Cub Creek Settlement
When one ponders on the origins of Thomas Joyce (1722-1780) and Alexander Joyce (1719-1778), many ideas come to mind. The imaginary of rough, 18th century pioneers toughing out the wilderness on the Virginia frontier is among the first thoughts that occur. It is hard for us as modern descendants to visualize this; however, all is not lost. Due to surviving documentation, we can still get a taste of the kind life they lived, especially with their contribution to the Scots-Irish, Cub Creek Settlement.
On May 10, 1748, Alexander and Thomas Joyce purchase land in Lunenburg County, Virginia. Buying 800 acres of land on Ward's Fork, Alexander Joyce in time became a cornerstone of Cub Creek. Although, Thomas Joyce did acquire 400 acres of land, he preferred to live a peaceful, solitary existence, and is not recorded as participating in the community as often. Established by John Caldwell, a Scots-Irish, Presbyterian Elder, little did Alexander and Thomas Joyce know the importance this community would have on history of Lunenburg County.
The Significance of the Cub Creek Settlement
Granted special permission to settle in the backwoods of Virginia in 1738 by the lieutenant Governor of Virginia, William Gooch, John Caldwell and his followers were given a special honor. Given freedom to worship as they pleased, they were allowed to govern themselves under certain circumstances. A beacon for religious dissenters from the Established Church of England, Alexander and Thomas Joyce were eager to join. Like their father, Thomas Joass (b. 1683) from Banff, Scotland, they, too, were familiar with political and religious persecution.
Previously documented earlier in Louisa County, Virginia, in 1747 and on August 15, 1748, Alexander and Thomas Joyce were accustomed to the strict rules imposed by the colonial government. As Presbyterians, they were required to attend worship services within the Church of England, and if they did not, they were fined and/or jailed. It is no wonder they flocked to John Caldwell's settlement.
The Ruins of Cub Creek Church in Charlotte County, Virginia
The Joyce Contribution
As time passed and Alexander and Thomas Joyce formed relationships with the original settlers of Cub Creek, Alexander began to serve his community. On December 3, 1755, he is recorded as a ruling elder at the first meeting of the Presbytery of Hanover at Pole Green Church in Hanover County, Virginia. Among those present at this historic meeting were, the Rev. John Craig and Samuel Morris, founders of the Presbyterian Church in Virginia. Having earned the respect of his neighbors, Alexander was trusted with this important task.
Alexander Joyce continued to serve the Presbyterian community, and on September 24, 1760 he is still active within the church. Acting as an elder at Buffalo Creek Church in Prince Edward County, Virginia, he had become an essential member of the region. The last mention of his role as a influential leader is on October 15, 1766 at Cub Creek Church. Before migrating to North Carolina, Alexander had taken up the calling of his grandfather, the Rev. William Joass, and helped establish religious freedom, one of the foundations for the future United States.