• Joyce Heritage

Joyces of the South-West: The Adventures of John Joyce (1775-1865)

Updated: Sep 8, 2018

(Story and facts provided by Joyce Garrott)


Since the beginning, the Joyces of 18h century North Carolina have always had an industrious spirit. From Alexander Joyce (1719-1778) and Thomas Joyce (1722-1780) who left County Down, Ireland, for a strange, new world, adventuring into the unknown was not an uncommon occurrence. After their passing in the late 18th century, this trait continued to be passed down to their descendants, especially to those who moved out west. The journey of these westward bound pioneers can be seen in the life of John Joyce (1775-1865).


The son of James Edward Joyce, Sr and Elizabeth Hopkins Joyce, John was born in Stokes County, North Carolina. After marrying Lucy Edwards, abt the year 1800, he, unlike some of the other Joyces, did not intend to stay in North Carolina. Instead, he decided to take a journey of a lifetime. Settling in Grainger County, Tennessee, around the year 1828, he and his family remained in the area until the late 1840’s. But as with any great adventure, there are always unexpected obstacles.



Eager to travel across the expanding United States, John Joyce again packed up his bags and moved to West Kentucky, but according to a great uncle, this was not his intended destination. But rather, John originally intended to join one of his children in Arkansas; fate unfortunately, had other reservations. When spring came, he were eager to continue on his journey, but could not due to a typhoid fever epidemic in Arkansas.


Deciding to permanently stay in Kentucky, John Joyce and his family helped establish the lineage of Alexander Joyce (1719-1778) in the mid-west. Upon his departure from Grainger County, Tennessee, three of his children stayed behind. Waving goodbye to Wortham Joyce (1808-1880), Mary G Joyce (1811-1880), and Robert Joyce (1815-1880), little did he know the impact his family would have on Joyce history.


While the Joyces of Tennessee continued to expand, his other children, helped establish the Joyce family of Trigg County, Kentucky. From James W Joyces (1802-1850), Thomas Patrick Joyce (1806-1855, John Joyce (1820-1850), and Lucy Ann Joyce (b. 1824), they all played a crucial role. One of his other sons, Alexander Joyce (1812-1884), ever determined to pursue this adventure, managed to create a life for himself in Arkansas.


On John Joyce’s passing in 1865, it had only been 117 years since Alexander Joyce’s (1719-1778) appearance in Louisa County, Virginia, on August 15, 1748. Within that time, thanks to the dedication of brave souls like John, the lineage of Alexander has continued to survive and spread across the United States.

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