Biography of Gideon L. Joy

Gideon L. Joy
Gideon L. Joy

Gideon L. Joy, of Hancock, one of the most extensive landholders in Hancock County, son of Stephen Joy, was born here, December 18, 1830. His great-grandfather, Benjamin Joy, was a pioneer settler of Ellsworth, Me., to which he removed from Saco in Colonial times. Among the children reared by him were: John, the grandfather of Gideon L.; and Ivory H., the father of Calvin P. Joy, of Ellsworth, in whose biography will be found further information regarding the family. John Joy came from Ellsworth, the place of his birth, to Hancock by boat, and settled near the shore at a time when white men were rarely seen in this section of the country. He built a log house in the first clearing he made. Soon afterward he placed beside it a blacksmith’s shop, in which he worked at his trade when not employed in lumbering and farming. That he was a good workman at his trade is believed to be proved by an axe, supposed to have been made by him, which was turned up by his grandson, Gideon L., a few years ago, when plowing over the site of the old smithy. He died in 1845, aged seventy-seven years. His wife, whose maiden name was Elizabeth Clark, bore him six children, of whom Stephen was the second son.

Stephen Joy, who was born in Franklin, Me., spent the greater part of his life in Han cock, where he died in 1863, at the age of sixty-three years. From his father he learned the blacksmith’s trade, and likewise became proficient in that of carpenter. In the latter capacity he built two vessels, and was for a time engaged in coasting and fishing, commanding the craft in which he sailed. On two or three of these trips, when accompanied by his son Gideon, he had very narrow escapes from death by drowning. Although often urged to accept public office, he steadily declined, preferring the quietude of his fireside to the turmoil of official life. He married Almira Lee, a daughter of Abner Lee, of Amherst, Mass. They became the parents of the following children: Stephen D., a resident of Hancock, who married Eliza A. McFarland, and has three sons and a daughter; Gideon L., the subject of this biography; Herman D., deceased, who was an extensive farmer, and married Elizabeth Clark; Julia A., deceased; Almira E., who married George P. Clark, resides in Boston in winter and on the old homestead in summer; and Charles B., who is a ranchman in Colorado.

After completing his studies in the district schools of Hancock, Gideon L. Joy went to Sullivan, a nearby town, to study navigation. At an early age he began his career as a seaman. Afterward, in the capacity of mate on different vessels, he visited many of the important ports of the world. In 1849, seized with the gold fever, he went to California, and there spent two years engaged in mining and lumbering. Returning then to the East, he remained here pretty contentedly until 1856, when he went to Oshkosh, Wis. Not finding any better opportunities there for improving his circumstances, he came home in the following year, and spent the next four years in seafaring. Then, settling down on shore, he began the improvement of a farm. He bought twenty-seven hundred acres of forest land, and, cutting off the timber, reserved two hundred acres of it for a homestead. Here he has built a log house, which he and his family have since occupied. He has about twenty-five acres of the property under cultivation. He is also the owner of nearly ten thousand acres of heavily timbered land, from which he cuts large quantities of lumber each year.

Mr. Joy is an earnest Republican in politics, and he has served his town as Selectman, although he has no especial desire for office. In 1864 he was married to Jane, a daughter of Josiah Coolidge, of Lamoine, and has had five children. The latter were: Mary C., who is now the wife of Henry A. Butler, and has two children — Rebecca and Hazel; Madison B., of Hancock, who married Lydia Nickerson, of Sorrento, and has one child, Lee; Stephen, who died at the early age of five years; Sarah, who is the wife of Wallace R. E. Foss; and Hattie D., who resides at home.

Source: Biographical review: containing life sketches of leading citizens of Somerset, Piscataquis, Hancock, Washington, and Aroostook counties, Maine. Boston: Biographical Review Publishing Company, 1898.

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