Welcome everyone! Now we are there - - - - Volume I, Issue I.
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This snowy day in Northern Virginia is a perfect day to begin this venture of
sharing ourselves and our Joyce knowledge and stories. The landscape outside
my window is already turning white. The geese that live on a lake just flew
over heading out for their feeding grounds. There is almost no traffic to
spoil the serenity of this morning of January 19, 2002.
The format of JOYCE JOURNAL is divided into seven sections. This will be
fairly constant in the future. I'll use this issue to give you ideas of how
you can contribute and enrich our Joyce history.
Important: Please read JOYCE JOTTINGS at the end of this issue for can-dos
and can't-dos which will keep things running smoothly.
The section called "New Members" is how we meet each other. I look forward
to meeting each and every one of you. Please don't be shy about introducing
yourself. It will enrich our understanding and appreciation for our family,
and this is how we will meet near and distant cousins. All of us have stories
about our earlier family. Let's share them with each other. I'll go first
to inspire you and provide an example of how you might wish to (or how not
to) write your own personal profile. Leave details and questions for the
sections provided for that purpose.
In other sections, I sure hope we can combine our sense of family, our
interest, talents, and resources to discover more about the early lives and
adventures of Alexander Joyce and Thomas Joyce. This is our mission. Where
did they live before they moved to Virginia? Where did they live before they
moved to America? What did their landscape look like? What kind of family
life did they have? Why did they move to America? What historical events
Many, many thanks to Tom Joyce of Eden who untangled my Joyces for me. My
Joyces always seemed to point in a different direction every time I started
fiddling around. Without Tom's assistance, I would still be confused about
whether I am a "Thomas" or and "Alexander". Turns out I'm both. No wonder
I was confused. It's pretty incredible that these two brothers gave their
children almost identical names with a couple of variations to acocunt for
the families of their wives.
Many thanks also to Tom for the terrific picture of the baby raccoons on his
web page. What a great way to recall the old nicknames that separated two
cousins named John Joyce. In Danbury and Walnut Cove (Stokes Co NC), where I
spent my young years, the good-humored nicknames "Coon" and "Possum" were
still being used with affection. But I also lived through the sixties and
seventies when nicknames like this became politically incorrect. Using
Tom's great picture of the baby raccoons, I was able to introduce my children
and grandchildren to these once familiar nicknames. Without Tom's picture, I
would probably have continued to avoid the issue. If you don't have the
address of his page, search for "The Joyce Connection." That should bring it
up or use the URL in the below entry:
Family Tree Maker's Genealogy Site: User Home Pages: The ...
Genealogy.com Find Family The Joyce Connection (Genechaseraddictivitus
sufferers only). ...
JBrown7169@aol.com <mailto:JBrown7169@aol.com>. My name is Joyce Browning. I was born in Danbury,
Stokes County, NC, at the foot of the Sauratown Mountains. The scenes of my
childhood were not too different from the scenes of our Rockingham County
Joyces who lived in sight of these mountains two hundred years ago.
I was five when my parents moved to Raleigh, NC. After my husband's death and
when our children were grown, an opportunity to move sort of dropped in my
lap. This timing was right. This new opportunity took me to St. Margaret's
School in Tappahannock, Virginia, a charming old town on the Rappahannock
River. The court house was just a few blocks away and contained a full set
of records back to 1656. Gradually, one cautious step at a time, I managed
to get myself moved to metropolitan Northern Virginia where I began working
for CalTech's Jet Propulsion Laboratory. My team's responsibility was to
write the definitions and requirements for NASA's American Space Station, now
the International Space Station. Later I was transferred to JPL's office at
NASA HQ in downtown Washington and coordinated administrative services for
NASA's Visiting Senior Scientists Program and visiting JPLers. It's a
thrill to be able to look out my window at the right time and see the Space
Station move sedately across my horizon. It will be an even greater thrill
twenty years from now when a grandchild prepares to take a trip on a space
station, knowing that his or her Grandmother played a role in its development
- a small role to be sure; but how many of their fellow travelers will have
One of my sons still lives in Raleigh and is unmarried. The other two live in
the Washington area. I have three startlingly beautiful and brilliant
grandchildren: Caroline (who's name commemorates seven generations of
Carolines in our family) is 9; Mark (who's middle name, Claiborne,
commemorates a common ancestor of both mine and my husband's) is 8. Judson
(who's name commemorates his gg grandfather, Judson Lifsey of Emporia,
Virginia) is 7. Seems like only yesterday that they were just beginning to wa
lk and talk and laugh . . . . .
My Grandmother, at who's home in Walnut Cove (Stokes Co), I spent many days
and nights and long summer weeks, is:
- Emma Centennial Webster (1876-1968). Her name commemorates her birth in
the year of our nation's First Centennial celebration. She was the daughter
of George Webster (1840-1877) and Elizabeth Joyce (1839-1915) of Rockingham
County NC. She married John G. Fulton of Walnut Cove.
- Elizabeth Joyce (1839-1915) was the daughter of John K. Joyce (1795-1859)
and Elizabeth Dalton (1805-1881).
The line of John K. Joyce goes back to Thomas Joyce (d. 1781, Charlotte Co
VA). Through his grandmother Nancy Joyce (1771-1849) who married Elijah Joyce
, my line is traced back to Alexander Joyce (d. 1778, Guilford Co NC). I
got the best of both Joyce worlds.
Think I've got that right . . . . still becoming accustomed to it.
JBrown7169@aol.com <mailto:JBrown7169@aol.com> (Joyce Browning). Our consumate query is: where were
Alexander Joyce and Thomas Joyce before they make their first appearance in
Louisa County, Virginia, records, with John Joyce, in 1743. Alexander and
Thomas purchased land in Charlotte County (then Lunenburg) on Wards Fork 1748
where they lived near "Caldwell Settlement" of Cub Creek.
Let's hope for something here that breaks the dam. Meanwhile we can use
this section to respond to other questions sent in by subscribers.
This begins a Joyce Monograph which I put together recently, based on my
search for the origin of the two Joyce brothers who are ancestors of our
Rockingham County Joyce family . This segment covers the early Louisa County
VA records and historical setting. The entire monograph is likely to try
your patience. It's long and tedious; but I couldn't seem to find a way to
cut it down more than I had already cut it down. It will be continued over
several issues of JOYCE JOURNAL.
Basically, this segment "introduces" us to Alexander and Thomas Joyce in
Virginia. This is the first knowledge I have that they lived in Virginia.
The next segment will explore preliminary searches for their origin in
Virginia and other colonies; and the final segment focus' on their Charlotte
Co VA neighborhood, springboard of their move to North Carolina.
This monograph is exploratory only, but some signs of progress can be
discerned, mostly in the realm of elimination, not in the realm of discovery.
My hope is that you will see something that will be the instrument we need
to break down the proverbial brick wall. I apologize again for the length.
Like the drive from New Jersey to Virginia the Sunday after Christmas, it's
much too long.
In another way, this exploration is disappointing - I have been unable to
find anyone named Alexander Joyce anywhere at all before our Alexander
appears in 1747 in Louisa County, Virginia. Search of the parish registries
of the International Genealogy Index failed to turn up a single authentic
christening record for an Alexander Joyce between 1700 and 1740. Apparently,
we'll get no guidance from his given name, nor from Thomas or John either
because there were so many of them.
Understanding that these parish transcripts are not complete, it still seems
curious that no Alexander Joyce is found. I wonder if our Joyces were of
English origin instead of Scots or Scotch-Irish, and "Alexander" became part
of the family heritage after immigration. The history of our associated
families, though, is pretty consistently that of a Scots/Scotch Irish
heritage. Some years ago, I was in Scotland and found people named Joyce on
war memorials, so Joyce can be Scots as well as Irish; and, of course, it's
also an English surname.
One is led to believe that these Joyce brothers were Presbyterian before they
arrived in Virginia:
1) They appear in Virginia at a time and in a place that adheres closely to
the founding of the earliest Presbyterian congregation in Virginia. Hanover
County was the beneficiary of the genius of Samuel Davies.
2) When the Joyces left Hanover/Louisa, they moved to Wards Fork, present
Charlotte County, where they are closely linked by time, space and
association to the Presbyterian Caldwell Settlement of the Cub Creek.
Surnames that they are in close association with in Charlotte County are
Rockingham County "Joyce" names: Allen, Hunter, Martin, Vernon, and others.
To begin . . . for a long time, I was pretty certain that these brothers, A
lexander Joyce and Thomas Joyce, were descendants of the Joyces of the
Elizabeth River in Norfolk/Princess Anne County, Virginia. After a pretty
thorough look at this group, though, it appears unlikely. We have the wills
of four generations; and neither Alexander nor Thomas appear as given names
in this Joyce family. In fact there seems to have been only one or two males
per generation, and those who survived moved to eastern North Carolina.
Quite by accident some years ago, when I was searching Dalton, I ran across
John Joyce, Alexander Joyce, and Thomas Joyce in the records of Louisa
County, Virginia. They may have lived in Hanover, but conducted business in
Louisa. Hanover records were destroyed except for one very early Court Order
book (1733-1737). Joyce does not appear in it; nor is there a patent for
land; nor is the name indexed in the comprehensive Vestry records of St.
Paul's Parish of Hanover County, St. Peters Vestry and Registry of New Kent
County, or Fredericksville Parish of Louisa County.
The western portion of Hanover County became Louisa County in 1742. This is
where we find a few Joyce records summarized below.
Source: Louisa County, Virginia, Deed Books A and B, 1742-1759. Rosalie
Edith Davis. 1976.
--On 9 March 1743, JOHN JOYCE, W. Ford, Thomas Williamson, Abraham Venable,
Jo. Bickley, Thomas Paulette, and Benja. Henson are all witnesses to a deed
from John Thomson of Hanover County, Merchant, to Andrew Rea of Louisa
--On 28 Jul 1747, THOMAS JOYCE applied to the Court to determine the age of a
Negro girl, Hannah. She was judged to be twelve years old.
--On 15 Mar 1748, ALEXANDER JOYCE and John Hackett are witnesses to a deed
from Thomas Hacket of Caroline County to George Clarke of Louisa County.
--On 26 Apr 1748, ALEXANDER JOYCE brought a suit for debt against John Hall
in the Louisa County Court. Hall was summoned but failed to appear;
therefore the Court ordered that Alexander Joyce recover the sum of 1 lb., 12
shillings, and 3 pence with costs of court and attorney's fee.
We can thus conclude that our Joyces lived briefly in Hanover County or
Louisa County, Virginia, before Alexander and Thomas, moved to Ward's Fork in
present Charlotte County. There's no indication of the fate of John Joyce.
It's possible that he died in Hanover County and we will find no
documentation of this event.
History is important in interpreting this period in our Joyce history. After
several years of contention, Virginia decided in 1738 to relax Anglican Church
restrictions and permit licensing in Virginia of the ministers and elders of
Quaker and Presbyterian doctrine. This action opened the frontier, then
Piedmont Virginia, for settlement by these two groups. The earliest
Presbyterian minister in Virginia was the Reverend Samuel Davies who
organized his mission in Hanover and Louisa Counties where we find Alexander
Joyce and Thomas Joyce briefly. Davies sometimes served the Cub Creek
congregation in Charlotte County when this group moved from New Jersey. K
nowing about relaxation of Virginia's former strictures, we know how it
came about that our Rockingham County families migrated to the central
Virginia foothills about thirty-five years before the Revolutionary War
It is pertinent to note that Richard Vernon and Andrew Hunter were also
residents of Hanover/Louisa County when the Joyces were there .
And . . . . . Richard Vernon and Andrew Hunter moved to the Cub
Creek/Ward's Fork area of Lunenburg, later Charlotte County about the same
time the Joyces moved there.
And . . . .Richard Vernon and Andrew Hunter lived in early
They are not all the same Richard Vernon and Andrew Hunter, but these names
are associates of the Joyces during the migration years - from the early
1740s until they began moving to Rockingham county about 20 years later.
Other Hanover/Louisa residents, such as Martin and Allen, may be also be part
of this extended family migration. The point is that the Joyces were
probably part of the Caldwell Settlement on Cub Creek in Charlotte County.
Martin and Hunter are clearly identified as families who moved with the John
Caldwell migration from New Jersey to present Charlotte County, Virginia.
Cub Creek was the center of the Caldwell Settlement. Many of the families
found to be "Joyce" families were part of the Caldwell Settlement of about
200 families led there in the 1740s from New Jersey by John Caldwell.
Alexander Joyce and Thomas Joyce settled on land bordering Wards Creek or
Fork. Both of these creeks are tributaries of the Staunton/Roanoke River.
The land area between Cub Creek and Ward's Fork is only about ten miles
across. From Cub Creek and Wards Fork, it's pretty much a straight shot
south - as the river flows - to the Dan and Mayo Rivers.
It is known from the memoir of Col. James Martin (grandson of the immigrant),
that both the Hunters and Martins were of Scots heritage who lived for a
short time in Eniskillen, Ireland before some of them moved to the Penn lands
along the Delaware River. They appear to have been colonists from the
lowlands of Scotland who went to Northern Ireland at the behest of King
William, the Protestant King of England, who gained his English throne
through the strength of the second Protestant revolt known now as "The
Glorious Revolution" of 1689/90.
Perceiving the strength of the movement of Presbyterians into central
Virginia led me to search in New Jersey for our Joyces. I also looked in
other early Virginia counties and in Maryland. Except for Norfolk and
Louisa, Virginia was a virtual a strike out. Not to say they won't turn up
in a country I forgot to look in . . . . . . . .
(To be continued)
JOYCES OF YESTERDAY
Age does have compensations . . . . . . . memories. I grew up in a little
village near the North Carolina Sauratown Mountains. My parents and I lived
in a conventional house with a conventional yard on the main street near the
court house. My Joyce Grandmother lived in another little town about ten
miles away. Some people lived in a conventional house with a conventional
yard on the main street. She and most of the older folks lived on the other
street known as the Summit. From the front, the Summit houses and lots were
as conventional as those on main street. But . . . . .
The back lots of homes on the Summit were deep, running down to a stream in a
small valley. I would estimate that the lots were three or four acres each.
My Grandmother had a large barn with storage areas, a loft filled with hay,
and stalls beneath where four or five cows lived when they weren't outside
grazing in the pasture; a family of guineas lived on the back slope and
marched through the meadow with military precision; the hen house and yard
contained fifteen or more chickens with their biddies; the old rooster
crowed loud and long from the fence post - you knew when morning had broken
in these hills; another pen was home to twenty or so gray geese - the old
gander hissed at you if you invaded his territory; the hog pen (well away
from the house but sheltered by a friendly apple tree for the pleasure of the
hogs) housed a few mature hogs and several litters each year.
Old bridles hanging on the wall in the barn's store room and a couple of old
wagon wheels were testimony that horses had once been part of this town lot.
My Grandmother no longer cultivated her land, except for a small kitchen
garden with its neat rows. Many people who lived on the Summit grew corn and
had large vegetable gardens. Some of them also had much larger tracts of
land in the countryside where they grew tobacco, the mainstay of our county's
economy. Dick Reynolds in Winston-Salem bought up all of the tobacco these
red hills could produce.
Behind my Grandmother's house stood an old well and a smoke house where a
small fire sometimes burned to smoke hams hung from the beams; the cows were
milked several times a week and the milk boiled on the old wood stove; when
it was cool, the cream was skimmed off and the butter churned; children went
berry picking and the grown people made the best blackberry jelly one would
ever want to taste; sometimes I helped collect eggs from the nests underneath
the hen's soft silky down; laundry was boiled in a black iron kettle over a
backyard fire; a similar iron kettle sufficed for making sausage in the fall;
on a summer afternoon neighbor ladies would rock and chat on front porches
while they prepared string beans for a family meal. And, yes, there was an
out house though by the time I was born, most homes had running water,
electricity, and a telephone hanging on the wall in the hall . . . .
If I couldn't find my Mother or my Grandmother, I could stand on a chair at
the telephone so I could turn the crank and speak into it. The town
telephone operator would answer and could almost always tell me where they
were. Sometimes she would sit me on her lap and let me pull the lines to
plug them into the right hole to connect the caller to the right household.
It occurred to me that except for running water, electricity, crank
telephones, and Model-T Fords, I grew up in circumstances very similar to the
culture of a couple of centuries ago. It also occurred to me that as
important as these modern accommodations were, they didn't compare in terms
of societal change as the invention of the computer.
A word of caution: There is a pretty strict no-no with this venture. Always
transmit information on an email message form. Please do not send me
attached files. They do not always come through, or they come through
garbled, because I may not have the specific program you used. If they do
come through, reformatting it for transmission by email message form is not
practical. Also, transmitted lineages are too long to be transmitted as part
of a newsletter. Save that for individual corresponding between yourselves,
and summarize key generations for JOYCE JOURNAL.
Speaking of attachments. You will not receive attached files from me. Mr.
Bill Gates has set up a system recently so that every Word email I receive
comes with "attachment" indicated, and every message I send indicates that
there is an attachment. Do wish he'd stop fiddling with things; but if he
did, there would be no need for people to buy a new and improved version. In
any event, please know that I do send attachments, and generally don't open
them. That's not as stubborn as it sounds - just practical. This is often
how an embedded virus is transmitted, especially these that eat in through
your address book, About half the time I can't translate attached files. If
JOYCE JOURNEY happens to exceed the length of one email message, an extension
will come in a separate email, clearly labeled as such.
Also, let's be especially careful about sending undocumented information to
JOYCE JOURNAL. There's a lot of information available to us now through our
computers, but a lot of it is no more than someone's opinion. I use this
kind of information to guide my own searches, but I don't consider that it is
authentic until it can be documented.
As compiler of JOYCE JOURNAL, I will correct standard spelling (but not names
and places) when I run Spell Check, any text that is garbled on transmission,
or obvious mistakes such as correcting 1978 when the submitter clearly
intended 1778. If I have questions, I will get in touch with you before
including the message in JOYCE JOURNAL. My job is to compile information you
send and to contribute information I have.
JOYCE JOURNAL will be emailed to subscribers according to volume of
information received. After what I hope will be an initial flurry, it will
probably come to you about once a month unless I'm away for a period of time.
This will be the case in March when I'll be away from home for about a month.