William Thomas Joyce, biography c. 1911
[from Wolfe's History of Clinton County, Iowa]
  Source: Wolfe, Patrick B. Wolfe's History of Clinton County, Iowa, pp. 1060-1063. Indianapolis, Ind: B.F. Bowen, 1911.
  William Thomas Joyce  

In the untimely death of William Thomas Joyce, of Chicago, whose demise occurred March 4, 1909, the industrial world lost one of its most progressive and successful workers. Trained in the lumber business, he rose to a postion of importance and the many interests with which he was identified throughout the Northwest are monuments to his ability and prodigious energy. He will be sadly missed in the lumber trade, in which he was long a powerful and influential factor. Mr. Joyce was born at Salisbury, Connecticut, January 2, 1860, the son of David and Elizabeth F. (Thomas) Joyce. The family moved to Lyons, Iowa, now a part of Clinton, where the son was reared. He attended the Lyons schools, later taking a course at the Shuttuck school, at Faribault, Minnesota, finishing with an academic training in Chicago.

The elder Joyce was on of the pioneer lumbermen of the Middle West. He carried on a large and lucrative business, and his efforts had much to do with the early development of the trade. Broad and liberal minded, he enjoyed a popularity so great that he was elected mayor of Lyons without a dissenting vote. He gave liberally to charity and was ready at all times to support any movement tending toward the betterment of the public good. The senior Mr. Joyce directed the education of his son with a view of having him engage in the lumber business, so when he left school in 1880, William T. began to work for his father. His training was thorough, as he studied every department of the trade. He clerked in the mill office, worked in the woods, mastered the details of the retail lumber yards, and was then sent on the road as a salesman. His father, no doubt, intended the son to succeed him in business, and when the elder Joyce passed away the young man was well equipped to assume complete control of his parent's vast interests. Before the death of his father, whose demise occurred December 4, 1894, William T. Joyce had practically assumed control of affairs. The various interests were located in different parts of the country, and the immense business built up by the father was perpetuated by the son. The subject not only kept the numerous enterprises intact, but extended and increased them.

At the time of his death he was president of four railroads; the Manistee & Grand Rapids Railway Company, the Minneapolis & Rainy River Railway company, the Tremont & Gulf Railway Company and the Groveton, Lufkin & Northern Railway Company. Of his many lumber interests, Mr. Joyce was president of the following Southern companies; Southern Investment Company, Tremont Lumber Company, Winn Parish Lumber Company and the Louisiana Lumber Company, Ltd., all operating in Louisiana, and the Trinity County Lumber Company, operating in Texas. In the North, he was president of the Northern Investment Company, the Itasca Lumber Company, the Deer River Lumber Company, the William T. Joyce Company, the W.T. Joyce Company, which operates twenty-nine line yards; the Joyce-Watkins Company, doing a lumber, telephone and telegraph pole business, and the Joyce Lumber Company of Clinton, engaged in the wholesale business. He was also president of the Garland Hotel Company, which owns and operates the Park Hotel, at Hot Springs, Arkansas. In addition to these concerns, he was interested in the Victoria Lumber & Manufacturing Company, of Victoria, British Columbia; the Mississippi River Logging Comapny; the St. Paul Boom Company, and was a stockholder in the Corn Exchange National Bank and the Illinois Trust & Savings Bank, of Chicago, and the Interstate Trust & Banking Comany, of New Orleans, and in a number of other prominent institutions. Mr. Joyce controlled yellow pine mills, the combined yearly output of which was one hundred and fifty million feet. The timber back of the Trinity County Lumber Company's mill alone amounts to over five hundred million feet, and other tracts acquired from time to time give these concerns the assurance of long life in the trade.

Mr. Joyce established general headquarters for his vast and rapidly increasing interests in Chicago in 1897, and since that time he was a conspicuous figure in lumber and financial affairs of the city. Mr. Joyce was married, in 1884, to Clotilde Gage, of a prominent Lyons family, who, with their two sons, David Gage and James Stanley, who survive him. The eldest son, David Gage Joyce, was associated in business with his father some time before the latter's death. He and his brother, James Stanley, a graduate of Yale University, are the successors to the Joyce interests. These young men, only twenty-five and twenty-four years of age respectively, have talent and ambition and the future holds forth much promise to them.

Mr. Joyce was a member of the Chicago Union League, Chicago Athletic, Chicago Yacht and the Midlothian Country Clubs. He was also a thirty-second-degree Mason and a member of the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks. Home life always appealed strongly to Mr. Joyce and his domestic relations were of the happiest. His private office was adorned with portraits of his family, of his homes, which included the old family residence at Chapinville, Connecticut, a roomy New England mansion, and the Joyce residence at Lyons, Iowa, as well as a handsome Chicago home situated at No. 4614 Woodlawn avenue, in the exclusive Kenwood district, where the surviving members of his family now reside.

While vast interests required much of his attention, Mr. Joyce found time occasionally for relaxation and he sought recreation in foreign travel. Mr. Joyce inherited a large fortune and he could have lived in luxury, but he was a man of ambition and devoted the best efforts of his life to the development of the country's resources. The business interest left to him were in good hands and under his careful management their value was greatly increased. For his children he had a great and lasting affection and one of his fondest desires was to give them the best preparation for life. Their education was wisely planned and it is believed that these young men can successfully direct and develop the many interests that came to him at the death of their grandfather. Mr. Joyce was a man of great executive ability. He gathered about him lieutenants skilled in the management and direction of the Joyce interests.

Mr. Joyce was a retiring disposition and while his donations to charity wre large and frequent, he studiously avoided any publicity pertaining to them. To Cornell College he gave liberally, one of his gifts being a fifty-thousand-dollar endowment for the chair of economics and sociology. Loyalty was characteristic of the man. It was shown in his interest in Clintoin, where his father was so long in business, by his appreciation of the state of Iowa, where he spent so much of his life, and by his liberal support of the fraternal organizations to which he belonged. He expressed his regard for his parents by the erection of a mortuary chapel and an imposing obelisk to their memory. The ties of home and family were ever dear to him. A beautiful sentiment was manifested by keeping in his possession the home in the East, where he was born, and also the home in Clinton. This great, generous-hearted man did not live for himself alone, and while many of his kind deeds will have no public record, his larger benevolences cannot be concealed.

Text and images were digitized and proofread from the original source documents by Murry Hammond. Contact Murry for all corrections and contributions of new material.