Posted By: County Coordinator
Date: 3/11/2009 at 17:06:48
Austin Joice is now living a retired life in Boone, and for many years was one of the active business men of this locality. He was closely associated with railroad building and his efforts in this direction contributed in a large measure to the improvements and progress of the state, for there is no other one interest of more value to a community than its railroads, bringing in the district into close and speedy connection with the outside world and thus furnishing a market for its products and bringing to it the articles not produced within its borders. Mr Joice has made his home in Iowa since 1858. He is a native of the Green Mountain state, his birth having occurred in Montpelier, Vermont, January 1, 1825. His father Peter Joi9ce was also a native of the Montpelier and was the Irish parentage. The paternal grandfather took up his abode in the Green Mountain state in pioneer times. Peter Joice was reared and married there, Eleanor Rowan being his wife. He followed farming near the city of Montpelier for a number of ye3ars and afterward removed to Lorain county, Ohio, and still later to Sandusky city. He was not long permitted to enjoy his new home, however, for there he was taken ill and died in 1832. His wife long survived him and later returned to the state of New York.
After the death of his father, Austin Joice was adopted by Reuben Nichols of Lorain county. He was reared by him in the city of Elyria,. He had good school privileges and after leaving the common schools spent one year in Oberlin College. HE then started out in Business on his own account, going to Cleveland, Ohio where he secured a position as night clerk in the American House, which was then the leading hostelry of the city. He spent two years there and afterward spent about one year on Thunder Bay, where he was engaged in fishing and in trading with the Indians. Hen then returned to Elyria, where he remained through her winter and in the spring went to Cincinnati, becoming manager of a hotel, in which capacity he served for three years. On the expiration of that period he removed to Wilmington, Ohio, and engaged in the hotel business as an independent venture until 1846. The following year, the country having become involved in war with Mexico he joined the army as and orderly sergeant major. During most of the time he engaged in guerrilla fighting but at length was honorably discharged at Cincinnati in July 1848.
At that time Mr Joice removed to Morrow, Ohio, where he opened a hotel and eating house as a summer resort, carrying on business there during 1848-9. In the latter year he became connected with railroad work, as grading foreman of the Springfield & Dayton Railroad. For seven years he was engaged in the construction of different lines in Ohio, and in 1857 he came to Iowa, locating first at Muscatine, but in 1858 he came to Boone county. Here he purchased land one mile north of Boonesboro, spending one summer upon that place. He then sold the property and purchased another farm. He erected good buildings and transformed the place into a valuable property. From time to time he added to his property cut has since sold much of the land. While the work of the farm was being carried on through the aid of those whom he employed. Mr Joice has continued his work of railroad constructing. He has been engaged in the construction of railway lines through Iowa, in Ohio, Nebraska, Michigan, and Wyoming. He was for a time connected with the Union Pacific road in the construction of its line from Omaha to Laramie, Wyoming and continued as a very active representative of the business in interests of various states in this way until about 1899, when he retied to private life enjoying a well merited and well earned rest.
Mr Joice has been twice married. In 1850 he lost his wife and baby boy. In 1851, in Covington, Kentucky, he wedded Annette M Stearns, a native of New York, who had removed to Ohio during her girlhood. Her father, Harry Stearns, was a pioneer of the Buckeye state, making the journey westward with team. Fifty-five of her ancestors served in the revolutionary war. Mrs Joice was reared and educated in Ohio and by her marriage has become the mother of eight children: one daughter who died in infancy. Elizabeth, the wife of Rev B C Tillett, a minister of the Congregational church, now located in Central City, Iowa by who she had a family of four daughter and two sons. All of whom are living with the exception of the oldest daughter: Coartney Austin, who is n the railroad serve and resides at Omaha, Nebraska, Belle, the wife of West Myers a farmer of Boone county, by who she has three children, one daughter being married, Amma E the wife of Samuel Beard a resident farmer of Boone county, by whom she has two sons and a daughter, Maud the wife of George H Steadman, a farmer of this county, by whom she has one son and one daughter, Walter H who is married and resides in Boone, being employed as a railroad engineer, and has one son, Basil, and Bertha C the wife of H G Davis of Eagle Grove, Wright county, who is employed a san express agent on the Northwestern road.
Politically Mr Joice is a Republican, having supported the party since its organization. He voted for John C Fremont, in 1856, and for each Republican nominee down to the present time. He was elected and served for three years as a member of the board of supervisors, and served as its chairman for two years, but has never been a politician in the sense of seeking office, desiring rather to give his attention to his business interests. He and his wife are both members of the Methodist Episcopal church and he belongs to the Masonic fraternity in which he has taken the degrees of Blue lodge, chapter, and commandery, being also identified with the Mystic Shrine. His residence in Boone count covers forty-four years and his efforts have been of great benefit to the state. Other states have also profited by his labors in railroad construction, and he belongs to that class of representative American citizens who, while advancing individual success, also promote the general prosperity. His life has indeed been a busy and useful one and it has been permeated by principles that in every land and every clime command respect and confidence.
1902 Boone County History Book
Boone Biographies maintained by Jan Bony.
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