Examples that impress force of character on all who study them are worthy
of record. By a few general observations may be conveyed some idea of the
high standing of Thomas L. Joy, as a business man and public benefactor, or,
an editor of unusual felicity of expression and whose wonderfully facile pen
delights thousands of readers, although now retired from the active affairs
of everyday life and spending the last half of his years of strenuous and
eminently useful life in the enjoyment of the peace and quietude to which he
is so justly entitled, and which he has so nobly earned. United in his
composition are so many elements of a solid and practical nature, which
during a series of years have brought him into prominent notice, and earned
for him a conspicuous place among the enterprising men of the county of his
residence, that it is but just recognition of his worth to speak at some
length of his life and achievements.
Thomas L. Joy, retired editor of the Evening Sentinel of Centralia, Illinois, was born in Equality, this state, September 15, 1850, the son of Ephraim E. Joy, a Southern Illinois Methodist preacher of wide celebrity. He raised a company in 1862 for the purpose of taking part in the Union service. It was assigned to a regiment of Illinois volunteers. Mr. Joy was ordered to Fort Douglas to be sworn in as captain of the company. Upon reaching the place he received the sad news that his wife was lying at the point of death. This cut his war record and he hastened home to his dying companion and two little sons, Andrew F. and Thomas L. The grandfather of the subject was a Baptist minister whose work was also confined to the southern part of this state. The Joy family has been well known and influential in the affairs of the southern part of the Prairie state since it was first settled.
The early education of Thomas L. Joy was obtained in the district schools and small towns, as his father itinerated from place to place. His last school was at Shiloh, St. Clair county. He received a fairly good education, which was later supplemented by extensive home reading and by coming in contact with the world.
Mr. Joy served his apprenticeship as a practical printer in St. Louis, Missouri, with the Woodward and Tiernan Printing Company, of that city. Being a young man of great energy and executive ability, Mr. Joy established the Carmi Times, at Carmi, Illinois, with his brother, Andrew F. Joy, in 1872. Our subject, who made a success of this venture, later sold his interest to his brother, Andrew F. Joy, in 1882. In 1880 the Joy brothers established the Cairo Daily and Weekly News. Thomas L. took full charge. In 1881 he closed out the paper and returned to Carmi and later purchased the Mt. Carmel Republican, which he conducted for over five years, with his usual success. He came to Centralia October 20, 1888, and bought one-half interest in the Sentinel; the firm name was then Joy & Hitchcock, the firm continuing for five months, when Hitchcock retired, H. F. Tillman taking his place, continuing for a period of two years, at the expiration of which time our subject bought his interest and continued to publish the paper with increasing success until 1906, when he leased his paper to his son, Verne E. Joy. The latter took complete charge of the business on January 1, 1907.
While engaged on the Sentinel Thomas L. Joy, for a period of five years, published the Sandoval Times, a weekly paper at Sandoval, Marion county, which was liberally patronized. He also published the Odin News and the Patoka Enterprise, each a weekly paper, with a good, active circulation. Mr. Joy was a very busy man in overseeing all these papers, but his wonderful executive ability, his capacity for the accomplishment of a vast amount of work and his persistent qualities enabled him to carry them all to successful issue, and he was for many years the molder of public opinion in Marion county, and became known as one of her foremost and most influential citizens. He is still a regular contributor to the Sentinel. His articles are terse and pithy always interesting. He enjoys his quiet home life in his beautiful home in Centralia, where hospitality and good cheer are always dispensed. He is an admirable conversationalist and keeps abreast of the times in all matters.
The domestic life of Thomas L. Joy dates from September 14, 1873, when he was united in marriage with Lizzie V. (Lockwood) Joy, of Wayne county, Illinois. She is the refined daughter of William and Elizabeth (Wiley) Lockwood, of Wayne county, Illinois, long well known and influential in their community.
Our subject has always been a stanch Republican and ever ready to foster the principles of his party, doing what he could to insure the success of the same in his county and his counsel has been frequently sought and in the affairs of the party at home. In religion he follows his father's early training.
Extracted 27 May 2019 by Norma Hass from 1909 Biographical and Reminiscent History of Richland, Clay and Marion Counties, Illinois, pages 540-542.