Joy, James F.

b. December 2, 1810, in Durham, New Jersey; d. September 24, 1896, in Detroit, Michigan. In 1833, Joy entered Harvard Law School and was admitted to the bar in 1836. The following year, he moved to Detroit, Michigan, where he formed a law partnership with George F. Porter. As a result of the Economic Panic of 1837, a state railroad construction project in Michigan lacked the funding for its completion, but Joy was able to convince Eastern capitalists to purchase the railroad and to extend its rails to Chicago. Joy hired lawyer Abraham Lincoln to assist him with the necessary litigation to allow the railroad to use railroad tracks which were owned by the Illinois Central Railroad. In 1852, Joy became president of the Chicago and Aurora Branch Railroad. In 1853 he became counsel general for the Illinois Central Railroad, and worked with Lincoln on the famous Illinois Central Railroad v. McLean County, Illinois case. Three years later he combined the Chicago and Aurora Branch Railroad with the Central Military Tract Railroad and renamed it the Chicago, Burlington, and Quincy Railroad. In 1857, Joy purchased the Burlington and Missouri River Railroad. During and after the Civil War, Joy was involved in various railroad enterprises. A Whig in his early politics, Joy joined the Republican party after the Whig party dissolved and supported Abraham Lincoln’s presidential campaign. He was elected to the Michigan legislature in 1861 and served as the floor leader in the state house.
John J. Duff, A. Lincoln: Prairie Lawyer (New York: Bramhall House, 1960), 314-16; Allen Johnson, ed., Dictionary of American Biography (New York: Charles Scribner’s & Sons, 1964), 5:2:224-25; John Palmer, ed., The Bench and Bar of Illinois: Historical and Reminiscent (Chicago: Lewis Publishing Co., 1899), 2:882; Albert A. Woldman, Lawyer Lincoln (Boston and New York: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1936) 167.