Copying is permitted. Please credit the Lennox and Addington County Museum, Napanee, Address: Postal Bag 1000, 97 Thomas Street East, Napanee K7R 3S9
Despite the number of references to Mr. Wilder Joy in the local press (for he served on Napanee Town Council for about 23 years, and was elected Mayor twice) very little is known about him.
He was born at the hamlet known as Cataraqui on the ridge north of Kingston, Frontenac County, in the year 1830. The names of his parents are not known, but they were both born in the United States. He came to Napanee as a young man in about 1855, when the Village was just becoming a Town and the arrival of the Grand Trunk Railway suggested great things. Joy opened a blacksmith shop on the outskirts of the Town, in an area called by the locals "Salem", close to the intersection of the Newburgh and Camden Roads. Thus, Wilder Joy belongs to the generation which participated in the change of Napanee from a market and mill site, to a proto-industrial town.
Apparently, Joy arrived at Napanee with a young wife, Rosannah, but her last name has not been determined.
The business of the blacksmith shop prospered, and in 1860, he negotiated for a new site for the business from the Cartwright Family, on the south side of Bridge Street near the junction with Alma, an excellent spot to capture some of the busy traffic coming over the covered bridge. In 1870 and 1874, he acquired lot 31 and lot 30, south side Dundas Street, even better locations, and extended his craft to carriage making. He also leased the saw mill at the falls. Despite the recession of the 1870's, Joy continued to prosper and invested his money in other endeavours including speculation on lands in Manitoba.
Tragedy struck in October, 1886, when Rosanna Joy died very suddenly from a stroke at the early age of 52. Forgotten today, Rosanna in her time was so well-liked that her funeral was for a long time held to have been the largest held for a woman in Napanee. The funeral procession stretched for over a mile.
Wilder Joy lived to go into the grocery business, prosper yet again, and retire a wealthy man, leaving the grocery store to his daughter and her husband, Frank H. Perry. Several large and solid houses built for his married children by Joy remain close to the Bridge Street blacksmith shop, near the railway viaduct.
The children of Wilder and Rosanna Joy were as follows:Garrett B. Joy (1855-1925), who married Maria Mancus
6 October, 1998