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Milam County, Texas

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Solon Joynes

SOURCE: History of Texas, Together with a Biographical History of Milam, Williamson, Bastrop, Travis, Lee and Burleson Counties. (Chicago, IL: Lewis, 1893), p. 624 & 625.

Solon Joynes - Accomack county, Virginia, lying between Chesapeake bay and the Atlantic ocean on the extreme east coast of the “Old Dominion” was the birth place of Mr. Joynes, in which county his parents were also born. His father, John R. Joynes, was engaged in planting for many years in Accomack county, but as a resident in later life of the city of Norfolk, where he followed the business of ship carpenter and joiner. He came to Texas in 1875 and died in Rockdale, June 11, 1881, in the seventy-second year of his age, having been born March 12, 1812. He came of old Virginia stock, the date his ancestors settled in the old State being so remote that it has not been preserved in the records or traditions of the family. He was a son of William Joynes who was also a planter of Accomack county and a soldier in the war of 1812.

Susan (Colonna) Joynes, the mother of the subject of this sketch was born in 1817 and died in 1854, being a daughter of William and Elizabeth Colonna, and an industrious, devout, good woman. Both father and mother were members of the Methodist Church.

Solon Joynes is the eldest of five children born to his parents, but is one of eight, there being three others by his father’s second marriage. He was born April 26, 1838, and was reared principally in the city of Norfolk, whither his parents moved when he was young. His education was obtained in the private schools of Hampton and Norfolk. He entered a commission house at the latter place at the age of sixteen where he remained till the opening of the late war.

He entered the Confederate army early in 1861, enlisting in the Norfolk Light Artillery Blues, with which he served in the army of Northern Virginia till the close of the war. He was literally “in the thick of the fight” throughout the entire struggle being present and taking part in all of the principal engagements that were fought on Virginia, Maryland and Pennsylvania soil and some naval engagements that occurred in that vicinity. His battalion opened the fire at the first battle of Fredericksburg and at Chancellorsville and was one of the first to take position at Gettysburg and Petersburg. He took part as a member of the land force in the engagement between the Merrimac and Monitor in Hampton Roads in 1862. At the fall of Petersburg he was taken prisoner and conveyed to Point Lookout where he was held until June 1865.

The war over Mr. Joynes returned to Norfolk where he went to work in a commission house, and remained for ten months. He then came to Texas in the fall of 1866 and located at Galveston. At that place he resumed the commission business in partnership with his brother under the firm name of J.R. Joynes & Co., and remained there until the city was depopulated by the yellow fever scourge of the following year.

He then came out on the line of the Houston & Texas Central Railroad and followed the terminal of that road to Red river in north Texas, engaging in buying cotton and merchandising in connection with the firm of Littlefield & Company of Bryan. In 1873, he went to Hearne, the initial point of the Great Northern Railroad and following the terminal of that road west of the Rio Grande, engaged in the same business. He then located permanently in Rockdale and began his business on a settled basis and has since resided here. He weighed and shipped the first bale of cotton ever weighed and shipped out of the town, this being February 4, 1874, and since that time he has bought and shipped thousands and thousands of dollars’ worth of the product besides handling a large amount of grain, machinery and implements.

Mr. Joynes has been Commissioner of Milam county, Alderman of Rockdale, Mayor pro tem. of the City Council, President of the City School Board and was founder and first president of the Business Men’s Association of Rockdale and has served in other official and semi-official capacities connected with the administration of town and county affairs. Whatever has been of interest to the people among whom he has lived he has actively interested himself in and has always borne his share of the expense of every public enterprise.

When he came to the State he was a single man. In 1872 he married Sophia McCown, a daughter of J. W. McCown, Sr. and sister of J. W. McCown, Jr.,a sketch of whose lives appears elsewhere in this volume. This lady died in March 1877, at the age of thirty-five leaving surviving her but one son, John W. Joynes, who is now a student at the State University.

April 19, 1879, Mr. Joynes married Florence Hubert, a daughter of Benjamin F. Hubert, an old settler of this State, mention of whom will be found in the sketch of Frank W. R. Hubert in this volume. By this marriage he has had three children; Hester Joynes, Susan C. Joynes and Cyrus McCormick Joynes.

Mr. and Mrs. Joynes are communicants of the Episcopal Church of which he is a warden. He is also a member of the Knights of Honor, Uniform Rank, in which he is Senior Past Commander. He is an apprenticed Mason, and, in politics, a Democrat.

As a citizen, soldier, business man and public servant, Mr. Joynes’ reputation is now fairly made, the record in a great measure being closed. He has always shown himself worthy of confidence reposed in him by his fellowmen and has labored without thought of reward, making duty his sole counsellor and guide in all he has done. His has been an unpretentious life, yet in years to come when the remote descendants of the first settlers of Rockdale look back among the records for the names of the “early fathers” it is doubtful if any of them will have reason to feel more sincere pride in the part taken by their “kith and kin” in the making of the city than his will have.

We must say a special thank you to Doug Kirk of Waynesboro, TN, for typing the above biographical sketch for use on the Milam County TXGenWeb site.

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Created on 23 June 2005 and last revised on ____________