Born in 1786 to a family of prominent planters in Halifax County, Andrew Joyner prospered as a young man and, by the turn of the century, was involved in politics and local government. He moved to Martin County by 1811 and represented that county in the House of Commons until 1813 when he began his military career. Joyner entered the serving during the War of 1812 as a second major in the 3rd North Carolina volunteers. He was quickly promoted to Lieutenant Colonel of the First Regiment, North Carolina Volunteers and fought in that role until the end of the war.
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After serving his men and country during the war, Joyner returned to Halifax County where he again became involved both in politics and in the promotion of internal improvements for local commerce and transportation. A transportation entrepreneur, Joyner formed a partnership to fund the Roanoke Steamboat Company, which started the first steamboat excursions up and down the Roanoke River in 1829. He also started the Roanoke Navigation Company and joined the national canal building boom when his company constructed a canal linking Danville, Virginia with Weldon, North Carolina. As trends changed, so did Joyner, serving as President of several railroad companies linking North Carolina and Virginia.
As a politician, Joyner was elected to the North Carolina Senate from 1835-1852 and served as speaker of the Senate for three of his terms. Joyner’s proposals in the Senate reflected his progressive attitude regarding internal improvements such as transportation and education, including support for legislation for a school for deaf, dumb and blind children in Raleigh. Joyner served on the Board of Trustees for the University of North Carolina and sought to assist the school through development of its libraries.
A well-respected man in his community, Joyner was married twice and was father to several children. He died in 1856 and was buried on his home plantation, Poplar Grove, near Weldon.
William Powell, ed., Dictionary of North Carolina Biography, III, 355—sketch by Eva Murphy
W.C. Allen, History of Halifax County (1918)
Samuel Ashe, ed., Biographical History of North Carolina, III
John Wheeler, Reminiscences and Memoirs of North Carolina and Eminent North Carolinians (1883) online edition, Documenting the American South, University of North Carolina: http://docsouth.unc.edu/nc/wheeler/wheeler.html
J.G. De Roulhac Hamilton, Party Politics in North Carolina, 1835-1860