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Joyce Dorcas (1885-1918)

Highlights of History from The Whitehorse Star

The Whitehorse Pioneer Cemetery

The Weekly Star - Friday, December 20, 1918

The Death Angel Calls Suddenly on Mrs. Dorcas Joyce of Whitehorse, 1918

    The sudden and unexpected death Monday morning of Mrs. Dorcas Joyce caused a feeling of extreme sadness in the entire community when it became public, shortly after 11 o'clock. The particulars of Mrs. Joyce's death, so far as known, are furnished us by Archie Gould, who discovered the body of the deceased, dressed only in night clothes, stretched on its back across the bed in her home, the feet touching the floor. The right arm was extended at full length above the head and the night-dress, loosened from neck fastening, was so disarranged as to leave the left breast uncovered, indicating that in her last conscious moment the unfortunate woman had attempted to clutch the place where she felt pain with her hand.

    Mr. Gould, a near neighbor of the deceased, says that about three weeks before her death Mrs. Joyee was extremely ill one day, suffering from severe abdominal pains, with spells of vomiting, which she attributed to ptomaine poisoning from having eaten of a can of corn. Since that time she had not been feeling well and he was in the habit of cutting and carrying in wood for her and looking after the fires. Sunday evening while he was at the house Mrs. Joyce complained of the cold coming in through the kitchen door and he offered to bring his tools over the next morning and fix the door. He asked her what time he should eome and she said at 9:30, but afterward changed the hour to 10 o'clock. “Aceording to promise Mr. Gould made his appearance at the Joyce home at the hour last named, and rapped on the door, but receiving no response concluded Mrs. Joyce had gone to the dentist's, as she had informed him previously she intended doing. After finishing the work in hand Mr. Gould thought he might as well look after the fire before going home, so opened the kitchen door and stepped into the sitting room. The communicating door between the sitting room and Mrs. Joyce's bedroom was ajar and lying on a chair in plain sight was her daily wearing apparel.

    Mr. Gould, becoming alarmed, called again, and not getting an answer advanced to the door of the bedroom and saw the body lying as above described. Thinking that she was probably only unconscious, he rushed to the bedside and seizing the body by the shoulders shook it, but saw at a glance there was no hope. He at once hurried to the home of Joseph Wilson and informed the family of his discovery. Postmaster George Wilson's family was also advised of how matters stood, and both Mrs. Joseph Wilson and Mrs. George Wilson accompanied Mr. Gould baek to the Joyce place, the two ladies looking after the body of the deceased and Mr. Gould calling up Dr. Clarke, who arrived within a few minutes, and after an examination pronounced it a case of heart failure, and that death had occurred about two hours previously.

    On the morning of her death Mrs. Joyce was feeling poorly and just before the departure of her daughter, Nina, for school, had a fainting spell. Nina wanted to remain home and look after her mother, but the latter would not consent. Shortly after 9 o'clock Nina left, and it must have been only a few minutes afterward when the mother was seized with and succumbed to her fatal illness.

    Mrs. Joyce was born in Carbiniere, Newfoundland, about seven miles from Harbor Grace and was 38 years of age. She came as a bride to Whitehorse in 1905, and in the winter of 1906 her daughter Nina was born. In May, 1907, Gilbert Joyce, her husband, lost his life from asphyxiation by gas in an old, disused shaft of the Copper King mine which he and the owner, Wm. Grainger, had descended to examine, with the intention of opening up. Grainger lost his life at the same time.

    Mrs. Joyce leaves her daughter Nina, about 13 years of age, and several brothers and sisters in her birth place, to mourn her loss. Her deceased husband had two brothers, one of whom, Nelse Joyce, lived for years in Whitehorse until last summer, when he went to Victoria with his family, where an older brother also lives.

    Immediately after death the remains of Mrs. Joyce were taken in charge by the police, Capt. A. L. Bell, the officer in command, holding an inquiry Tuesday, with no other result than that the opinion of Dr. Clarke as to the cause of death was confirmed.

    Mrs. Joyce was a highly respected member of the commnunity and an earnest and indefatigable worker in religious and war relief work. She was a member of Yukon Chapter, I. 0. D. E., and the funeral, held Wednesday afternoon at 2 o'clock, was under the auspices of this organization, and took place from Christ Church, Archdeacon Whittaker conducting the services. Mrs. W. S. Watson was organist.

    There was a large gathering of townspeople at the church, who marched in procession to the grave, to pay their last tributes of respect to the departed. The pallbearers were H. G. MacPherson, F. E. Harbottle, A. R. Gould, Capt. P. Martin, C. H. Johnston and John J. Sewell.

    The grim reaper has again visited our Chapter and taken from us a beloved member and willing worker, in the person of Mrs. Dorcas Joyce, whose sudden death occurred early on Monday last at her home on the corner of Wood street and 5th avenue. Mrs. Joyce has been our standard bearer for nearly a year and most worthily performed the duties of her office. To her little daughter and only child now indeed orphaned (her father having died several years ago) the Chapter gives a full measure of sympathy.

    The Chapter forwarded this week a box of clothing to the Montreal branch of Canadian Red Cross Society. The garments are intended for the people of devastated areas of France and Belgium. Other shipments will follow as soon as possible.