Stan Cromlish - Author and Historian

Category Archives: Belmont – A Small Town Overcomes Adversity

Belmont Hero of the Greatest Generation – James ‘Red’ Joye

James “Red” Joye at home in April 2015.

I sat down with Red Joye on April 11, 2015, and had a conversation about his life growing up in Belmont and serving with the 34th Infantry Division in the Italian Campaign, one of the bloodiest battles of World War II. For his service, he earned the Combat Infantryman Badge, Bronze Star Medal with Oak Leaf Cluster, Purple Heart, European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal with an additional Campaign Star, the World War II Victory Medal, and the Good Conduct Medal. These medals don’t tell you the real story of Red Joye’s life, but they give you a glimpse of the hero and the man that Mr. Joye became over time.

Mr. Joye was born in York County, South Carolina on July 18, 1924, to a hardscrabble and sharecropping life. In November of 1924, the Joye family moved to Belmont after his father found work with Duke Power to help build an electric plant. They lived in a house on the site of the current Nichols convenience store across from the present First Presbyterian Church until that house burned down, “You heated with wood, you cooked with wood, and the house was wood. We didn’t have much coal because we couldn’t afford it.” From there they moved to “East’en” which is how East Belmont is known to those who grew up in the mill houses that dotted the landscape across from the Majestic Textile Mill. The house the family moved into was located near Ferguson’s General Store and next door to the brick building that housed a drug store and eventually the Belmont Funeral Home. Their house was located directly behind Oswalt’s Café.…

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