Alexander Cemetery 1992 Restoration

By Alan Junkins; published in JFA newsletter no. 7, Winter 1992.

"During the week of August 10th, the week before the 1992 reunion, several of the members of the association met at the Garrison site to continue the restoration of the Alexander Junkins burial ground. About nine o'clock Monday morning Betty and I arrived at the homestead site. We had hired Trenor Goodell to mow the property. Trenor is a gentleman farmer and nulear physicist who lives about two miles from the property. He had come in the week before with one of his big tractors and spent about three hours mowing the fields and up around the cellar hole and burial ground as close as possible.

"Roland Junkins and his brother Donald were due to arrive this morning but were not there when we arrived. Betty and I walked down the road to one of our new neighbors to introduce ourselves. We had seen Toby clearing out high grass by the stream that runs through his property when we came up Cider Hill Road toward the homestead. We had been told that Toby was certainly one that we should meet to hear some of the good old stories about the area and our other neighbors. We had a lively conversation with him as he showed us around his property, which included the story of how he happened to have the York Village watering trough surrounded by some shrubs in his side yard. This is the trough that stood in the center square of York Village for over a hundred years until it was taken away by a crew from the York Water Commission and somehow ended up as a large planter in Toby's side yard.

"After hearing many of the problems of York Village, we finally were able to leave Toby to his yard work and walked back down the road to the Garrison site. Donald had arrived and after a few minutes of catching up on the news of the past year, we sent Betty into Kittery to rent a weed-wacker and a chain saw, if possible. It was quite certain that we were going to have to cut down more trees within the burial ground this year. Before the week was over we removed seven trees with the help of Roland, Clifford Junkins and his son Alan. This was the start of our first wood pile for the future house that Betty and I plan.

"Last year we had been able to put four of the granite fence posts in position during the timewe worked at the site. This left eleven more for this year. The posts, weighing at least two to three hundred pounds each, are very difficult to handle. Once the hole is dug out and many measurements taken to make sure that it is the right depth, it would take four to five of us to lift the post and slide it into the hole. If the hole was not just right, it would be next to impossible to lift the post out of the hole to reposition it.

"This year, Clifford came prepared to handle the posts the way they should be, and probably exactly the way that Alexander Junkins and his sons did it in the 1830s. Cliff brought a tripod of three metal poles, each about ten feet long, and a cap that fit over the top. The cap had a large hook from which he hung block and tackle. With the use of the block and tackle and plenty of extra rope and chains, we were able to drag the posts across the ground to the holes as they were dug and measured and dug some more. When the hole was complete and measured to the right depth, we were able to lift the post into position and slowly lower it into the hole. The best part was that if we had miss-judged we could lift the post out again to adjust the depth of the hole. Without Clifford and his truck full of tools, we never would have been able to accomplish as much as we did. By Thursday noon, we had set the remaining eleven posts, cut seven trees out of the area and now the burial ground was beginning to look more like it did in the late 1800s.

"All of this was accomplished by much weed-wacking, pull and tugging of ropes to drag the posts, felling of trees and cutting them up into logs the right size for our future fireplace, time out for lunches and soda breaks and fixing of broken chain saws. During the three and a half days, we were glad to have the able help of Tom Hodgin and Ken Junkins, and of course the continuous help, encouragement and advice of Mary Junkins, who set up housekeeping at the site with her card table, lawn chair, bug spray and knitting for the full three and a half days.

"In between times at the site, Betty and I spent time scurring around making some last minute arrangements for the reunion. We met with John LeBranche at the Old York Historical Society to make final arrangements for our tour there. We drove to Durham, New Hampshire and met with Mrs. Hatch at the Durham Historic Association to go over our Saturday morning tour of Durham and we met with the people at the Dineen Bus line in Kittery to plan the timing for the two bus tours. We also set metal identification plates at five of the Junkins burial grounds. These plates identify the restoration as a project of the Junkins Family Association and give a phone number for information. We know for a fact that there are Junkins, who over the years have visited several of the burial grounds and do not know of the existence of the Association.

"You will see by the accompanying photographs that a great deal was accomplished during the session and we look forward to coming close to finishing the job this next year with the setting of the three head stones and the leveling of the ground and then some landscaping. The Junkins Family Association thanks all who helped that week in many ways to bring about a very successful 1992 reunion and restoration project."

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License