Deed to Alexander Junkins Graveyard Won...Eight Year Battle Over

By Donald Junkins; published in JFA newsletter no. 2, Spring 1990.

On October 11, 1985, a warranty deed was recorded in the York County Registry granting title and rights to the property in York, Maine on the Scotland Parish Road, which includes the cemetery containing the remains of Alexander Junkins (1785-1844) and his wives Judith (Moulten) and Hannah (Langdon), to Gary M. and Dale N. Guyette. The deed includes the following paragraph:

"Excepting and reserving to the heirs of Alexander Junkins and their heirs and assigns the Alexander Junkins burial ground located in the town of York, County of York and State of Maine, being located on a knoll approximately twenty (20') feet north of the South Berwick Road (Route 91) at approximately two thousand two hundred (2200') feet west of the intersection of the South Berwick Road and the Scotland Bridge Road and within the bounds of the within described property. The bounds of the burial ground will be set at 15 X 15 feet to be exactly located by an archeological dig to determine the site of the remains of Alexander Junkins, Judith (nee Moulton) Junkins and Hannah (nee Langdon) Junkins. Also reserving a right of pedestrian ingress and egress from Route 91 up the bank to said burial ground by the most direct route which is easily accessible by foot."

Six different law firms and legal counselors were involved in this long dispute, and without the excellent research and diligent pursuit of appropriate litigation by Attorney Robert Capeless of Becket, Massachusetts on behalf of the Junkins Family Association, the legal rights of the Junkins heirs to their family cemetery on the original property of their forbear Robert Junkins, could not have been secured. The cemetery is located in the front yard of the Junkins Family Garrison built by Robert in 1656 and later painted by the American painter Winslow Home in 1880. The original granite posts surrounding the cemetery were removed in the nineteen fifties by a neighbor who has promised to return them to the Junkins Family Association so that they may be re-secured at the site.

In order to proceed with a complaint to the court on behalf of the Junkins Family Association, a direct lineal descendant to Alexander Junkins had to be found. All known Junkins descendants were considered to be "collateral kindred" of Alexander Junkins and as such not legally helpful. Attorney Capeless solved this problem by finding Dorothea Davis of New Hampshire and Stuart Arrowsmith Davis of New York who are "lineal kindred" of Alexander Junkins and who agreed to participate with the Junkins Family Association in the complaint.

Two highlights in the eight year history of the deed secural victory are of special interest. One concerns the condition of the cemetery when the original posts were removed by the neighbor mentioned above. A letter to Roland Junkins dated November 1, 1978 describes his "rescue" of the posts thus: "All of them were flat on the ground, not one standing erect. Several had slid down the bank and been stolen from the side of the road. We must have pulled at least five back up the bank to save them." He also mentioned in his letter that he had "several interesting Junkins artifacts and memorabilia."

The second concerns an incident that occurred at the site of the cemetery on a rainy day on the tenth of August, 1979. A former attorney in this case met with Roland Junkins and the then owners of the property in an attempt to resolve the problem, and in the discussion one of the owners absented herself from the site and disassociated herself from the discussion with the parting observation that Roland Junkins' relative were "just prisoners and should be buried at the town dump." We wish to acknowledge the comedy in this incident, to wish the former owners happiness in their retirement, and confess our own good cheer in remembering our Junkins ancestors in their eccentricities and human failures, as well as their human dignity and fundamental decencies. Alexander himself must have been a character of sorts (see the poem in New England Sculpture elsewhere in this newsletter), and we are proud that his grave and the graves of his two wives will be in good hands from now on.

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