Dr. William Oliver Junkins

William Oliver7 Junkins (Alexander6, Alexander5, Alexander4, Alexander3, Alexander2, Robert1)

The following material was provided by Eileen Foley, Mayor of Portsmouth, NH (and appeared in JFA. newsletter no. 7, Winter 1992).

Portsmouth Herald Sunday, August 16, 1992

"For the last three days, members of the Junkins Family Association have been staging their second biennial reunion at the Portsmouth Sheraton.

"They have come her from all over the country to learn more about the life and times of William Oliver Junkins, a distinguished member of the family.

"In the association's letter to Mayor Eileen D. Foley, inviting her to attend the first session, president Alan D. Junkins of Aston, PA, said his fellows knew very little of their cousin.

"Yet here in Portsmouth, residents often use the name Junkins referring to Junkins Avenue, which is named in his honor.

"William. O, Junkins, M.D., was mayor when the controversial thoughfare was pushed across the South Pond against the strenuous objections of many of the city's leading citizens. In truth, the road came into being soley because the county commissioners made the city build it.

"But first a bit about Dr. Junkins: Born in Berwick, Maine on May 12, 1845, he was the son of Alexander and Elizabeth Junkins of York. (His father, Alexander, was born at the Junkins Garrison on Cider Hill Road. He was the second son of Alexander5, who created the burial ground at the Garrison site and is buried there with his first two wives, Judith and Hannah.) The family moved to his grandparents' Eliot farm when he was nine. The youngster attended Eliot Academy, entered Bowdoin College and graduated in 1870.

"Apprenticing a practicing doctor then replaced medical school so William Junkins' mentor was Dr. Mark F. Wentworth of Kittery.

"For many years after his training he drove horse and buggy over Greenland's dusty roads. He became a Mason and was master of Winnicut Lodge of Greenland, and later transferred to St. Andrews' Lodge of Portsmouth. He also was town clerk and supervisor of the schools.

"Probably around 1890, Dr. Junkins moved to 303 Pleasant Street, Portsmouth and set up an office on Congress Street. He had married Julia Elizabeth Hill of Eliot, who died about the time the doctor retired from practice in 1915.

"All of his life, a practicing Democrat, he became involved in politics and was elected mayor twice…"

Portsmouth, NH Thursday, April 10, 1930

"Death came to Dr. William Oliver Junkins at 1 o'clock this noon after several months of illness.

"Dr. Junkins was so long a citizen of Portsmouth, that our citizens claimed him still as one of them, although for the past few years he has lived in Kittery. Yet no resident was better known in the past years than he, who was the physician of many of the old families and a man of so genial and kindly a nature that he was loved in the community.

"Though less strong than in the past years, and his hearing and eyesight not so good as in the past, he was in fairly good health for one of his age, until about a year ago. He has been confined to his bed for some weeks.

"For 20 years Dr. Junkins practiced in Greenland and moved to this city later where he practiced for about 27 years, having an office on Congress Street. He also was the physician of many families living in the towns near Portsmouth and had a most successful practice. In the earlier years of his practice he rode many miles a day covering much territory. In those days there were no nearby hospitals, trained nurses on call or automobiles to get one quickly to his destination, no tractors, and in winter often roads in the country drifted with snow. To be able to make his calls he found it necessary to keep several horses much of the time, encountering more difficulties than the physician of today, who can make many calls a day by traveling in his automobile.

"Yet in those olden days the family physician was able to be of much service to his patrons. Despite the long, cold drives in the winter to the homes where there was illness, Dr. Junkins, with his geniality brought cheer to the sick room, when cheer was possible, and his kindly, cheerful countenance, his ready sympathy made all feel that he was a friend as well as a physician. The friendships he made also meant much to Dr. Junkins and he was glad that through nearly half a century he was able to give such service. His former patients continued to be interested in his welfare. Time after time he received calls from a number who still thought of him as a family friend.

"Dr. Junkins was the son of Alexander and Elizabeth Junkins of York, ME. He was born in Berwick, May 13, 1845. When he was but nine years of age his parents moved to Eliot on the farm of his grandparents. As a boy Dr. Junkins attended the old Eliot Academy and later Bowdoin College having been graduated from that institution in the class 1870. He studied medicine with the late Dr. Mark F. Wentworth of Kittery.

"For twenty years Dr. Junkins practiced in Greenland and then moved to Portsmouth. He practiced here for about 27 years, having an office on Congress street. About 15 years ago he retired from active duties and after that passed several winters in the south.

"In politics Dr. Junkins was a Democrat and active in that party in this city for many years. He was elected mayor on the Democratic ticket two terms, in 1895 and again in 1896 and made an able official. A member of the staff of the Portsmouth hospital in past years, and the oldest living physician on that staff, he was ever much interested in that institution. Years ago he was honored by having the avenue which leads to the hospital given his name.

"Dr. Junkins married Miss Julie Elizabeth Hill of Eliot, who died nearly fifteen years ago. Mrs. Junkins was a woman of much charm and beautiful traits of character and their married life was very happy, the death of his devoted companion being deeply felt by her husband.

"Dr. Junkins was a member of St. Andrews Lodge, A. F. & A. M., of which he is a past district deputy grand master; a Scottish Rite Mason and a member of DeWitt Clinton Commandery, Knights Templar, Damon Lodge, Knights of Pythias, Portsmouth Lodge of Elks, Sons of the American Revolution and Paul Jones club. While in Greenland he at one time held the office of town clerk and was also supervisor of schools.

"Dr. Junkins throughout his invalidism retained his genial disposition and cheerful outlook upon life. Up to three years ago he drove his own car. He was an interesting conversationalist and when he became a shut-in he did not lose his interest in current events. He enjoyed his radio and the sermons and political talks and fine music on the air and tuned in frequently as he sat in his easy chair downstairs, before he was confined to his room.

"He crossed the Great Divide to meet his Great Physician, leaving behind him a record of a life well lived and one of achievement and to those who knew him well the memory of a skillful physician, a pleasant friend and companion and former citizen of which Portsmouth had cause to be proud."

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