First Fourth Generation Ancestor Located

By Donald Junkins; published in JFA Newsletter no. 4, Summer 1991

In somewhat the spirit of Henry Thoreau who became the "self-appointed inspector of snowstorms" at Walden Pond in Concord, Massachusetts in 1846, Roland Junkins contentedly assumed this past fall and winter the role of temporary watcher and handyman surveyor of the Junkins cemeteries in the homestead town of York. Several newsworthy items have drifted across the old fields of York toward this writer's desk, and as the ground begins to thaw once again above those old graves, we pause to reflect on the good seasons of our forbears, and pass on the news, which to them is just old hat. Roland has devised a good system of naming each cemetery after the oldest grave inhabitant, and here's how that works out: Mary cemetery on Route 1 (since the last report, the railing has been straightened almost straight); Joseph cemetery off Mill Lane (Lydia's new gravestone is complete and will soon be replaced in the original base next to husband Joseph); Sylvester cemetery off the Kingsbury Marsh Road in the woods in back of the so-called "Knight Place"; Alexander cemetery in the front yard of the original Robert Junkins homestead on Scotland Road; Daniel cemetery on the so-called "Day Place" on the mount above Kingsbury Marsh; Elijah cemetery (where Charles Wisdom is also buried) cross from the Nowell house on Scotland Road; and the new Hepzibah cemetery1 (listed on the town cemetery map as a Kingsbury cemetery), which contains the grave of Samuel Junkins, the oldest Junkins inhabitant as yet discovered in any of the known cemeteries, about which more will follow below.

A. The Sylvester (1819-1846) Cemetery Near Kingsbury Marsh (York pronunciation = "Kingsbury Mash")

In March 1991, Roland Junkins and his nephew and niece-in-law, David and Linda Leck of Sanford, ME, rediscovered the old Sylvester graveyard off the extension of Kingsbury Lane. It had been visited by Donald and Roland Junkins in 1977, as reported in Newsletter 3. Roland reports the following: "The only thing I remembered about it was that it was in sight of the Kingsbury Marsh. On the further side of the Marsh, we went over a granite bridge and started walking into the woods. The land is totally covered with granite outcroppings. It didn't look like anybody had ever lived there. We went out to the road again and up the ridge and walked in again. We dispersed and walked for twenty minutes. I was just at the point where I was going to give up — we were at a point surrounded by water. David said 'I found it.' When I got to where he was, I was sorry to see just the stump of the gravestone at the angle we had last seen it in 1977. The Maystone was down but in mint condition. The cemetery plot was all covered with surface roots and shrubs, so we cleared it out and we broke off the small growth of pine trees. We found three or four other graves just marked by field stones. It's a very small cemetery and there's some big ugly hunks of granite, irregular and huge, that were put there to be a wall around the cemetery but they never really finished it. There's a kind of a woods road from the cemetery that meanders around. It's a fifteen minute walk back to Kingsbury Lane. I know exactly where it is now. When you go in, there is a lovely pond on both sides of the road. The wall and lintel slabs of granite make a bridge with the water rushing through. The whole foundation is totally covered with lilac and forsythia. There's a little pond that overflows the road just to the right of the root cellar. The house had been on a little rise in the road, and to the right going up the hill is the well. I took a limb and poked it down fully eight feet and it didn't hit bottom so the well is totally intact and the water is up to inches from the top. It's practically part of the little pond. Somebody had dug a place for the water to drain off from the road."

B. The Elijah (1789-1869) cemetery on Scotland Road

Roland Junkins reports: "The bottom rail is under earth. The gate is on its original hinges. The only thing missing is the latch. I'm going to clean the two big stones and get the lichens off. The Elijah stone is covered. I'm going to restore the lovely fence around the cemetery."

C. The Samuel (1735-1791) cemetery off Kingsbury Lane (direction toward the Garrison House)

This cemetery is listed on the Town of York's Cemetery Map as a Kingsbury cemetery, and was visited by Alan and Donald Junkins during the week prior to the Junkins reunion as reported in JFA Newsletter no. 3, Winter 1990, and later by Roland Junkins and David and Linda Leck. David Leck took a video of their visit. The hand-lettered gravestone found by Alan and Donald has turned out to be that of Samuel4 Junkins, Robert1 Junkins' great-grandson. Roland deciphered the stone in large March, 1991, and called this writer on the evening before Easter to report the discovery. Earlier he had said of his first visit to the cemetery when he thought that Samuel's wife Hepzibah was the oldest inhabitant of the cemetery, "I'm going to straighten Hepzibah's stone and clean it and restore it. The water supply is right there in the pond. There's a pump house right there. The pond is obviously a water supply for the mansion up on the hill. There's a wire fence that runs right down the middle of the cemetery. Then, I'm going to straighten Hepzibah's stone and clean it and restore it. The water supply is right there. Then, I'm going to take the stones with the hand-carved inscriptions and see whose name is on it. I'm going to clean the other stones, clean out the cemetery and work on it." (Hepzibah was Hepzibah Preble whom Samuel4 married in December 1764. They were members of the Second Parish Church and resided on the homestead of his father where they spent their entire lives.)

Several noteworthy facts about this early ancestor in the Alexander line: Samuel4's son Samuel5 whose story can be found in Davis' The Junkins Family,[1] p. 40 ff, became a Cochranite and stirred up the town by his marriage to Olive Williams, both of whom spent time in the county jail for "disturbing" a church meeting. Sixteen poems in Donald Junkins' The Agamenticus Poems: Voices from York, Maine tell the story of their arrest and imprisonment.

Also, Samuel4's three nephews, sons of his brother James4, married three Junkins sisters in the Daniel2 line, their third cousins. Joseph5, James5, and David5 Junkins of the Alexander2 line married Lydia5, Eleanor5, and Abigail5 Junkins of the Daniel2 line. David and Abigail are buried in the Daniel (1773-1848) cemetery on the mount above Kingsbury Marsh at the site of the Daniel homestead lot now referred to as the "Day Place".

D. The Daniel5 Cemetery on the Mount

This cemetery was visited by brothers Donald and Roland Junkins in 1977 and an account can be found in Donald's poem "The Homestead," in Agamenticus Poems. The cemetery was revisited in March, 1991 by Roland and David and Linda Leck. Roland recounted this brief visit: "As we were approaching the Day Place, I sensed a clearing and I said to David, 'I think this is it.'2

"One of the top slabs of the root cellar was pulled aside and I was sorry to see it that way. It had just snowed a little bit and there was just a dusting and it was pretty up there. The cemetery was further from the house than I had remembered. No stones were standing now.

"We brushed them. Somebody has kept them free over the years. Abigail's stone had broken in the middle from rot, so we uncovered the name to find out who it was. Her footstone is as good as the day that it was put there. There are two big ugly gnarled pine trees in the middle fo the cemetery that should come out before we do anything.

"That point of land is very similar to the land around the Sylvester Cemetery. It comes to a point and looks like there was a small pond at one time. We just cleared the leaves off at this time. Two weeks later, we carefully disinterred the stones and laid them on a flat spot. David's and Abigail's had granite bases and Daniel's and Hannah's were just stuck in the ground. Behind one of the gnarled pine trees there's a fieldstone marker. There are six such markers. The configuration of land is a little hillock, self-contained."

The Mount Agamenticus Gateway: Marvin Swain Walks with a Stranger in the Woods above Kingsbury Marsh, June 1977

This road goes up the mountain, though it aint
a mountain, just the highest hill in these
parts. The homesteads are fallen in
but for the root cellars. Burial places
grown up around with trees and bush. —s' shame.
Them people set store by this hear land, clearing,
piling walls. Granite's what they could handle, —
cut them root cellars thick

as thi's over the brook, oxen
done that. See that slab straight up
there? Use to be one opposite. A fellow
come with a pick-up and hauled it out —
leaning almost over.

but he couldn't get this'n. I measured twelve
feet above ground, no telling how deep
it's under. Someone had a mind for it to stay
put. Beats me why anyone'd want either one.
Evidence, you say? I guess probably. It's
a gateway of some sort. Two-three
times a year I come by hunting. I
think of them oldtimers going by taking
no notice, going on to what they was going
on to. They knew they was passing through.

Go ahead and push — try both arms against it,
it won't budge. Imagine that fellow
in the truck, trying to pull it out,
having to give up on it?

Donald Junkins

1. Davis, Harry Alexander. The Junkins Family, Descendants of Robert Junkins of York County, Maine. Washington, D.C., 1938
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