Hunters Lead Junkinses to Lost Cemeteries

By Donald Junkins; published in JFA Newsletter no. 3, Winter 1990

On the third day of the archaeological dig of the Alexander graveyard at the site of the Robert Junkins Garrison House on Scotland Parish Road in York (August 21-23, 1990), Edward Junkins and Edward Maybe of the Kittery Water District stopped to say hello to diggers Kathleen Wheeler, Alan Junkins and Donald Junkins. Pleasantries preceded a woods excursion by the four men to an abandoned cemetery on the edge of a large field east of the Kingsbury Marsh Road where many Junkins Gravestones dating from the 1830s were visible. The York Historical Association's map of family cemeteries denoted this cemetery1 as Kingsbury, but all the stones viewed were Junkins. One of these has hand-carved by an amateur, and one seemed to be a wolf-stone. The names Urania, George and Captain Josiah Junkins were clearly distinguishable on headstones in excellent condition except for being broken in two pieces. This graveyard seems to extend for more than sixty feet along a small rise close to a small pond a few hundred yards straight in from Scotland Parish Road.

Hunter Edward Junkins' knowledge of deep woods graveyards led to discussions about the location of the Sylvester Junkins cemetery behind what is now known as the foundation of the Old Knight place on an extension of the Kingsbury Marsh Lane. This cemetery contains the graves of Sylvester Junkins and his infant daughter, Mary, and in 1977 was visited by Roland and Donald Junkins after a jeep excursion with local guide Marvin Swain, a York hunter. The Junkins Family history2 says of Sylvester:

"Very little is known of this kinsman. He evidently did not reside in vicinity of other members of the family. His birth and death only are recorded in the family Bible. He is said to have married a Miss Keen and probably lived in Portsmouth, New Hampshire or Newbury, Massachusetts. He died 21 December 1848 and nothing further is known of his widow." (p.145)

This quotation indicates that editor Harry Alexander Davis of the Junkins Family history obviously did not know of Sylvester's cemetery, although information pertaining to Sylvester's father and grandfather on pages 126 and 134 give helpful evidence in tracing the property transferral to the Knight family. (Sylvester6, Jonathan5, Jonathan4, Daniel3, Daniel2, Robert1) Sylvester's brother Jairus had a daughter Ann Maria who married Mark Knight who lived until May 11, 1901, surviving at least five of his six children. Why the property passed over to the Knights is made clear in the graveyard itself. Donald discovered by poking a stick into the ground near Sylvester's half-leaned-over gravestone (spelled "SILVESTER") the gravestone of the five year old Mary. She was born in 1842 and died January 24, 1847, 34 days after her father died (Sylvester's gravestone states that he died December 21, 1846, not 1848 as the Family History says). Her stone also contains the maiden name of her mother, Sarah E. Keen. After losing her husband and daughter in little over a month's time, she obviously went back to her own family elsewhere, abandoning the Junkins farm.

Junkins, Donald. The Agamenticus Poems: Voices from York, Maine. Hollow Spring Press, 1984. contains the following poem.

A Hunter Leads Two Brothers to an Abandoned Cemetery with One Gravestone: the Woods above Kingsbury Marsh, York, Maine, June 1977

The one who wrote this family book's wrong.
Sylvester's been here a hundred-thirty
years. The stone says it.

When you poke a stick in the shallows
I never had an idea we'd strike
a marker. Just your fingers around
the edges,…there, you're raising it up —

All this time she's been here. The marble's
good as new: fell over her grave like a cape. Snug
all these years, just leaves and rain, five
hundred seasons aside her father.

House must be close by. They call that
foundation-hole beyond the trees the Knight
place, but I'd guess it's the homestead. These
woods were fields then. Here, — I can't
budge it. Sylvester's leaned over to stay.

The widow's in between the lines: these two stones
tell more'n the book: — buried him day after Christmas
1846, twenty-seven years. Two weeks after Mary, just
five. That's enough for one woman.

She up and left. Maiden name was Keen.
The book says Miss Keen; the stone says Sarah.
The rest of it's gone.

Look here. The footstone says "S.G."
instead of "S.J." Whoever carved it
had something else on his mind — the family
never noticed. Sarah was gone by then, no one left
to bother. That's when the house went over
to the Knights.

Hunter Edward Junkins remembered one other single-stone graveyard in the woods behind the Robert Junkins Garrison site. Donald mentioned seeing the marker of Emaline Quinby who died when she was eighteen months old. Edward said that he had seen it many times and knew just where it was; local lore has it that Emaline was a passenger on a ship docking in York Harbor when she died, and because she didn't belong to anyone local, they buried her off in the woods by herself. "At least that's what they say around here," Edward said. This conversation was reminiscent of another one in 1977 with Trafton Swain of Pudding Lane in York. Trafton had invited Donald and Roland to his house so he could present them with an original copy of the Olive Williams account in 1825 of her imprisonment in the Alfred jail with Samuel Junkins (see pp 40-45, The Junkins Family, Descendants of Robert Junkins of York County, Maine). When they arrived at Trafton's house, there was a barn sale in progress.

The following poem by Donald in The Agamenticus Poems tells the story.

Trafton Swain: A Barn Sale on Pudding Lane, York, Maine

(a woman's voice can be heard next door,
singing a Protestant hymn)

Graveyards, you say. You two fellows
know the graveyard with just one stone in the woods
near Kingsbury Marsh? It's the name
you're looking for all right. I came across it
hunting. The stone's slanted almost over
but you can read it if you kneel down. Part
of a stone wall goes three quarters
around. One time it must have been a field
but it's all grown up in there now. I
don't know anybody else knows of it but my son

…just like Jesus to keep me day by day

One fall we tried to straighten it
but it's fast in the ground. I forget the first
name but the last name's same as yours.
The marble back's all brown. The underside's
clear enough where the writing's faced the dirt.
The dates are in the eighteen hundreds.

…Jesus, Jesus all along—

I know one other place where there's one stone marker in the
middle of the woods. A little girl's buried there. The
date's 1819. I can't tell if anyone else's in there with her,
nothing shows for it if they are. She has a last name I never
heard before: Quinby, with an "n". Emaline Quinby, eighteen
months old, born in Mobile, died in York. The stone's just
standing in the woods by itself, no fence, nothing but woods.
Just a little girl. Nice name — Emaline. Emaline Quinby.

Hunters Edward Junkins, Trafton Swain, and Marvin Swain have provided invaluable information to those of us interested in Junkins cemeteries in York. What we learned during this recent visit to the so-called Kingsbury cemetery with Edward Junkins and Edward Maybe is that property ownership surrounding family cemeteries have been recorded in York. Other Junkins cemeteries are waiting to be discovered, and whether deer hunter or cemetery hunter, persons with local knowledge will be followed into the woods by grateful members of the Junkins Family Association.

Donald Junkins

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