Joseph and Lydia Junkins

The following article was written by Donald Junkins and appeared in JFA Newsletter no. 3, Winter 1990.

Alexander2 and Daniel2 Descendants Join in Mill Lane Cemetery

The dust of the missing gravestone of Lydia5 Junkins, the great-grandaughter of Daniel2 Junkins was discovered by Roland Junkins on August 30, 1990 in the Mill Lane Cemetery. Lydia was the wife of Joseph5 Junkins, the great-grandson of Alexander2, and the only remaining fragment of her gravestone contained her death date 18 January 1856. (See p. 128, The Junkins Family History[1].) Roland said, "It occurred to me that she (Joseph's wife Lydia) wasn't there. I got my stick and poked next to Joseph's stone. Her whole tombstone was nothing but dust. It had totally disintegrated. I'm going to have a new tombstone made."

After discovering the remains of the missing marker, Roland and his brother-in-law Howard Leck returned to Mill Lane Cemetery the second week in September and continued the clearing and cleaning process begun in preparation for the Junkins family reunion. They straightened Joseph's tombstone and set it in clay from the surrounding area, which they mixed with a little water. Roland says, "It's just like cement." He reports the following: Joseph's daughter Charlotte (p. 56, The Junkins Family[1]) stone was under ground-cover and still attached to the heavy base in perfect condition and "just needed washing;" they cut a lot ore bush around the circumference of the graveyard, and cleaned several more stones; they took up the stone of the Civil War veteran Horace Eaton (p. 72, The Junkins Family[1]) which had broken. Roland reports, "I'm going to get it repaired and get a flag for it."

Lydia's will shows evidence of both her mother's (Abigail Smith, 1749-1819?, p. 128, The Junkins Family1) and her father's (Daniel, 1748-1819, p. 127 The Junkins Family[1]) sense of detail. One paragraph of her mother's will reads:

"Abigail Junkins tis Hur Desier for lydia Junkins and ella Junkins and Abigail Junkins and Mary shaw and Mary eye give Hannah Junkins round table and flat iron black silk cloak one under peticoat if my Husband Haint given No beding eye giv Sheat and a blanket if His Fathor Haint giv Him No beding eye giv a Sheat and blanket" —

One section of her father's will reads:

"…And if my son Daniel shall make more than two hogsheads of cyder yearly, then he shall deliver to my said son James, the one third part of what he makes yearly, over and above two hogsheads: until the said James shall make two hogsheads of cyder yearly from his own orchard and no longer" —

The following poem from CROSSING BY FERRY, Poems New and Selected by Donald Junkins (Univ. of Mass. Press, 1978) highlights Lydia's own will, which can be found on pp. 49-50 of The Junkins Family[1].

The Inheritance

"I Lydia Junkins Widow of York"
it begins. Before witnesses,
before the eyes loll to the brine
old January sky and memory
drifts in the marsh grass
to the sea that will not freeze;
the only evidence is will.

She makes no bones
and dispenses with it all. You, Susan Junkins
hark, she names you first of eight:
'one brass kettle one Churn and four flat Irons
one half of my bedding one Great Chair
all my Chairs one blue Chest
and the remainder of the bed clothes to do as pleas —'

As please you Susan.
As please us all. Wheezy, diminutive,
stark, she measures out her life
and fades, an old impersonation.
We are on our hands and knees in the cellar
stacking old magazines. Idling, we thumb through pages
and the smell of the past. We remember windows that open
over great fields of the sea. Our breasts ache
after the wind.

She names the names.
John H. Junkins, second: 'I give to him
the great Bible and one half of a bed —'
Lydia: 'one bed'
Susan E. and Aba: 'one bed'

Henry, Charlotte Foster and Mary M: 'one pair
of sheets and one pair of Pillow Cases.'
And then it is over with
the bank book and the children
divisible, apportioned, willed.

We received the past by decree.
Our portions weigh in our seasoning hands.
From York, we are given Lydia X her Cross.

-Lydia Junkins, 1769-1856

We look forward to the restoration of Lydia's gravestone in the Mill Lane Cemetery where she will visibly continue to join both limbs of our ancestral Robert Junkins family tree.

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