Old York Historical Society Purchases Historic Junkins Documents

From an article published in JFA newsletter no. 12, March 1999

The Old York Historical Society was top bidder on many of some 50 historical documents and artifacts that were auctions last May in Byfield, MA. The documents include diaries, ledgers, tax records and books that pertained to the Moody family and the Scotland district of York in the 1700s and 1800s. Robert Shaw, owner of the Moody house across the road from where the Junkins garrison stood for 243 years, said he found the items in 1986 in two old cabinets in his home. The materials were consigned to auctioneer Hap Moore, who ran the auction in Byfield.

The documents included the earliest-known records of the Second Parish Church directly across from the Alexander Junkins burial ground and the garrison. They were thought to have been burned in a fire over a hundred and fifty years ago. Included in the documents is a journal by Joseph H. Moody, also known as "Handkerchief" Moody, who is a legend in New England history.1 This journal has hundreds of mentions of everyday life in the parish and the Junkins family.

Other items included: a 19th century ledger detailing tanning operations and farm sales with mention of Grant, Nowell, Moulton, Junkins, Parsons, McIntire and Moody families and containing many loose family letters; a 1870-1871 Joseph Moody ledger with numerous listings of the Junkins family members; a record of the Scotland Sabbath School 1827-1828 and a Second Parish record book.

Alan Junkins was invited to a private preview of the material several weeks before the auction. Alan made a verbal promise of financial support from the Junkins Family Association to help back up the Old York Historical Society's bid for the materials.

At the Junkins Family Association Board of Directors' meeting on June 27, 1998 in El Dorado, Ks, the board voted to contribute $500 toward the conservation of these new documents acquired by the Old York Historical Society. Alan had explained how important it is that these documents be de-acidified and conserved after they are once obtained by a museum. Many times when materials like these are purchased or donated to a museum, the funds needed to conserve them are difficult to come by.

The Treasurer, David B. Junkins, was directed to issue a check for $500 to the Old York Historical Society. On the evening of August 15, 1998, Alan made a surprise presentation to the Board of Directors of Old York Historical Society at their annual meeting. First, the associations check for $500 for the express use of the conservation of the Moody papers and then, representing his brother and sister-in-law, Philip and Sylvia Junkins of Las Vegas, Nevada, presented another check for $200 from them for the same purpose.

A standing ovation was given by the members of Old York and their Directors. A letter from the Chair of the Board of Directors of Old York read as follows. "What a wonderful surprise it was at the Annual Meeting of the Old York Historical Society to receive your contribution toward the preservation of the Moody Papers. We are fortunate to have been able to acquire the Papers but it is so important tht they be well cared for. Thank you so much. Sincerely, Sarah R. Newick, 'Tinker'."

Below is another letter received from Scott Stevens, Executive Director. (picture to come)

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