Sylvester Cemetery

The graves in this cemetery are:

  • Sylvester6 Junkins, b. 1819, d. December 21, 1846. He mar, 18 Mar 1841 in York, Miss Sarah Elizabeth Keen.
  • Mary7 Junkins, b. 1842, d. January 24, 1847

First Visit

This cemetery was first visited by brothers Roland and Donald Junkins in 1977, after a Jeep expedition with local guide Marvin Swain, a York hunter. It is located behind what is now know as the foundation of the Old Knight place on an extension of the Kingsbury Marsh Lane.

1990 Visit with Hunters

After visiting the Samuel Cemetery on August 23, 1990 with Alan and Donald Junkins, hunter Edward Junkins' knowledge of deep woods graveyards led to discussions about the location of the Sylvester Junkins cemetery and a visit there.

The following is an excerpt from "Hunters Lead Junkinses to Lost Cemeteries" by Donald Junkins and published in JFA Newsletter no. 3, Winter 1990.

Davis' The Junkins Family[1] 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 are only 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."

This quotation indicates that Davis obviously did not know of Sylvester's cemetery, although information on pages 126 and 134 give helpful evidence in tracing the property transferral to the Knight family.

Sylvester6's brother Jarius6 had a daughter, Ann Maria, who married Mark Knight who lived until May 11, 1901, surviving at least five of his six children.

Clues as to why Sylvester6 Junkins' property passed over to the Knights can be found in the cemetery itself. Donald Junkins discovered the gravestone of Sylvester's five year old daughter Mary by poking a stick into the ground near Sylvester's half-leaned-over gravestone, marked "Silvester."

Mary was born in 1842 and died January 24, 1847, 34 days after her father. (Sylvester's gravestone stated that he died December 21, 1846, not 1848 as Davis' The Junkins Family[1] states.) Mary's 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, Sarah very likely 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.

Roland's Second Visit

Excerpt of "First Fourth Generation Ancestor Located" by Donald Junkins; published in JFA Newsletter 4, Summer 1991

In March 1991, Roland Junkins and his nephew and niece-in-law, David and Linda Leck of Sanford, ME, rediscovered the old Sylvester graveyard. 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." (See JFA Newsletter 3 for more information on this cemetery.)


In August 2006, a group of eleven, guided by Ron Nowell, took a walk "up the mountain", visiting the Sylvester Homestead and burial ground. That walk was described by Virginia L. Woodwell, A Walk to Remember and published in JFA newsletter no. 15, Winter 2006.

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