Thomas Junkins, Ohio Pioneer

From JFA newsletter no. 5, Winter 1991

Thomas7 Junkins, (Samuel6, Samuel5, Samuel4, Joseph3, Alexander2, Robert1). Born 27 April 1822 in Fayette county, Pennsylvania.

Although born in Pennsylvania, his family moved to Guernsey County, Ohio soon after Thomas' birth. His father, Samuel, died in 1829 when Thomas was but seven years old. His mother, with her children, returned to Pennsylvania, and in Washington County, was married to John Rice. They then came back to Ohio, in 1833, in the company of John McKee and a man by the name of Storts — there being three families in all. They settled in Weston township, Wood County, Ohio. Mr. Rice died in the fall of 1833.

Thomas Junkins had only a limited education, and after the death of his stepfather, he had to go to work to help support his widowed mother. His boyhood was spent in clearing up a portion of the McKee farm and a greater part of the Carson farm. Here, he spent seventeen years of hard work and he recalled with gratitude, the kind and encouraging words given him by Alexander Brown, who in those days of toil and hardships, acted as a father and cheered him on in his daily toil. In 1843, Thomas bought 160 acres of land, being the southeast 1/4 of Section 29, Weston Township, where he resided until his death in 1903.

On October 7, 1853 he married Elizabeth Nancy Long and they had been married forty-two years at the time of her death in 1895. They reared a family of six children: Alzinia Adelaide, Charlotte Alma, Eber W., Raymond S. Charles L. and Perry C. Junkins.

In 1847, Thomas bought 160 acres of land on Hull's Prairie, at seventy-five cents per acre ($120). This he sold for $2,000, and then bought 320 acres from Mr. Bucklin, in Milton township, for $2,080. Eighty acres of this he sold, and eighty acres of this farm he exchanged for a part of the Ward farm, and the remaining 160 acres he gave to his two sons, Eber W. and Charles L., while to Raymond S. he gave a part of the Ward farm. Raymond's farm is pictured on the front cover of this newsletter.

Thomas was a great lover of fine stock, having in his younger days been an extensive breeder of fine Shorthorn cattle. In 1850, he in company with Aaron P. Treadwell, who was known as "Live Yankey," and "Jim" Crago, drove 150 head of cattle from Weston Township, Ohio to Bridgeport, Conn., the trip occupying several months' time.

When the Civil War broke out, Thomas enlisted and was mustered in at Cleveland as a member of Company F, 86th Ohio Volunteers, under Colonel Charles Lennett and Captain Squires. He was present at the capture of Morgan, and at the battle of Cumberland Gap; served for eight months, and was mustered out in Cleveland in 1864. As a result of his service, he was deaf for the rest of his life.

Thomas was a Republican and for three terms held the office of supervisor. He was a member of the Universalist Church, and socially, he was a member of the Grand Army of the Republic Post at Weston. In April of 1870, he was made a Master Mason in Grand Rapids Lodge Number 289, F. & A. M., Grand Rapids, Ohio.

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