November 1: Dr. George Junkin

This Day in Presbyterian History:

An Educator and Minister to the Souls of Young and Old

Arriving at the Mason-Dixion line dividing Virginia from Pennsylvania in 1861, Dr. George Junkin and his family stopped their carriage carrying all their worldly possessions.  In an act of more than a symbolism, Dr. Junkin cleaned off of his boots and the horses hoof’s all  the Southern mud, wanting to make sure that none of the Rebel dirt would be carried into the  Union North.

The Rev. Dr. George Junkin was born on November 1, 1790 outside the small village of New Kingstown, Pennsylvania. The sixth son of Joseph Junkin, who was a ruling elder in the Junkin Tent congregation of the Covenanters in central Pennsylvania, remained on the farm of his parents at first.  Educated in private schools in Cumberland County, he was sent first to Jefferson College in western Pennsylvania, graduating from there in 1813.  He then attended the Associate Reformed Presbyterian Theological Seminary in New York and became a Covenanter minister.  For eleven years, he was the pastor of two Pennsylvania churches of that denomination.  In 1822, he transferred into the Presbyterian Church in the United States of America, and became a leader in the Old School Presbyterian Church. He was accorded the honor of being Moderator of the 1844 General Assembly of the PCUSA.

The education phase of his ministry started in a small Manual Labor Academy in Germantown, Pennsylvania.  He then became the first president of the brand new Lafayette College, building up that Presbyterian school into a fine educational facility.  After a brief stint at Miami at Ohio College, he went down to Washington College in Lexington, Virginia from 1848 – 1861, resigning at  71 years of age.

Two of his daughters married Confederate officers.  Elinor was the first wife of Thomas Jonathan Jackson, later Stonewall Jackson. She did not survive the birth of their first child, who also died.  Another daughter married Confederate and later General  D. Harvey Hill.  A son, named after him, became a staff member of Gen Jackson’s headquarters, and was captured at Kernstown, Virginia, by Union forces.   So, as it was in so many families of the War Between the States, their allegiances were in two different nations.

Returning to the North, Dr. Junkin in the last seven years of his life preached seven hundred sermons, many of them to Union soldiers in their camps.  He visited wounded Union soldiers in hospitals.  He went to be with the Lord in May of 1868 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

It was unique that near the end of the century, his coffin was dug up and sent south for re-burial in the Stonewall Jackson Memorial Cemetery outside Lexington, Virginia.

Also this day:
The Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church was formed by union of the Associate Presbyterians and the Reformed Presbyterians of America, meeting in Philadelphia on November 1, 1782.  

Words to live by:  Conviction, both religious and national, was part and parcel of George Junkin’s life.  He knew what he believed and his actions reflected that to both friend and enemy.  Of all the Junkin family, he was the most celebrated not only in that family, but in his generation.  It is great to have a good name.  Solomon wrote in Proverbs 15:1 “A good  name is more desirable than great riches; to be esteemed is better than silver or gold.” (NIV) He is remembered, not only by the Junkin ancestors, but by Presbyterians everywhere.  Let us seek to be known by our biblical convictions and have a good name.

Through the Scriptures:  Luke 14 – 17

Through the Standards:  Parts of a sacrament

WCF 27:2
“There is, in every sacrament, a spiritual relation, or sacramental union, between the sign and the thing signified: whence it comes to pass, that the names and effects of the one are attributed to the other.”

WLC 163 “What are the parts of the sacrament?
A.  The parts of the sacrament are two: the one an outward and sensible sign, used according to Christ’s own appointment; the other an inward and spiritual grace thereby signified.”

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  1. Phil Pockras’s avatar

    Hiya! Thanks for these vignettes day by day. They are often very encouraging, especially with the “words to live by” section that gives some edifying meditation on the event/s or person/s highlighted.

    I’m a Reformed Presbyterian (RPCNA) minister, so I want to note that there were a few historical glitches that crept in on Dr. Junkin that you might want to revise. First, his family *had* been prominently Covenanter until the formation of the Associate Reformed church eight years, to the day, from Dr. Junkin’s birth. He was, until 1822, an Associate Reformed Presbyterian member and then minister, not Reformed Presbyterian.

    Second, Dr. Junkin was president of Miami University in Oxford, Ohio. There never was, nor is there now, any institution in Ohio called Miami at Ohio College, or, for that matter, Miami of Ohio anything. It always has been, since its founding in 1809, Miami University. It was named for the Miami Indians and for the fact that Oxford is in the drainage area of the Great Miami River. From its opening it was an institution that graduated many young men who ended up either Old School Presbyterian or Associate Reformed Presbyterian (later United Presbyterian Church of North America) ministers. In fact, the northern Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church had a seminary there. The building was used as an ARP, and then UPCNA, church building till the UPCNA dissolved itself into the northern Presbyterian Church in 1958. It is still standing. After spending one year at Washington and Lee University, I transferred to Miami and graduated there. This leads me to the third item.

    Although Generals Jackson and D. H. Hill were, indeed, married to sisters, the two ladies were daughters of the Rev. Dr. Robert Morrison, the founder of Davidson College. For Jackson, Anna Morrison was his second wife, after Ellie Junkin’s tragic death in childbirth. Jackson and Hill had been acquainted in the Mexican War and had a mutual respect for each other. Hill, who taught math at Washington College, now Washington and Lee University, was instrumental in securing Jackson’s appointment to the Virginia Military Institute’s faculty to teach engineering (I *think*) and artillery tactics. As well, Hill was a great encouragement to Jackson to attend and then join First Presbyterian Church in Lexington, where Jackson became a deacon and a very special Sabbath School teacher.

  2. Richard Williams’s avatar

    As noted by Mr. Pockras, Reverend Junkin’s daughter, Elinor, did indeed marry Stonewall Jackson. But he never had a daughter who was married to Daniel Harvey Hill.

  3. archivist’s avatar

    You are correct, sir. Upon re-checking, the children of George Junkin and Julia Rush Miller were:

    D1 Margaret Junkin, born May 19, 1820. Died March 29, 1897. Married August 3, 1857 Virginia Colonel John Thomas Lewis Preston, born 1811, died 1890. Known as the “Poetess Laureate of the South” for the sincerity, simplicity and directness of her published works during and immediately following the Civil War.

    D2 Dr. John Miller Junkin, born ca. 1822.

    D3 Joseph Junkin, born c. 1823. Died ca. 1849.

    D4 Eleanor Junkin, born March 6, 1825. Died in childbirth October 23, 1854. First wife of Confederate General Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson, married 1853. All three are buried in Stonewall Jackson Cemetery, Lexington, Virginia.


    E1 Son Jackson, born and died October 23, 1854.

    D5 George Junkin II, born March 18, 1827, died April 10, 1902; married June 8, 1854 Jeanne Wakeman Deforest, born April 15, 1832, died December 24, 1909.

    D6 Dr. Ebenezer Dickey Junkin, born February 8, 1829, died April 10, 1902; married 1858 Agnes Anne Penick.

    D7 Dr. William Finney Junkin, born May 1, 1831, died April 9, 1900.

    D8 Son Junkin, born and died March 15, 1834.

    D9 Julia Miller Junkin, born June 13, 1835, died 1915; married 1856 Junius Fishburn, born March 30, 1830, died March 26, 1858.

    [as detailed here: ]

    Now to scratch the head and try to remember how we were misled on that matter?

  4. Phil Pockras’s avatar

    A third daughter of Rev. Robert Morrison married Rufus Barringer, who also became a Confederate general. This Morrison daughter never saw this, however, dying young (as Ellie Junkin Jackson) and never seeing the war. Dr. Robert Morrison had a niece, Lavinia or Binnie, who married Dr. Robert L. Dabney, making him a cousin-in-law to all these men — or, at least, their wives. For much of the war, Mrs Anna Morrison Jackson lived in the Dabney household in Hampden-Sidney.


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