George Junkin

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Have you ever heard of a “Junkin Tent”? It was a tent or lean-to structure erected in a rural setting where the Lord’s people could gather for worship and communion. The tent provided a covering for the pastor and for the communion elements, with the congregation seated around the tent. The term has now largely passed into history, and so today’s post is presented with the intent of raising your “PQ” – your Presbyterian Quotient.

The Junkin Tent

“The name of Junkin has been long known and honored in the Presbyterian church. The first of this name to settle in this region was Joseph Junkin who had married Elizabeth Wallace. They were emigrants from Ulster, and were married at Oxford, Pa. A little later they settled in the Cumberland Valley and “took up” five hundred acres of land including the site of the present town of New Kingston.To these parents was born a Joseph Junkin the second, on the 22d of January, 1750. He had two sisters older than himself. Mary, who became Mrs. John Culbertson, and Elizabeth, who died young; and one sister and two brothers younger than himself, John, who died without issue, and Benjamin, the grandfather of the Hon. Benjamin Junkin of Perry county.”

“Joseph Junkin was of the old Covenanter stock, and the “Junkin Tent” was a well known place of worship for those who held by the sturdy principles of this type of Presbyterianism. Here Black, and Cuthbertson, and Dobbin and others ministered in holy things to a congregation of hardy pioneers gathered from far and near. It is said that at this “Junkin Tent” was celebrated the first Covenanter Communion Service ever held in the New World.”

“Young Junkin was twenty-five years of age when the clouds of war began to gather over the infant colonies. He was not made of the stuff to meekly bear the insolent assumption of the British Crown. He was one of the first to enlist when the news reached his quiet home that Independence was declared. Leaving his intended bride unwedded until the storm of war should pass, he enlisted and went to the front. In the battle of Brandywine, September 11, 1777, he commanded a company. In the sharp skirmish near White Horse Tavern, on the 16th, his arm was shattered by a musket ball. He was concealed by a patriotic Friend, and finally mounted on a horse with a rope bridle, and a knapsack stuffed with hay for a saddle, he made his way home, a distance of ninety miles, in three days. He put himself under the care of Dr. Samuel A. McCoskry of Carlisle, and paid all the expenses attendant on his cure; but he lost a full year in his recovery.”

“In May, 1779, he was married by the Rev. Alexander Dobbin, D.D., to Eleanor Cochran, by whom he had fourteen children, among whom we may mention Rev. George Junkin, D.D., LL.D. and Rev. David X. Junkin, D.D. In the spring of 1806 he removed with his family to Hope Mills, Mercer country, Pa., where he died February 21, 1831.”

[excerpted from volume 2 of the Centennial Memorial of the Presbytery of Carlisle (1889).]

Words to Live By:
What a wonderful privilege when the Lord’s people gather to praise Him, to worship in spirit and in truth. and to draw near to Him in praise. Regardless of where we meet to praise our Lord, it matters not whether we gather under a crude shelter or in a modern building, His promise is that He will be there with us.

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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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