The Junkin Tent

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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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