November 1: Dr. George Junkin

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.

Tags: ,

  1. Robert Copeland’s avatar

    Thank you! Dr. Junkin had a remarkable and productive ministry. The Junkin house (where I believe he was born) still stands (abandoned) at New Kingstown.

  2. Phil Pockras’s avatar

    A remarkable man in many ways! A few corrections:

    1. His family was historically RP or Covenanter. However they, and the “Junkin Tent” congregation went mostly into the Associate Reformed union in 1782. Dr. Junkin was, thus, born into and reared up in the ARP.

    2. He was never an RP minister. He was an ARP minister until 1822, when most of the Pennsylvania Synod and a large minority of the New York Synod of the ARP jumped to the PCUSA.

    3. There has never been any institution of higher learning monikered “Miami at Ohio College”. There has been a Miami University, founded in and so named in 1809. In fact, it’s still there in Oxford, Ohio. Its athletic team names have changed several times, but the school has been Miami University for, oh, 205 years, now. And, oddly enough, Dr. Junkin was the (unpopular) president there for a little while in 1848, I believe.

    For disclosure’s sake, I am an RP or Covenanter minister, and a 1976 graduate of Miami University.

Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

* Copy This Password *

* Type Or Paste Password Here *

73,057 Spam Comments Blocked so far by Spam Free Wordpress

%d bloggers like this: