Rev. George Junkin (1790-1868)

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ANCESTRAL LINE: A1 Joseph Junkin I | B3 Joseph Junkin II

Rev. George Junkin (1790-1868)
Rev. George Junkin
Stonewall Jackson Memorial Cemetery
Lexington, Virginia
C8 George Junkin, born November 1, 1790, died June 20, 1868; married June 1, 1819 Julia Rush Miller, born June 19, 1795, died February 23, 1854. Julia Rush Miller was the daughter of John and Margaret Irvin Miller. George and Julia Junkin are both buried in Stonewall Jackson Memorial Cemetery, Lexington, Virginia. Ten children.

The sixth child and fourth son of Joseph II and Eleanor Cochran Junkin, Dr. George is probably the most illustrious member of that line. As an educator and minister of the gospel, he always held a place of prominence.

His early schooling was received in a small district school in Cumberland County (Pennsylvania) of which William Jamieson was the teacher. A later school master, Andrew Carruthers, was so impressed with the boy's brilliance that he suggested to the parents that the boy should obtain a liberal education, He entered Jefferson College at Canonsburg, Pennsylvania, and graduated there in 1813.

Later he graduated from the Theological Seminary of the Associate Reformed Church under the guidance of Dr. Mason. While in New York, he helped organize the first Sunday School in that city. He was ordained a minister in 1818 and for a time did missionary work in Philadelphia, where he was instrumental in establishing the first temperance society in central Pennsylvania. One of his first pastorates was at Milton, Pennsylvania, where he helped establish the Milton Academy.

In December, 1824, an attempt had been made by the citizens of Easton, Pennsylvania, to establish a college and name it for General Lafayette, who had made a triumphal tour through the United States in that year. Attempts were again made in 1827-28, but it was not until 1832 when George Junkin was appointed president that definite steps were taken. Through the untiring efforts of Rev. Junkin, the college flourished.

In 1833 his alma mater, Jefferson College, conferred upon him the honorary degree of Doctor of Divinity. Dr. Junkin remained as Lafayette president until 1841 when he accepted the presidency of Miami University at Oxford, Ohio, where he guided the college for three years.

Dr Junkin then returned to Lafayette College until 1848. Later in 1848 he became President of Washington College (now Washington and Lee) in Lexington, Virginia. Under the administration of the new president, the course of study was enlarged and the enrollment increased. In 1856 Rutgers conferred upon him an honorary LL.D degree. In April, 1861, Dr. Junkin resigned as head of Washington College. He was a northerner and was no way in sympathy with slavery, even though two of his daughters married Confederate officers. Upon crossing the Pennsylvania state line it is said that he stopped to wipe the southern mud from his wheels. George left a portion of his family behind in Lexington and thus the war of "brother against brother" had true meaning in the Junkin family.

He went to Philadelphia and devoted himself to doing good where ever he could. In the last seven years of his life, he is said to have preached 700 times. During the Civil War his activity was amazing for a man of his age--seventy-one. He constantly visited soldiers on the field and in hospitals and preached in encampments. During the last years of his life he was also busy with his pen, and has books and religious treatises to his credit. He died at the home of his son in Philadelphia.

Biography of
Rev. George Junkin

The Men of Lafayette, 1826-1893
Lafayette College, Its History, Its Men, Their Record
Selden J. Coffin 1891
Easton, PA

Rev. George Junkin, D. D., LL. D., son of Joseph Junkin, and the sixth of fourteen children, was born in Cumberland county, Pa, November 1st, 1790. His earliest years were spent on his father's farm, where, by close application to study in the intervals of work, he prepared for college. He graduated at Jefferson in 1813. After studying theology privately for some time, he entered the Theological Seminary of the Associate Reformed Church, in New York City. Having completed his theological course, he was licensed to preach by the Presbytery of Monongahela, September 13th, 1816. He was soon called to the charge of the United Congregations of Milton and McEwensville, Pa., where he remained about eleven years. In 1830 he became Principal of the Manual Labor Academy, at Germantown, one of the first institutions of the kind to go into operation in the United States-the Fellenberg Academy, in Massachusetts, being started about the same time and on the same plan by Prof. James H. Coffin, afterward an associate of Dr. Junkin in Lafayette College. Two years later he became the first President of Lafayette College. In 1841 he accepted the Presidency of Miami University, Ohio. remaining three years, when he again returned to Easton. He was Moderator of the General Assembly in 1844. In the fall of 1848 he again left his " lovely Lafayette," to accept the position of President of Washington College (now Washington and Lee University), Virginia. Here he remained until May, 1861, when he resigned the presidency and removed to Philadelphia. He was now seventy-one years of age, but with force unabated he filled up his remaining days with an activity almost past belief. Among the soldiers, in camp, field and hospital, as a colporteur, a preacher and a writer, he worked on with a marvelous zeal and vigor. He died in Philadelphia May 20th, 1868.

Dr. Junkin was a man of acknowledged ability, and profoundly learned, especially in theology and metaphysics. These were his favorite pursuits, in which he excelled both as a student and as a teacher. Men of eminence in Church and State, who sat at his feet during their educational career, give their cheerful testimony to his magnetic power over his students, and to his enthusiasm as well as his profound learning in the subjects which he taught. Of his powers, however, I cannot more fitly speak than in the words of Dr. Breed: "The mind of Dr. Junkin well harmonized with the material home in which it lodged--massive, compact and strong. To say that he was a man of talents-of talents of a very high order-is to say the truth, but only a part of the truth. He was a man of genius--with all the force, fire and originality of true genius." Of his qualities of heart Dr. Knox, with equal truth, says: " A man of greater magnanimity, of truer, deeper, tenderer affections, I do not believe ever lived."

Children of George Junkin and Julia Rush Miller:

Portrait of Five Junkin Brothers, July 5, 1865

  1. Junkin, Laura Gayle. The Descendants of Joseph Junkin I and Elizabeth Wallace, September 1976.
  2. Junkin, David X., Biography of George Junkin, D.D.,LL.D. 1871. J.B. Lippincott and County
  3. Robinson, Richard D. and Elisabeth C. Repassing at My Side...A Story of the Junkins. 1975, Southern Printing County, Blacksburg, Virginia.
  4. Skillman, D.B. Biography of a College-Lafayette, 1932. Vol. I, pp 48-187

The Joseph Junkin Family Tree is a collection of information gathered by Eric & Liz Davis, Mary Eleanor Bell, Alice Erma Bell, Margaret A. Killian, Laura Gayle Junkin, Winston Ray Norris, Joyce Ann Junkin, Barbara Ann Millner, and many others. The html version was initiated by Eric and Elizabeth Fisher-Davis in 1998 .
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