William Wallace Junkin (1831-1903)

ANCESTRAL LINE: A1 Joseph Junkin I | B3 Joseph Junkin II | C6 Joseph Junkin III

Elizabeth Patrick Junkin (1834-1901) William Wallace Junkin (1831-1903) D11 William Wallace Junkin, born January 26, 1831 in Wheeling (West) Virginia, died February 21, 1903 in Fairfield, Jefferson county, Iowa. Married September 14, 1854 in Burlington, Iowa, Elizabeth Patrick, born March 15, 1834 (Green Township, Ross County, Ohio), died May 20, 1901. Eight children. Elizabeth was the daughter of William and Amy Morris Patrick. Both buried in Old City cemetery, Fairfield, Iowa.

William Wallace assisted in printing the newspaper the Morning Star, first in Des Moines, published 20 May 1853. Later he was owner and publisher of the Fairfield Ledger. From its files came much of the material about the Fairfield Junkins.

Reprinted from:
Sesquicentennial Edition, Fairfield (Ia.) Ledger--Section C, Page 12--Friday, July 28, 1989

Frontier Fairfield printer-publisher
Junkin left indelible mark on Ledger


William Wallace Junkin (1831-1903) As a frontier printer and publisher, William Wallace Junkin never backed away from a fight. Neither did he miss an opportunity to promote Iowa, Fairfield and the Republican Party.

During 50 years on the job, he left an indelible mark on the Fairfield Ledger. And he started a family tradition which has produced five generations of journalists.

The Weekly, Ledger was in its fourth year when Junkin, a 22-year-old journeyman printer, purchased half-interest in the business in 1853. Before his death in 1903, he built it into a strong publication which has chronicled the life and times of this community for nearly 140 years.

Zachary Taylor occupied the White House and Ansel Briggs was governor of the new state of Iowa when the first issue of the Ledger was laboriously printed on a Washington Hand Press on a November day in 1849. It was a one-man operation with a motto which read "I have no one to serve but my country." The owner and editor was Orlando McCraney, a Whig who found tough going competing with Fairfield's first newspaper, the Sentinel.

W.W. Junkin was born Jan. 26, 1831, In Wheeling, Va., and at the age of 12 he learned to set type at the Wheeling Argus. He came to Iowa with his parents in 1845 and two years later he accepted a job at the Sentinel. He moved on to Des Moines and Ottumwa before returning to Fairfield in 1849, this time as a compositor at the Ledger.

In 1851 an opening in the Virginia state printing office took him to Richmond but in 1853 he headed back to Fairfield, this time to stay. A.R. Fulton, the Ledger's second owner, sold him a share of the business for $450. The Sentinel also gave him a back-handed welcome, calling him a tramp printer.

Junkin became sole owner of the Ledger in 1854 when he purchased Fulton's half-interest for the same sum of $450. He announced the transaction in the Aug. 24 edition with characteristic brevity:

"Kind Patrons: I have bought all The Ledger and it is under my control. If anything appears in it which you do not like, just lay the blame at my door.

Yours truly,
W.W. Junkin"

Junkin was quick to embrace the new Republican Party and over the years he helped make it a majority voice in Jefferson County. He was an outspoken foe of slavery and he often put aside his pen to compose his editorials directly from the type case. He also waged an unrelenting war against the Democratic Party. A staunch Methodist, he once mortgaged his home to keep the Fairfield church solvent.

In 1875, Junkin's eldest son, Charles M[onroe]., joined the firm and in 1878 he became a partner. He succeeded his father as Ledger publisher in 1903 and he used his editorial columns to sell Fairfield. "I am married to the best wife in the best house on the best street of the best town in the best state of the best country in the world, " he wrote.

C.M. Junkin died in 1915 and his nephew, William J. McGiffin, became publisher of the Ledger. A year later he was joined by his brother, Don McGiffin, who was then serving as secretary to Iowa Congressman C.W, Ramseyer. In 1916 the brothers purchased the Ledger from their uncle's estate.

During the early years of the century, The Ledger's strongest competition came from the Journal, a daily publication. In 1920 the two papers merged with the McGiffin brothers and Dean Taylor as owners. Taylor, who had been editor of the Journal, continued in that position at the Ledger. At first the two years retained their own identities, but the name was soon changed to the Ledger-Journal. On April 9, 1923, the Ledger-Journal consolidated with the Fairfield Tribune and a new name, the Fairfield Daily Ledger, appeared on the masthead for the first time.

In 1924, ownership of the Ledger passed to a new corporation headed by Paul S[heridan]. Junkin, another son of W.W. Junkin. Other shareholders were W.G. Heaton and C.J. Fulton. For six years P.S. Junkin was publisher and Herbert McDougal was editor.

Two other sons of W.W. Junkin - Robert T[upper], and W[illiam]. D[avid]. - also pursued journalism careers, although neither -served on the Ledger staff.

Children of William Wallace Junkin and Elizabeth Patrick:

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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