James Law Junkin (1815-1907)

ANCESTRAL LINE: A1 Joseph Junkin I | B1 William Junkin | C1 James Junkin

D8 James Law Junkin, born 15 July 1815, died 15 January 1907. Married November 4, 1852 Rebecca Jane Lowthar, born December 13, 1832, died May 20, 1914. Eight children. Both are buried at the Penn Center Cemetery near Earlham, Iowa.

"Jimmie Law" as he was called was eight years old when his father died, and two years later traveled with his family to Xenia., Ohio. Here he received most of his education. He stayed at the home of Judge Stephenson and attended the schools of Xenia. Later the judge's daughter married a cousin of James L. Junkin. In 1835 the family continued its journey to Warren County, Ill., where other Junkins had preceded them. In "The Past and Present of Warren Co, Illinois" published in 1877, a James, Sarah, Martha and Ann Junkin are listed as charter members of the Associate Presbyterian church of Henderson, which was formed in 1830. This church was only seven miles from the Henderson river, hence its name even though it was located in Hale Twp. of Warren County

Arriving by covered wagon at their destination, Agnes Junkin and her sons purchased land about 14 miles west of Monmouth. This land eventually became known as the Holliday farm, as Margaret Junkin Holliday and her husband continued to live there after the brothers had purchased farms of their own.

November 4, 1852, James was married to Rebecca Jane Lowther, of whom an account follows. The young couple first lived at the Holliday farm, but in 1853 Jimmie Law purchased a quarter section of fine land nine miles west of Monmouth for $1.25 an acre. Because of his generosity and kindness, Jimmie Law became well known throughout the country, and neighbors for miles around would send wayfarers to his home, confident that they would receive food and shelter there. It was perhaps this generosity that brought financial ruin to him, for it is said he never refused a friend a loan. As a result in 1879 he lost the farm where the family had lived so long, and the family was forced to seek a new home.

Hearing of opportunities in the Dakotas, Mr. Junkin decided to go there. In the spring of 1880 the Junkins and their Scotch neighbors, the McKinstrys, traveled to the end of the railroad, which at that time extended to a spot east of Mitchell So. Dak. The Junkins traded a horse and a small sum of money for a quarter section of land near the village of Firesteel. A sod house had already been built on the land, and the family occupied it during their brief stay there. It was much different from the spacious frame dwelling on the Illinois farm.

As soon as the family was settled, Mr. Junkin and his three sons made repeated attempts to dig a well, but were unsuccessful and had to haul water from an adjoining farm. During the summer the railroad was extended missing Firesteel. The father and sons helped move the houses to the town of Mitchell. Drought and hot winds destroyed their crops, and they were faced with a winter with no feed for their livestock. Therefore, Mr. Junkin thought it expedient to leave Dakota. In October 1880, they loaded their worldly goods into a covered wagon and herding their livestock before them, set out for Iowa. The oldest daughter, Sarah Agnes, and her husband were already living in Madison County, so they set that as their estimation.

Arriving in Madison County, Mr. Junkin and his sons rented 640 acres of land known as the Ritchie ranch. In 1885 George, the oldest son, married and moved to a farm of his own. In 1890 Hol and Frank Junkin purchased a farm four miles southwest of Earlham, and a few years later added an adjoining farm. James and Rebecca Junkin continued to live with Hol, and it was on this farm that James died at the age of 92 years.

Rebecca Jane Lowther, who James Law married in 1852, was born in Franklin County, Ohio, the daughter of Thompson Freeman and Sarah Black Lowther. A skilled stone mason, T.F. Lowther at age 21 eloped down the Ohio river on a flat boat with Sarah Black, daughter of John and Abigail Black, natives of Ireland. The young Lowthers remained in Ohio until 1835 when the moved to Illinois. For many years Mr. Lowther conducted a general store in Kirkwood.

Rebecca Jane, or "Becky Jane" as she was usually called, was 19 when she married James Law Junkin. She was a quiet and studious person, deeply interested in her home and family. She was devoutly religious, and in her declining years spent much time reading her Bible. While the family lived in Illinois, she was a member of the Pleasant Green Presbyterian church, and later of the Earlham church. She was an inveterate reader, and even though her formal education would doubtless be considered sketchy today, she was a well-informed person. Her grandchildren remember her as an excellent reader who was never too busy to read them a favorite story.

After the death of her husband in 1907, she continued to live with her son Holliday and daughter-in-law Margarete. It was at their home in Earlham that her death occurred.

Thompson and Sarah Lowther had five sons and one daughter besides Rebecca Jane. The eldest son James (14 Apr 1826-13 February 1888) assisted his father in the general store, and after T.F.'s death continued to operate it. The second son George Black died when five years old. Thomas Simms (13 Nov 1830-12 January 1910) went to Colorado and died at Cannon City, Colo. George William (14 Dec 1834-1902) also went west and prospected in California and Colorado. He died at French Gulch, Calif. Williston Wis had a bakery in Monmouth, Ill., and the other girl, Margaret Eliza, married Joshua Rankin and lived in Henderson County, Ill.

All the children of James Law and Rebecca Jane Lowther Junkin were born on the Warren County farm.

Eight children:

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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