Biography of William W. Junkin
Jefferson County, IA Biographies





The name of William Wallace Junkin is deeply inscribed upon the pages of Iowa's history and honor and respect are accorded him whose work in the editorial field, in the government service and in every connection has been so directly beneficial to the state and of such permanent usefulness. Mr. Junking became a resident of Iowa when it was still under territorial organization, arriving in the year 1843. He was then a lad of twelve years, his birth having occurred in Wheeling, West Virginia, January 26, 1831. His parents were Joseph and Sarah (Rambo) Junkin, both of whom were natives of Pennsylvania, the former born October 20, 1788, and the latter on the 3d of June, 1790. They were married on the loth of December, 1808, and became the parents of six sons and five daughters. David Finley, the eldest, who was born February 12, 1810, was married November 13, 1834, to Harriet Walker, and died September 8, 1844. Eleanor. born September 24, 1811, was the wife of James Gibson and died in 1848. Joseph, born May 2, 1813, passed away on the 14th of August of the following year. Joseph, the second of the name, born February 10, 1815, was married November 8, 1836, to Mary M. Cotton and died recently at Red Oak, Iowa. Nancy Galloway was married May 3, 1836, to Robert S. Hunter and resides in New Castle, Pennsylvania. John George, born February to, 1819, died October 19, 1837. Sarah Margaret, who was born June 16, 1821, became the wife of George W. Clutter, who served as a captain in the Mexican war and died July 16, 1857, after which his widow, on the 21st of September, 1865, became the wife of the Rev. Frederick A. Shearer and is now living in Colfax, Iowa. Mary B. F., born February 24, 1824, died June 18, 1833. Narcissa Doddridge, born April 2, 1826, was married March I, 1849, to James Shriver Beck, of Fairfield, Iowa. Matthew Johnson, born May 16, 1829, died a few years ago in Fairfield. He had been married on the t5th of March, 1855, to Ellen E. Moorman who passed away in 1869. The other member of the family is William Wallace Junkin, of this review. The father died January 22, 1857, in Fairfield, where the mother also passed away on the 17th of April, 1865.

The family had become residents of Iowa in the spring of 1843, settling first in Lee county, whence they removed the following year to Louisa county. In 1845 they came to Jefferson county and two years afterward took up their abode in Fairfield. Before coming to this state, when a lad of about ten years, William W. Junking had been employed in a printing office, working as typesetter on the Argus of Wheeling, West Virginia. After coming to Fairfield he secured a position in the office of the Iowa Sentinel which that year was established in this city by A. R. Sparks. In the summer of 1848 the owner of the paper sold out to Ezra Brown and R. B. Pope and thus Mr. Junkin was thrown out of employment, but through. the influence of Mr. Sparks he secured a position under Colonel Barlow Granger, of Des Moines, whom he assisted in issuing the first number of the Star in June, 1848, this being the first paper printed in the capital city. After a residence of several months in Des Moines Mr. Junkin returned to Fairfield. During the winter of 1848-9, however, he was employed in the office of the Ottumwa Courier which was published by Street & Warden, and in November, 1849, was employed as a compositor on the Fairfield Ledger which had been established a short time before by Orlando McCraney. Mr. Junkin occupied his position on the Ledger until the spring of 1851, when he went to Richmond, Virginia, where he was employed for two years in the state printing office. He had become attached to the west, however, and on the t6th of May, 1853, returned to Fairfield where ten days later he purchased a half interest in the Ledger, then owned by A. R. Fulton, the purchase price being four hundred and sixty dollars. Thus for the first time he became part owner of a newspaper. The business connection was continued until August 14, 1854, when Mr. Junkin became sole proprietor. The paper has since been published by members of the family although at different times Mr. Junkin was associated with different partners. On the 8th of August, 1868, he formed a partnership with Ralph Robinson, receiving twenty five hundred dollars for a half interest in the office. This relationship was maintained until January 5, 1875, when Mr. Robinson retired and owing to the increase in circulation and the improvements made in the office he was able to secure forty five hundred dollars for his share in the business. At that time Charles M. Junkin, the eldest son of William W. Junkin, became manager of the paper and brought with him to this new connection not only the experience he had acquired under the careful direction of his father but also the knowledge gained while in the government printing office in Washington, D. C. On the 26th of May, 1878, he was admitted to a partnership under the firm style of W. W. & C. M. Junkin. He is still one of the owners of the Fairfield Ledger and has raised it to a high standard of newspaper publication.

While private business interests have made large demand upon the time and energies of William Wallace Junkin he has yet found opportunity for cooperation in the public life of the community. On the 22d of April, 1889, he was appointed inspector of Indian agencies under the administration of Benjamin Harrison, being one of five employed in that department of public service. His political allegiance had been given to the republican party since age conferred upon him the right of franchise and his efforts in its behalf were of a character which contributed largely to its local success. He stands for progress and improvement along all lines, was active in the construction of the new Methodist Episcopal church, has been a liberal contributor to the support of the public library and did much to encourage the building of railroads and thereby advance the interests of the state.

On the 14th of September, 1854, Mr. Junkin was united in marriage to Miss Elizabeth Patrick, a daughter of William and Amy (Morris) Patrick. Mrs. Junkin was born in Ross county, Ohio, and was brought to Fairfield county by her parents in 1847. She became, by her marriage, the mother of eight children, the eldest of whom, Charles Monroe, is mentioned elsewhere in this volume. May, born August 19, 1856, was married on the 16th of May, 1877, to Nathaniel McGiffin and resided for a time in Montana but is now deceased. Gertrude, born September 7, 1858, was married January 3, 1878, to W. W. McCracken, president of the Ravalli County Bank at Hamilton, Montana. Virginia, a twin sister of Gertrude, is the wife of J. B. Swinburne, a resident of Washington, D. C. Amy, born February 5, 1862, is the wife of the Rev. J. F. Hintshouse, now of Fairfield, Iowa. William David, born April 14, 1864, is now in partnership with his brothers in the ownership of five newspapers of Iowa. Paul Sheridan, born August 12, 1867, is now publishing the Creston (Iowa) Advertiser-Gazette and is a member of the firm in which his brothers are his partners. Robert Tupper was born June 23, 1871, and died in 1925.

Such in brief is the life history of William Wallace Junkin, whose residence in this state, covering a period of sixty eight years, well entitles him to mention in this volume, for he is one of the pioneers of Iowa and the active and helpful part which he has borne in matters of citizenship indicates his public spirited devotion to the general good.

From:
History of Jefferson County, Iowa
A Record of Settlement, Organizatin,
Progress and Achievement Vol II
BY: Charles J. Fulton
The S. J. Clarke Publishing Co.
Chiago 1914


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