J. Frank Junkins

MINERAL COUNTY WEST VIRGINIA – BIOS: JUNKINS, J. Frank
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Submitted to the West Virginia Biographies Project by:
Valerie & Tommy Crook
vfcrook@trellis.net
September 24, 1999
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The History of West Virginia, Old and New
Published 1923, The American Historical Society, Inc.,
Chicago and New York, Volume III,
pg. 262-263
Mineral County

J. FRANK JUNKINS, chairman of the Board of County
Commissioners of Mineral County, is one of the most pro-
gressive of the agriculturalists of this region. His finely-
improved farm in the Elk District being one of the most
valuable rural properties in this part of West Virginia. He
was born in New Creek District, Mineral County, January
31, 1872,. a son of Ephraim Junkins and grandson of John
Junkins, of Irish descent, who established his home in Mary-
land at an early date, but came to Mineral County in his
latter years, and here died. During many years of his life
he was a school-teacher, and he was a well-educated man.
Twice married, his son Ephraim was born of his second
union.

Ephraim Junkins, it is believed, was born in Maryland,
and following the close of the war of the ’60s he came
to Mineral County. Securing land in Elk District, he de-
voted himself to farming, but was a man of moderate cir-
cumstances, and worked hard to support his family. His
education was a limited one, and he never formed any fra-
ternal connections. During all of his mature years he was
a consistent member of the Methodist Episcopal Church,
and died firm in its faith when fifty-five years of age. In
politics he was a republican, but he did not enter the
contests for public honor.

The mother of J. Frank Junkins was Sarah (Harrison)
Junking, and she was a daughter of Nathan Harrison, and
was born in Mineral County, in 1841. Although now an
aged lady, she survives and is enjoying excellent health.
Her father left Virginia for West Virginia, and he was a
farmer all his life. Two of the brothers of Mrs. Junkins,
Reynolds and William Harrison, served in the Union army,
and received pensions from the Federal Government. They
were farmers of Mineral County, and died without issue.
Mrs. Junkins’ educational advantages were those afforded
the country girl of her generation and locality. She and
her husband became the parents of the following children:
Charles C., who is a farmer of New Creek District; Oliver
R., who is a farmer of Elk District; James Franklin, whose
name heads this review; John, who died when seventeen
years old; and Lucy Virginia, who married Henry Roberts,
a farmer of Welton District.

J. Frank Junkins was reared on his father’s farm and
attended the district schools. After attaining his majority
he began working for neighboring farmers, and continued in
this line until he was thirty. During these nine years he
had but two employers, and his wages ranged from $15 to
$20 per month. In spite of the small amount he received
he was thrifty and saved a considerable amount, having
in mind all the while the purchase of a home of his own.
This he was able to do when he ceased working for others,
acquiring ownership of the farm in Elk District which has
continued to be his home ever since. He has 628 acres of
very productive land, all paid for, on which he is carrying
on grain and stock raising. The original purchase was of
410 acres, but he and his wife have since added 218 acres
to their farm. The improvements made by Mr. Junkins are
many and include the remodeling of the house and the
erection of a barn 30 by 40 feet, with a mowroom for forty
tons or more of hay. His buildings are kept in fine repair,
his fences are good, and he has improved machinery and
appliances for doing his farm work. His stock shows the
effects of breeding up to a high standard of grades, of
which the Durham strain is his preference because of the
milk-producing qualities. Mr. Junkins has gone into sheep-
raising quite extensively, keeping to the Shropshire strain,
and he has found this the most profitable of his industries,
for sheep require less for upkeep and make two cash returns
each year. His profits from his sheep have played an
important part in his success as an agriculturalist. In
addition to his farm and stock interests Mr. Junkins was a
stockholder in the Siever Hardware Company of Keyser,
which business was wiped out in the disastrous fire in that
city in February, 1922.

Mr. Junkins is one of the most prominent republicans in
this part of the state, and cast his maiden presidential
vote for Major McKinley in 1896, since which time he has
remained faithful to his party’s candidates. Hia personal
success commended him for public service, and he was
strongly urged for some time to become a candidate for
county commissioner. Responding to these appeals, he
entered the race in 1916, defeated his five competitors for
the nomination, and won the election over the democratic
candidate by the normal republican majority. Sworn in as
commissioner in January, 1917, as the successor of J. R.
Bane, for the first two years he served on the board with
Alfred Ridgely and George Klenke. During the next two
years George T. Carskadon took Mr. Klenke’s place, and
the last two years Aaron Thrush took Mr. Ridgely’s place.
The most important work accomplished by the board during
Mr. Junkins’ term of office have been the building of the
New Creek “drive,” the Keyser-Piedmont Road, eight
miles of road grade from Blaine to the Northwestern Turn-
pike, and nearly six miles of grade from Ridgely toward
Patterson’s Creek.

Mr. Junkins married Miss Eliza Virginia Dixon, a daugh-
ter of Joseph and Amy (Bragg) Dixon. Joseph Dixon was
born in Pennsylvania, but following the close of the war
of the ’60s he came to West Virginia as a school-teacher,
and here met and married Amy Bragg. They spent the
remainder of their lives on their farm in Mineral County.
Mrs. Dixon was noted for her good spelling, and was a
school-teacher prior to her marriage. Spelling was one of
the branches in which she specialized, and was not satisfied
until she thoroughly grounded her pupils in it. Mr. Dixon
died in 1901, but she is still living, although over eighty
years of age. She and her husband had three children who
reached maturity, two of whom are now living, namely:
Albert C. Dixon, who lives in the Elk District; and Mrs.
Junkins, who was born April 7, 1875. Mr. and Mrs.
Junkins have a son, Albert Dixon, who was born April 7,
1901. He graduated from the Elk District High School,
and is now a farmer. There are two children, Bessie and
G. Richard, born of his marriage with Myrtle Dixon.

While J. Frank Junkins is not identified with any re-
ligious organization, he is a believer in the effectiveness of
the work of the Protestant churches, and is a liberal sup-
porter of all the denominations in his neighborhood, espe-
cially of the Methodist Episcopal, as Mrs. Junkins was
reared in its faith and is now a member of the local church.
Mr. Junkins’s success is but the natural outcome of his
industry, thrift and good management. He early learned
the value of money and how to invest it so as to yield a
profit. While he has been steadily adding to his material
prosperity, however, as the years have passed he has not
failed to also win the approval and gain the respect of his
neighbors, and is today recognized as one of the most repre-
sentative men of the county.