Biographical Sketch of Major Joseph McJunkin (1755-1846)

By Phil Norfleet


Major Joseph McJunkin was born on 22 June 1755 in Chester County, Pennsylvania (PA); he died 31 May 1846 in Union County, South Carolina (SC). He married Ann Thomas on 09 March 1779 in Ninety-Six District SC; Ann was the daughter of Colonel John Thomas and Jane Black. She was born 15 January 1757 in Chester County PA, and died 17 March 1826 in Union County SC.

Major McJunkin's Service in the Revolutionary War

Joseph McJunkin was a well known Revolutionary War soldier.  His Memoirs (actually a compilation by the Reverend James Hodge Saye) constitute a significant primary source for information concerning the Revolutionary War in the SC Backcountry.  During the Revolution, McJunkin took part in many battles and skirmishes in the SC Backcountry.  Based upon my analysis of Reverend Saye's Memoirs, I believe that the more significant campaigns and battles that Major McJunkin participated in, or was present at, include the following:

1.  Cherokee Campaign of 1776

2.  Huck's Defeat - 12 July 1780

3.  Battle of Musgrove's Mill - 18 August 1780

4.  Battle of Blackstock's - 20 November 1780

5.  Battle of Hammond's Store - 30 December 1780

6.  Battle of Cowpens - 17 January 1781

7.  Battle of Mudlick Creek - 07 March 1781 (McJunkin was wounded just after this engagement.)

8.  Siege of Ninety-Six - 22 May to19 June 1781

Major McJunkin was taken prisoner by a party of Tories at his father's house (at Tinker's Creek) on 08 May 1781.  He was taken to the British Star Fort at Ninety-Six where he was imprisoned.  At Ninety-Six, he was tried by court martial (on about 12 May) but was acquitted.  General Robert Cunningham was the president of the Court that acquitted him.  Although acquitted, McJunkin was sentenced to close confinement as a prisoner of war.  However, on or about 20 May 1781, Major McJunkin was paroled, along with some other Whigs, and allowed to return home.  As his party of parolees arrived at the Saluda River, they were taken by one of General Greene's scouting parties and sent to Greene's headquarters.  Upon consultation with Colonel Thomas Brandon, McJunkin joined Green's army and returned to Ninety-Six.  General Greene put the Star Fort under siege from 22 May until 19 June 1781.  The siege was unsuccessful and, just prior to lifting the siege, McJunkin was permitted to return to his home.  As he had been partially disabled by the wound he received just after the Battle of Mudlick Creek (on 7 March 1781), McJunkin took no part in the remaining military activities of the War.

Land Transactions of Joseph McJunkin

Based on a desk review of published land records for Union County SC for the period 1785-1820, Joseph McJunkin engaged in the following land transactions:

02 October 1787:  Jean McJunkin of SC conveys to Joseph McJunkin of SC, for 20, a 40-acre tract of land on Tinker Creek, a branch of Tygar River in Union County SC; land was originally granted to Jean McJunkin on 3 April 1786.  [Union County SC Deed Book B, page 232]

13 December 1787:  David Dixon of York County SC conveys to Joseph McJunkin of Union County SC, for $300, a 300-acre tract of land originally granted to David Dixon by SC on 14 August 1775.  Witnesses were Samuel McJunkin and Philip Shavertaker.  Samuel McJunkin is probably Joseph McJunkin's father. [Union County Deed Book B, pages 159-160]

28 March 1788:  Joseph McJunkin conveys to Daniel McJunkin, both of Union County SC, for $100, a 150-acre tract of land located on both sides of Tinker Creek adjacent to an old survey now the property of Joseph McJunkin (part of a tract of 300 acres.  Witnesses were John Chesney, William Thomas and W. D. Thomas.  Daniel McJunkin was the younger brother of Joseph McJunkin. Also, note that John Chesney was the brother of the noted Loyalist, Alexander Chesney. [Union County SC Deed Book B, page 81-82]

20 June 1789:  Samuel Scotcher of Edgefield County SC conveys to Joseph McJunkin of Union County SC, for 50, a 150-acre tract of land on Tygar River.  Witnesses were John Sanders and Massa Sanders. [Union County SC Deed Book B, pages 190-191]

18 February 1792:  Daniel McJunkin of Greenville County SC conveys to Joseph McJunkin of Union County SC, for 7, a 150-acre tract of land in Union County on Tinker Creek, part of a 300-acre grant originally granted to David Dixon.  Witnesses were William Bogan and James Hall.  Both Daniel McJunkin and his wife, Jane McJunkin, sign the deed. This is the same land that Joseph had sold to Daniel McJunkin on 28 March 1788.  By 1792, Daniel had relocated to Greenville County. Also, note that Daniel's wife, Jane, was the sister of the Loyalist Alexander Chesney.  [Union County SC Deed Book C, pages 99-100]

04 January 1796:  William Goldsmith of Union County SC conveys to Joseph McJunkin of Union County SC, for 12, a 100-acre tract of land on Morris's Branch.  Witnesses were John McJunkin, Thomas Clark and Jesse Clark.  [Union County SC Deed Book D, pages 325-326]

12 March 1801:  Thomas Blasingame conveys to Joseph McJunkin, both of Union County SC, for $60, lot #50 in Town of Union.  Witnesses to sale were Samuel Harlan and Micajah Drake.  [Union County SC Deed Book G, pages 150-151]

17 June 1803:  Joseph McJunkin of Union County SC conveys to his son Daniel McJunkin of Union County SC, for natural love and affection, a part of the 300 acres on which the said Joseph McJunkin now lives, said 300 acres had been granted to David Dickson and later sold to Joseph McJunkin.  Witnesses to the transaction were Jasper Saunders and Daniel Comer.  [Union County SC Deed Book H, pages 36-37]

04 December 1804:  Robert Milhouse of Union County SC conveys to Joseph McJunkin of Union County SC, for $200, 251 acres on "small drafts of Tinkers Creek of Tygar River" adjacent lands of Henry Milhouse et al.  Witness were Johnn McNeal and Isaac Toomer.  [Union County SC Deed Book H, pages 417-418]

04 December 1804:  Henry Milhouse of Union County SC conveys to Joseph McJunkin of Union County SC, for $1500, two tracts of land totaling 308 acres located on Tinkers Creek. Witnesses were John McNeal and Isaac Toomer.  [Union County SC Deed Book H, pages 418-419]

01 January 1808:  Samuel McJunkin to Joseph McJunkin , both of Union County SC, for $200, 100 acres that is part of a 400-acre tract granted to said Samuel McJunkin in 1785, adjacent to land originally granted to David Dixon and adjacent to lane of Joseph McJunkin and Robert Beatty.  Witnesses were Samuel Otterson and Andrew Culbertson.    [Union County SC Deed Book I, pages 375-376]

02 January 1808:  Joseph McJunkin relinquishes all claims to 100 acres of land "whereon my father Samuel McJunkin lives."  Witnesses were Samuel Otterson and Joshua F. Comer.  [Union County SC Deed Book I, page 470]

17 March 1808: Samuel McJunkin of Union County SC conveys to Robert Beatty of Union County SC, for $2000, a 150-acre tract of land originally granted to Samuel McJunkin on 13 February 1768;  However, a sixteen foot square of land is reserved "whereupon some of my family & some of the family of Joseph McJunkin is interred"  Also, a part of two other tracts of land granted to Samuel McJunkin: one of 400 acres in 1785 and one acquired on 4 December 1786 adjacent Daniel Comer.  Witnesses were Samuel Otterson, John Cunningham and John Moore.  Note that Joseph McJunkin was a son of Samuel McJunkin and Robert Beatty was a son-in-law of Samuel. The sale occurred just before Samuel McJunkin set out to emigrate to Indiana to join one of his other sons, John McJunkin.  Unfortunately, Samuel died while on the trail - on 25 April 1808.  [Union County Deed Book I, pages 461-462]

26 May 1814:  Caleb Frazer of Union County SC conveys to Joseph McJunkin of Union County SC, for $250, a 220-acre tract of land on a branch of Tinker Creek, part of a tract originally granted to Daniel McJunkin and afterward sold to Thomas Clark and then by the said Clark sold to the said Caleb Frazer.  Witnesses were Samuel McJunkin and Henry D. Vanlew.  [Union County SC Deed Book M, page 180]

Major McJunkin's Life After the Revolution

Major McJunkin and his wife, Ann Thomas, remained in the Tinker's Creek region for the remainder of their lives.  In 1785, this area became a part of Union County.  In about the year 1837, Major McJunkin wrote his famous Memoirs.  Ann Thomas McJunkin died on17 March 1826. Joseph McJunkin died intestate on 31 May 1846. They are both buried in the McJunkin Cemetery, which is located about 6 miles from the town of Union, about a mile from the point where SR163 intersects with US Highway 176 in Union County SC.

Parents of Major Joseph McJunkin

Major Joseph McJunkin was of Scotch-Irish heritage. His father was Samuel McJunkin, who was born about 1725 in County Tyrone, Ulster Province, Ireland.  Samuel died on 25 April 1808 in Christian County KY. Samuel married Ann Bogan 09 September 1754 in Wilmington, Delaware. She was born about 1730 in Pennsylvania Colony; she died in 1781 in South Carolina.

Samuel McJunkin purportedly migrated to America in about 1740; he married Ann Bogan at Holy Trinity Church in Wilmington, Delaware on 9 September 1754. Major Joseph McJunkin, Samuel's eldest son, was born in Chester County PA on 22 June 1755.

To avoid Indian problems along the Pennsylvania frontier, the McJunkin family migrated to South Carolina, arriving in the Tinker Creek area of what is now Union County SC on 24 December 1755. All of Samuel's other children, starting with Daniel, were born in this area of South Carolina Colony. A number of other Scotch-Irish families migrated to South Carolina with the McJunkins, including the Brandons, Bogans, Youngs, Steens and Kennedys.

The earliest mention of Samuel McJunkin, Sr. in the official records of South Carolina, that I have been able to find, is when he surveyed a 150-acre tract of land located on Tinker Creek, on 23 May 1765. He received a patent for this land on 13 February 1768.

Samuel McJunkin, Sr. remained in the Tinker Creek area of Union County SC until the year 1808.  On 17 March 1808 (see above), the old man sold his property to his son-in-law, Captain Robert Beatty and set out with a group of other emigrants to join his son, John McJunkin, in Indiana.  Unfortunately, while on the trail, Samuel became ill and died in Christian County KY on 25 April 1808.

Connection of Samuel McJunkin's Family with John Mayfield the Tory

It is interesting to note that a certain John Mayfield also received a patent for 100 acres on Broad River on 13 February 1768. During the Revolution, this same John Mayfield became a Loyalist leader who was killed by the Whigs in 1782. I do not believe that there was then any connection between this John Mayfield and the McJunkins at this early date. Tinker Creek and Mayfield's grant on Broad River are a considerable distance apart (at least one day's ride on horseback). In point of fact, the Governor of the Province signed a large number of grants on that date - the McJunkin Grant and the Mayfield Grant just happened to be in the same group. My personal view is that the Mayfields and the McJunkins did not know each other socially until members of both families removed to the Upper Saluda River area in Greenville County after the end of the Revolution. Also, the Mayfields in the Upper Saluda area, e. g., Micajah, Isaac, Randolph, Jesse, etc. were members of a different branch of the Mayfield family than the John Mayfield who patented land on Broad River in 1767.

Siblings of Major Joseph McJunkin

Major Joseph McJunkin had at least four brothers and three sisters. They were the younger children of Samuel McJunkin and Ann Bogan and were all born in the Ninety-Six Judicial District of South Carolina Colony.  They are:

1.  Anne (Nancy) McJunkin. She married Daniel Conner.

2.  Jane McJunkin.

3.  John McJunkin.

4.  Daniel McJunkin was born on 30 November 1756 in South Carolina; he died on 20 March 1825 in Greenville County SC. He married Jane Chesney 28 February 1782 in Ninety-Six Judicial District, South Carolina; Jane was born on 15 September 1763 in County Antrim, Ulster Province, Ireland; she died on 27 August 1841 in Greenville County SC.

It should be noted that Jane Chesney was the sister of the well known Loyalist leader, Alexander Chesney. Alexander Chesney's "Journal" is a primary source of information on the Revolutionary War in the SC Backcountry.  My understanding is that there was much consternation in the McJunkin family, particularly from Daniel's brother, Major Joseph McJunkin, when Daniel married the sister of a leading Tory. At the time, in 1782, the Revolution was virtually over, but ill feeling between the loyalists and rebels lasted for many years after the end of the War.  Jane Chesney's family had arrived in South Carolina from Ulster Province, Ireland, in October 1772.  After a few months search for good land, the family settled on a 400-acre tract on the north side of Pacolet River near Grindal Shoals, about 12 miles from where the Pacolet empties into the Broad River. At the time, this land was in the Ninety-Six Judicial District of SC, in that part which, after the Revolution, became Union County.

5.  Samuel McJunkin was born about 1759; he died on 31 October 1841 in Greenville County SC. He married Sarah Elizabeth Brumette.

This Samuel McJunkin died testate in 1841. His will, dated 20 July 1839, was entered into probate in Greenville County SC on 6 Dec 1841. In the will, Samuel mentions his wife, Sarah; his daughters, Polly Cobb and Nancy Mayfield; and his grandson, Samuel Mayfield.  David Blythe and Absolom Blythe are named as executors. [See Greenville County SC Will Book C, pages 73-75.] 

Samuel's daughter, Nancy Mayfield, named in the above cited will, had married Pearson Brummett Mayfield (1789-1832) in about 1811.  Pearson Mayfield was the son of Jesse Mayfield (ca. 1765-1833) of Greenville County SC and McMinn County TN.

6.  Margaret McJunkin was born about 1760. She married Captain Robert Beatty.

7.  Robert McJunkin was born about 1762 in South Carolina; he died in June 1780 in South Carolina.

Children of Major Joseph McJunkin

Major McJunkin and his wife, Ann Thomas, had at least eleven children as follows:

1.  Samuel McJunkin was born on 25 January 1780 in Ninety-Six District SC; he died 01 June 1815 in Union County SC. He married Jemima Glenn Saunders in about 1803 in South Carolina; she was born in May 1783 in Goochland County VA.

This Samuel McJunkin died in Union County SC, on or about 1 June 1815, in a rather bizarre manner.  The county coroner's inquest stated the following:

"Union District - 1 June 1815.

"An inquest taken before William Kennedy, Coroner, upon the dead body of Capt. Samuel McJunkin lying dead at his own dwelling house upon the oaths of twelve good and lawful men being duly sworn and charged. Saith that the said Samuel McJunkin came to his death according to all evidence and circumstance that came before them by the stroke of an axe glanced out of a Negro man's hand, stoke him under the chin and split him upward which was the cause of his death. Negro man name Dick belonging to said McJunkin. ... " [See "Union County Coroner's Inquisitions 1806-1869," page 205.]

2.  Ann Jane McJunkin was born on 16 November 1782.

3.  John Thomas McJunkin was born on 29 January 1785.

4.  Abraham McJunkin was born on 27 February 1787.

5.  William Humphries McJunkin was born on 16 January 1789.

6.  Joseph McJunkin was born on 08 October 1791.

7.  James Black McJunkin was born on 20 November 1793.

8.  Benjamin McJunkin was born on 20 October 1796.

9.  Amelia Sarah McJunkin was born on 31 May 1799.

10. David W. McJunkin was born on 02 May 1801.

11. Davis L. McJunkin was born on 16 February 1803.

Other Pages at this Web Site Associated with Major Joseph McJunkin

McJunkin Family Genealogy Report

Memoirs of Major Joseph McJunkin

McJunkin Graveyard in Union County SC

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