Thursday, December 31, 2009

Happy New Year

Wishing all of you a very happy and prosperous New Year.

Margaret Junkin Preston was the sister of Elinore Junkin Jackson, the first wife of Thomas Jonathan "Stonewall" Jackson. Elinore met Jackson while he was a professor of natural and experimental philosophy and artillery tactics at the Virginia Military Institute and married him in August of 1853.

The newlyweds set up housekeeping with Elinore's family on the campus of Washington College, where Elinore and Margaret's father, the Rev. Dr. George Junkin, was president. Margaret formed an immediate attachment to her sister's new husband and remained close to him even after Elinore died in childbirth 14 months later. Margaret eventually married a VMI professor, J.L.T. Preston, in 1857, the same year that Jackson entered into his second marriage with Mary Anna Morrison.

When the War Between the States broke out, Dr. Junkin , a staunch Unionist, left Lexington and returned to his former home up north. Margaret remained loyal to the Southern cause and stayed with her husband in Lexington. She went on to achieve some postwar reknown as a poet and has been anthologized in several early 20th century collections of Southern poetry.


by Margaret Junkin Preston (1820-1897)

We do accept thee, heavenly Peace!
Albeit thou comest in a guise
Unlooked for--undesired, our eyes
Welcome through tears the sweet release
From war, and woe, and want,--surcease,
For which we bless thee, blessed Peace!

We lift our foreheads from the dust;
And as we meet thy brow's clear calm,
There falls a freshening sense of balm
Upon our spirits. Fear--distrust--
The hopeless present on us thrust--
We'll meet them as we can, and must.

War has not wholly wrecked us; still
Strong hands, brave hearts, high souls are ours--
Proud consciousness of quenchless powers--
A Past whose memory makes us thrill--
Futures uncharactered, to fill
With heroisms--if we will.

Then courage, brothers!--Though each breast
Feel oft the rankling thorn, despair,
That failure plants so sharply there--
No pain, no pang shall be confest:
We'll work and watch the brightening west,
And leave to God and Heaven, the rest.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009


Well, I have submitted by research to AMU. Now I have only one thing on my plate: working with Deeds Publishing to come up with a good marketable print edition. Then, towards the end of January, I should hear about next year's grant.

More news when it is available.

Keep History Alive!