Lexington family finds letter from 1861 in wall during house remodel


LEXINGTON, Va. – Home remodels always uncover the unexpected, but one Lexington family was quite surprised by what they found in the wall.

After taking down plaster to put up drywall, they discovered a letter from 1861 in between the studs.

The letter was written by Rev. William F. Junkin, chaplain in the confederate army and Stonewall Jackson's brother-in-law, to another soldier to encourage him during the war.
The letter was written by Rev. William F. Junkin, chaplain in the confederate army and Stonewall Jackson’s brother-in-law, to another soldier to encourage him during the war. (WSLS)

Wendy Orrison said after finding the folded letter, she took it to Washington and Lee University to see if someone could help her explain what she found.

“I think I realized how special it was when I got down to special collections (at Washington and Lee) and everyone stopped what they were doing and pushed their lunch aside and they were like, ‘Oh my gosh,’” Orrison said.

The letter was written by Rev. William F. Junkin, chaplain in the confederate army and Stonewall Jackson’s brother-in-law, to another soldier to encourage him during the war.

She says finding the letter and reading it has helped humanize history.

“This job that was going to be a quick month job tuned into a much bigger project and now I’m so glad,” said Orrison.

Orrison says she’s unsure what they’ll do with the letter, but feels a sense of responsibility to protect a part of history.

Copyright 2020 by WSLS 10 – All rights reserved.



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