Junius A. (Ju), M.D.

Dr Junius Littlepage
Dr. Junius Littlepage, courtesy the King William Historical Society Museum

Junius Augustus Littlepage, the eldest child of Lewis and Caroline, was born 9 November, 1830.1Day of birth is mentioned in Caroline’s journal. Birth year from U.S. Census records which remain consistent during his lifetime. After likely attending the local Rumford Academy, he left in 1848 for Delaware College, now the University of Delaware, in Newark, Delaware. He kept a sparse diary for his first two sessions, which survives. He proceeded to study medicine at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, finishing in 1852.2Junius appears in the University of Pennsylvania Catalogue for the 1850-51 session and a notice of graduation appears in the Baltimore Sun, 26 July, 1852, page 4. Upon his return he became known within the family as “Dr. Ju.”

Junius married Margaret (Mag) Ellen Shook of Richmond, a younger sister of his close friend, John H. Shook, on 1 November 1852. As Junius’ sister Rose opens her 1853 diary two months later, New Year’s Day, Junius and Mag were living with his parents at Mount Hope, Junius, already practicing medicine in the community.3Virginia Historical Society, Mss5:1 L7333:1. Rose always refered to Junius as “Brother.” in her diary The residence on his father Lewis’ 160 acres property across from the courthouse, Oak Dale, was being readied for them. Rose later recorded the premature birth of their first child on 23 July. She called him Johnnie, but he would be named Herbert. He would die of Scarlet Fever four years later. The transition of city girl to farm wife may have been difficult for Mag; the relationship between Ju and Mag seemed star-crossed from the start.4The Birth Registers for King William County show Ju and Mag with five children, all sons, born between 1853 and 1863: Herbert (23 July, 1853 – May, 1857), John J. (11 June, 1855 – 1 August, 1856), Charles M. (July, 1858 – August 1859), Randolph Wirt (17 Sept 1859 – May, 1860), and Robert Stuart, “R.S.,” (10 Sept, 1862). In addition to the stresses of pregnancy and loss, both Rose and her mother expressed in their writings that Junius and Mag were not well matched. Nonetheless they persevered in at least one area of their mutual obligations.

In 1856 Junius appears in the KW Land Tax Book as owning Oak Dale, a home that still stands. That year he was appointed for a short tenure as Postmaster at King William Courthouse, a position his father once held.5Baltimore Sun, 1 May, 1856 By the 1860 U.S. Census J. A. and Mary E. Littlepage, 29 and 28, were living at Oak Dale, childless, with six slaves living in two buildings. He listed his occupation as Physician, but no doubt derived a good portion of his income from Oak Dale’s 160 acres. Son Stuart was born in 1862, after the Census enumeration. Caroline would hold dear her grandson’s visits to Woodbury.

Although Junius enlisted as a private in the Confederate Militia (Company D, 87th Regiment) on 16 December, 1861, he was almost immediately exempted from service by virtue of his occupation.6NARA M324. Compiled service records of Confederate soldiers from Virginia units, labeled with each soldier’s name, rank, and unit, with links to revealing documents about each soldier. Roll: 1050. Accessed at Fold3.com In the summer of 1864 he was conscripted; but again was soon exempted from service because he was a physician. He is listed in the KW conscription records as age 34, 5 feet, 7 inches tall, dark eyes, black hair and light complexion.71864 King William County Record Book held at the King William County Museum.

During the War Junius affirmed his partisan credentials by being “called to the chair” at an 1863 public meeting at the Courthouse which resolved continued support for the President of the Confederate States and their soldiers in the field, a lack of discouragement at “recent reverses,” and a call for an extra session of the Legislature.8Richmond Whig, 28 August, 1863, page 2.