30 May 2013

The Bundys of New Castle

Henry County Courthouse & Soldiers' Memorial
The Indiana High School Basketball Hall of Fame isn't the only thing in New Castle.  Spying the Henry County Courthouse from Highway 3, after we left the Hall, I asked my son if he wanted to drive up the hill to the downtown.  He said "sure".  As if he hasn't figured out that's an invitation for architecture viewing by his dad.

What a fantastic downtown New Castle has, and the courthouse is amazing too.  Unfortunately, being Good Friday, it appeared closed the day we visited.

My great x5 grandfather, Christopher Bundy, moved from North Carolina to Wayne County, Indiana in 1819.  In 1821 he purchased a tract of land next to the original plat of New Castle.  Bundy served in the American Revolution at the age of 19.  He was part of the large Quaker migration from the South to Indiana, ensuring the state's "free" status to the slavery question.

The Bundy name became inseparable from the town's history when one descendant, General Omar Bundy, had this read about him in the Congressional Record in 1940:

'Mr. Speaker,' said Mr. Springer, Congressman from the 10th Indiana District, 'I rise to report the death of one of our outstanding military geniuses, Major General Omar Bundy...A graduate of West Point in 1883, he afterward participated in many military expeditions of this country. In his early life he took part in the engagement with the Sioux Indians. In the first World War he commanded the 2nd Division and later the 6th and 7th Army Corps...'".

General Bundy became immortalized during World War 1 when he refused to obey the retreat orders given by his French superiors.  This is his now famous response:

'We regret being unable on this occasion to follow the counsel of our masters, the French. The American flag has been forced to retire; this is unendurable and none of our soldiers would understand their not being able to do whatever is necessary to re-establish a situation which is humiliating to us and unacceptable to our country's honor. We are going to attack...'"

Bundy was credited as the hero of the battle of Belleau Woods and thereby liberated Paris.  Two poems were written to commemorate this event:  Bundy's Men and Where Bundy Held the Paris Road.  The Major General Omar Bundy Auditorium in New Castle is named for him.  And for the record, I'm NOT related to Al Bundy, and hopefully not Ted Bundy either.

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