BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH OF MARTIN LEX BUNDY
PIONEER, LEGISLATOR, JUDGE, MAJOR AND BREVET LIEUTENANT
COLONEL U.S.V.

Henry county, Indiana may feel proud of the record of her many prominent
citizens, some to the manor born, others whose early years and subsequent
training to careers of usefulness entitle her to claim them a properly her own,
though born elsewhere.  Of the latter is Martin Lex Bundy.  Though born in
Randolf County, North Carolina, November 11, 1817, he was reared by his
grandfather, Christopher Bundy, who in 1818 came to Indiana and in the spring
of 1821 purchased a farm adjoining the tract on which New Castle was
afterward located.  The grandfather died in 1834 at Salisbury, the old county
seat of Wayne County.  Notwithstanding his being a Quaker, grandfather Bundy
served as a soldier throughout the Revolutionary War for Independence, and
reared his grandson, the subject, to a firm and solid belief in the principles of
universal liberty and love of country.  The boyhood days of Martin L. differed
but little from the average youth of that early period.  School privileges were not
of the best as  compared with our present advanced system of public instruction,
and the boy, who then progressed in his studies beyond the average, was spurred
to increased activity by superior home influences that brought out his ambition to
achieve a place among the best and ablest men whose lives and records become
a proper and worthy standard for emulation.  With noble aspirations and an
inherent determination to succeed, he applied himself to his studies and after
completing the common schools, studied under the private tuition of Judge John
Davis, of Madison county.  He then spent a brief term at Miami University, then
under the presidency of R. H. Bishop, D.D., who, conceiving a strong liking for
his pupil, advanced him to private instruction.  The difficulties which beset his
pathway to a higher education were innumerable.  There was no father's or
benefactor's  purse upon which to draw for expenses; he was obliged to defray
them from the slender earnings made under difficulties that would have
discouraged one less determined.  Before he became a pupil of Dr. Bishop he
was employed by William Silver, who kept a store at New Castle.  This
gentleman had secured  a star-route mail contract between Centreville and
Noblesville, via New Castle, and young Bundy was employed to ride the route
horseback.  In those days express companies were unknown.  Centreville was an
important, thriving place of business, Middletown, a mere hamlet, and Anderson
could not boast of a population to exceed one hundred.  R.N. Williams was the
chief factotum in official life, holding all the offices.  General Stevenson was
county clerk, recorder and postmaster at Noblesville.  Hence young  Bundy's
efforts to climb the ladder to fame and position were not supported by a very
alluring prospect.  The late Henry Shroyer, a saddler by trade, who died in June,
1902, at ninety two years of age, was the only man living in late years who knew
young  Bundy when carrying the mail between Middletown and Noblesville in
1835.  General Stevenson was a subscriber for a Philadelphia paper, and when
the youthful mail carrier reached a country office, once each week, he was
questioned as to the news; finally he would take out Stevenson's paper and read
it to the assembly.  Those were stirring days in congress and news from the
national capital was eagerly sought.  It was during the last half of Jackson's
administration, when men like Webster, Clay, Calhoun and Hayne were
prominent figures in political debate, and impassioned oratory commanded the
highest admiration of the people.  For the services he thus rendered the
contractor in carrying the mail he received five dollars per month and board.  
He often refers to that period as the “happiest year of my life”.  It required five
days to make the round trip.  As the chief disseminator of news he became very
widely and favorably known by the families along the entire route, and he was
often called upon to make purchases for the good housewives and daughters who
could not leave home to go on a “shopping” tour.  Often did he purchase a dress
pattern, sometimes in compliance with instructions, and when that could not be
done would select according to his own judgment, almost invariable pleasing
the lady who desired the goods.  In this way, and through their appreciation of
his service, he added to his earnings, which he carefully saved.

From Pendleton to Noblesville the distance was fourteen miles, seven of which
were through a dense forest.  It was no uncommon sight to see deer and other
wild animals crossing the road in the forest, and wolves were not at all scarce,
but young Bundy was never molested.  In June, 1837, he was made deputy
recorder under Dr. Reed, who had been elected to the office.  This enabled him
to resume his studies, giving a full year at Oxford in 1838.  Among his
classmates were John Bishop, of Miami University, George L. Andrews and M.
D. LaPorte.  He remained in the recorder's office until 1841, and became
favorably and well known among the prominent men of the county , who thus
saw in the hard working, studious youth the able and useful man of the future.  
He began the study of law in the office and under the tutorship of Judge Jon T.
Elliott, his brother in law, and applied himself so diligently to his studies that he
was admitted to the bar a year later, 1842.  Judge Bundy, referring to those days
of study, feels that he was particularly fortunate in being able to prepare himself
under Judge Elliott, who afterward was upon the circuit bench for twenty five
years in the Eighth Judicial District, and later elevated to the supreme bench,
where he served for six years.  The district bar of that period was noted for its
many able representatives, among whom are mentioned Judge Elliott, already
referred to; General William Grose, who died five years ago (1901);  Joshua H.
Mellett, Smith and Samuel W. Parker, all of whom became prominent in other
counties.  Grose and Mellett entered into practice in 1845.  Mr. Bundy did not
give his entire time to his profession after admission to the bar.  He was elected
county treasurer in 1844, serving a term of three years, and, declining a
renomination, he returned to the bar and with renewed zeal, although business
was not brisk in the courts at that time.  Such men as would sit for a week
without a case.  Judge Perry, of Richmond, who died recently at an advanced
age, was then upon the bench. The general practice was all under the common
law, and the In diana Reports consisted of but four volumes.  Mr. Bundy was
very popular with the older members of the bar, and the cordial, friendly
relations thus sustained greatly assisted him.  He devoted his entire energies to
the practice, and was a close attendant at the sessions of the court throughout the
entire circuit.  The work of those days was replete with incidents an the school
of practice and association productive of much good.  Sometimes he would be
called upon to sit as master in chancery to hear some important case, the next
day conducting an action in law.  His close attention to the interests of his
clients during the first ten or twelve years of his practice insured him a good
living, although his family was a large one.

Judge Bundy, while not a politician in the common application of the term, was
a strong admirer of Henry Clay and was quite active in advancing the cause of
the Whig party.  In 1848 he was delegate to the Philadelphia convention which
nominated Zachery Taylor for the presidency.  He gave him a most cordial
support after the nomination was made, but his preference for the Great
Commoner was sincere, and his zeal unabated throughout the entire session of
the convention.  The same year he was elected to the legislature and served with
much credit in that body until the closing session of 1849.  Three years later he
was elected judge of the court of commons pleas, and re-elected in 1856.

Like a large majority of the  old-line Whigs, Judge Bundy was among those who
saw the necessity for a new party, and on the organization of the Republican
party he cordially gave his assistance to the movement.  He formed the
acquaintance of many representative men at the Philadelphia convention, in
1848, among the number being John C. Fremont, and he was a strong admirer of
the great “Pathfinder.”  The Judge was a delegate to the state convention in
1856, and by that body was chosen to represent the party at the Philadelphia
convention of that year, earnestly supporting Fremont for the nomination.  He
again met General Fremont and family, and there received from the hands of the
General's wife, Jesse (Benton) Fremont, a copy of the distinguished General's
life.  At the expiration of his second term as judge, in 1860, he was again
elected representative to the legislature.  He was chosen alternate to Colonel
Miles Murphey, delegate to the Chicago National Republican Convention in
1860, which nominated the immortal Lincoln for President.  In 1861 when a
United States senator was to be chosen, Judge Bundy made the presentation
speech which resulted in the nomination of Henry S. Lane, whose record in the
United States senate during the memorable days of the Civil War is still
gratefully remembered by the old soldiers and representative men of that
period.  During that almost disheartening period, Governor Morton had no more
able or hearty supporter than Judge Bundy, who enjoyed his confidence  and
friendship throughout the terrible struggle.  In August, 1861, in recognition of his
ability, President Lincoln tendered him the appointment of paymaster in the
army, which he accepted, remaining in the service until the Spring of 1866,
when he resigned and was immediately commissioned Lieutenant Colonel by
brevet “for faithful and meritorious service.”  While paymaster Judge Bundy
paid out in round numbers twenty five million dollars for the government.  He
was stationed with Headquarters at St. Louis, Missouri; again at Louisville,
Kentucky, and subsequently at Indianapolis, Chicago and Detroit.

In 1864, Judge Bundy organized the First National Bank of New Castle, of
which he was elected president, continuing in that capacity for ten years.  In
1874 he organized the Bundy National Bank, of which he was also president
until December, 1877, when he retired.  In 1868 Judge Bundy was appointed by
the Secretary of the United States Treasury, national bank examiner for the State
of Indiana, and served until his resignation in 1874.  With such ability and
faithfulness had he performed the duties incident to the position, that Secretary
Sherman strenuously urged his acceptance of the appointment of examiner of
national banks for Alabama and Tennessee, and he again entered the service of
the government, holding the position until the winter of 1879.  Few men have
filled so creditably as many important stations in public life, and the record is
one to which he and his children can refer with pride.  The magnitude of the
work while examiner for Indiana may be better understood by saying that the
number of banks which required his supervision was one hundred, and all this in
connection with his private interests required a comprehensive knowledge of
almost innumerable details of procedure that are beyond the capability of the
average man.  The Judge was also interested in the construction of the New
Castle and Richmond railroad, now a part of the Pennsylvania system.  He was
its president and a director, and is the only member now living of the directory
at that time.  So thorough was his knowledge of any class of business to which
he gave his thought and energy that he has recently been consulted by officers of
the Pennsylvania road touching matters of contracts, etc. made while he was
president.

Judge Bundy was married December 6, 1839, to Amanda Elliott, and for many
years they celebrated the anniversary of that event; on the the 6th of December,
1901, the sixty second was celebrated.  No event of a similar character is
known in Henry County, and it is more than probable there are few to be found
in the state.  Amanda Elliott was born in Wayne county, April 7, 1821, and died
at New Castle, Indiana, July 20, 1903.  Two days later her remains were
interred in South Mound Cemetery.  She was the daughter of Abraham and Jane
Elliott, the latter a victim of the cholera scourge of 1833.  Abraham Elliott was
one of the earliest lawyers of Henry County and died in 1848.  Judge Bundy
married early in life, being but twenty two years of age and his wife barely
eighteen.  To Judge Bundy and his wife were born ten children, eight of whom
are living:  Eugene H. was judge of the Henry Circuit Court over eight years;  
Loring is editor of the Examiner at Connersville;  Martin L. Jr. holds a position
in the Indian Office, Department of the Interior, at Washington D.C.;  James P. is
a merchant, doing business in the State of Washington;  Omar, who graduated
from West Point in 1882, is a major in the Sixth U.S. Infantry, now stationed at
Fort Leavenworth, Kansas.  Elsewhere in this history will be found a complete
statement of his military services to date;  Olivia Jane is the widow of James L.
Peed, a former merchant of Elwood;  Emma H. is the wife of David W.
Chambers, an attorney of New Castle;  Lillian is the wife of William H.
Bouslog, residents of Bay St. Louis, Hancock County, Mississippi.

The fraternal relations of Judge Bundy are exemplified in the Grand Army of the
Republic.  He always when possible, attends the reunion.  He was present at the
encampment at Milwaukee, at Indianapolis and at the recent session held at
Detroit.  Religiously, his early inclinations were toward the Society of Friends.  
His wife was a devoted member of the Methodist Episcopal Church.

In recapitulation of the life and service of Judge Bundy, a brief summary is made
because the life history of such a man could only be given in a volume equal to
the size of this work, of several hundred pages.  Commencing as a poor boy and
bereft of parents at an early day, and later of the grandfather who loved him as a
son, he was forced to make his way in the world unaided except by those
principles of integrity and determination which came to him as a heritage and
stimulated him during the life of his grandfather.  From a rider of a star route in
the mail service, he worked his way upward until he became a prominent young
attorney and treasurer of his county; judge of the circuit court of his district; a
representative in the general assembly of his adopted state; an honored and
prominent official of the government during the dark days of the Civil War; an
adjuster and examiner of our national system of finance in its operation in the
states, and the head of banking institutions with highest reputation for legitimate
and honorable dealing and was an active promoter of private institutions and
corporations in the business world that have done much to advance the
prosperity of his city, county and state.  What more can be crowded into so
honorable a career, and what greater monument to his worth as a citizen can be
erected to his credit.  When the sun of life shall set, when the wisdom of the
Creator shall be evidenced by his passage from life's labors to what mankind
terms death, let us believe that it is in truth but a quiet rest from which our
Redeemer says the awakening will be to an eternal joy for such as he.  For in
truth his life has been all that those words imply, “Be thou faithful unto death
and I will give thee a crown of life.”


The above is transcribed from “Hazzards History of Henry County, Indiana  
1822 – 1906”
Author and publisher, George Hazzard, 1906.  Pages 142 – 146.
Miller Database - Page 2
(6)  Transcription of an article from 'Hazzards History of Henry County' published in 1906, on
Martin L. Bundy.  He was raised with Sarah Bundy by Sarah's father Christopher Bundy.
Although Martin was not a direct ancestor of our line of the family he was very close to our
ancestors because of his being raised by Christopher.  In New Castle at the time our families
association with Martin L. Bundy was a source of pride.
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