Stratton House Inn :: Little Home Histories, Part 13 -- William 'Black Bill' Bundy.
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by Bundy, Bernita.

See previous entry: Little Home Histories, Part 12 -- John Bundy Homestead.

William "Black Bill" Bundy was born in 1819, the eighth child of a family of eleven. His parents were William and Sarah Overman Bundy who came over the mountains from Wayne County, North Carolina in a cart and settled in this section of Belmont County.

He was five years old when the "brick house" was built. The children loved to run up and down the inclined runways used by the masons in constructing the (then) unusual house which is located on the Barnesville-Bethesda road a mile west of Speidel and is familiarly known as the "Alden Lee Place."

At the age of nine, his father died and he grew to manhood under the guidance and care of his pioneer mother. She taught him to hate the institution of slavery, and later he took an active part in the discussions of the leading questions of the day. The foremost of these was the abolition of slavery and he naturally became a conductor on the underground railroad. It was his duty to take the passengers from the next man south and conduct them as far north as possible and get back by day break. The aged slaves and children rode in the wagon and the rest marched behind.

It was because of this experience that he became known as "Black Bill". However, he was quite dark complected, and the name suited him.

When he reached the age of 24, he married Prudence Wood. She died eighteen months later and left an infant son. About the time of his marriage, "Black Bill" built a story and a half house across the road from his father's famous brick house. It consisted of two ground floor rooms and two rooms upstairs. He had a windlass well, outside Dutch oven and an outside cave to accommodate the housewife. This is quite different for the conveniences of today.

Three years later "Black Bill" married Asenath Doudna, and to them nine children were born. In 1860 a lean-to kitchen was built on to the house and in 1868-69 the final addition was made by Samuel Williams. It is still standing today as it was finished in 1869.

In the early days, one toiled for the necessities of life. Soft soap was made by leaching wood ashes. Cloth was made by spinning their own flax, and carpets were made of woven rags. They had a maple sugar camp and also raised cane for molasses. They progressed from the sickle to the combine, from the tramping out of the grain to threshing machine in their generation.

There was an interesting reason for enlarging the farm house to such proportions in 1868. "Black Bill" was very much interested in the "Drove Road" and its purpose. This road is only a tradition now, but it existed for a very good reason. When the National road was built, it was surfaced with hand crushed stones which were too sharp and rough to drive the herds of sheep, cattle, mules and horses on from the middle west to the east cost, and so the "Drove Road" was built.

It entered Belmont County at Putney Ridge, winding east through Barnesville, passing on south of Bethesda and Belmont to the Ohio River at the mouth of Graves Creek (on the West Virginia side) where the cattle could ford across.

"Black Bill" would give these drovers and their herds accommodations for the night as they passed through. As many as 5000 head of sheep or 1000 head of cattle would be cared for in a few days. At one time four drovers brought 149 mules and four horses through. The mules were herded into the mule lot and the neighbor boys were hired to watch them while the drovers rested and slept. One night they played "hookey" and it took all the next day to round the animals up again.

Always interested in public advancement and in the forefront of action, he was elected to represent Belmont County in the Ohio State Legislature in 1875, although he was a Republican in a Democratic County.

His wife, Asenath, died in 1888, after 42 years of happy family life. His son Clark Bundy and wife Rachel Crew Bundy, were living on the west coast at this time and asked him to came and live with them. "Black Bill" said "No, it is hard to transplant an old tree."

In 1891 he sold his large farm to Allen Bailey and it is still known by that title. He built a new house which is now owned by the Belmont County Childrens Home, but is better known as the Wilfred T. Hall farm. He lived there until his death in 1905 at which time he was in his 86th year.

William Bundy opened his farm home to every orphaned or aged relative that he had and sheltered close to 20 at some time in his life. Of his nine children, only Dillwyn C. Bundy of Tacoma, Ohio is living. He is my grandfather and it is from him that I gained the facts for this history.

Source: Written by: Bernita Bundy, Great Granddaughter of William Bundy.

See next entry: Little Home Histories, Part 14 -- The Clay Pike.

For the table of contents and first entry in this series, please see: Little Home Histories, Part 01 -- Table of Contents and Introduction.

This entry is adapted from Little Home Histories in Our Early Homes, Belmont County, Ohio, which was published in 1942. Its publication was coordinated by Robert D. and Beulah Patten McDonald. This entry has been reedited for inclusion in the Pierian Press Fulltext eBooks database, and is included on the Stratton House Inn Website by special permission. This entry is licensed for use ONLY on this Website. It may be used for educational purposes and personal pleasure under fair-use provisions via this Website. Please note that the Stratton House Inn iteration of this entry does NOT include the subject headings assigned each chapter for use in the Fulltext eBooks database.

DATABASE: Fulltext eBooks: Copyright (c) 2002 The Pierian Press, Inc. All Rights Reserved


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