By Rick Palsgrove
A piece of history was recently discovered at Hopewell United Methodist Church.
“During spring cleaning April 15 at my church (located at 4348 London-Lancaster Road) we found a plaque (honoring a World War I veteran),” said Marylee Bendig.
The plaque reads, “In memory of Frederick J. Bunn, U.S. Marine, who died in France, July 21, 1918.”
“No one knew of this gentleman from our church. I want to find out more about him,” said Bendig, who has the plaque and is considering donating it to Motts Military Museum.
According to www.naval-history.net/WW1NavyUSMC-CasualtiesAlpha1.htm, Private Frederick J. Bunn of the 6th Regiment, 2nd Div., died of his wounds on July 21, 1918, and is buried in the Aisne-Marne Cemetery in France.
“So far from home and so young,” said Bendig. “It’s sad. Such a brave soldier to give his life for his country.”
According to 6thmarines.marines.mil, the 6th Marine Regiment (known as the “Fightin’ Sixth”) “has a rich history steeped in courage and honor.” The regiment was activated at Quantico, Va., on July 11, 1917 and entered active combat in March 1918 in the Toulon sector, Verdun. It took part in the Aisne-Marne Offensive (Soissons) in northern France on July 18-19, 1918. It was during the Battle of Soissons, fought on the Western Front between the French (with American and British assistance) and the German army, where Bunn received his mortal wound. The battle ended with the allied forces recapturing much of the ground lost to the Germans in May 1918.
Who was Frederick J. Bunn and what was his connection to Hopewell United Methodist Church?
Bendig researched the Bunn family name in the area by consulting George Bareis book, “The History of Madison Township Including Groveport and Canal Winchester, Ohio.”
She said Bareis’ book shows that a Frederick Bunn is buried in the Hopewell Cemetery, but he died in 1871 at age 58.
“This could have been Frederick J. Bunn’s father or grandfather,” said Bendig.
Also buried in the Hopewell Cemetery are Charlotte (Rarey) Bunn, who died in 1888 at age 71, and Jefferson Bunn, who died in 1883 at age 35.
According to a map of Madison Township in the “Atlas of Franklin County 1872,” by J.A. Caldwell and H. T. Gould, the Bunn family owned acreage in Section 8 of Madison Township northwest of Hopewell United Methodist Church. The map shows 182 acres under the name J. L. Bunn and another 164 acres under the name N. H. Bunn.
According to findagrave.com, Nelson H. Bunn was the father of Frederick J. Bunn. This website also indicates Frederick J. Bunn was born in 1887.
“I wish we could find out more about the Bunn family,” said Bendig. “Local veterans who died serving their country and who were from our community serving in other wars are not forgotten. When we give them recognition, even in a few words, they are honored.”
Bunn was remembered by his church and community in those long ago days of World War I. Over the decades, memory fades. But now, once again, far from the sound of the guns of that far away war, his church in quiet, rural southern Madison Township has remembered him once again.