Where is George Budde?
By Felix Winternitz
Mysteries and myths continue to enshroud the life and death of George Budde. The baffling circumstances of his death, certainly. And other quandaries: Where does Budde’s body now rest, for instance? Is he sleeping eternally in a family plot at an aging Cincinnati cemetery, as many believe, or is he still interred in the earth—half a world away—at a farmstead near a town called Mouze? “It’s astounding how little information is actually out there,” says Price Hill Historical Society volunteer Richard Jones, one of those who have been tracking down elusive connections. “I’m disturbed to not find more about George Budde in the [burial] records.”
Jones and other battle buffs have made a mission out of delving for answers, plumbing through historical society and military archive vaults. Fortunately, some original source material does survive, not the least of which are fellow soldier’s correspondences from the wartime front.
Version one from a comrade: George’s body is buried on the banks of the Meuse River, about three kilometers below the town of Mouzon, and the grave was properly marked.
Or, by another official report: George’s remains were carried back across the river and buried near the Lasatelle Farmhouse on the road between Beaumont and Pouilly, about half a mile inland from the Meuse.
Yet another version has George’s coffin returned home.
[View a slideshow of Budde]
There certainly was a ceremony back in Cincinnati. Newspapers report George being laid to rest at the Old St. Joseph’s Cemetery in Price Hill, after a glorious military parade from Holy Family Church. The funeral service itself was elaborate. A catafalque representing Budde’s coffin was draped with an American flag, “while 10 soldiers from Fort Thomas were on guard.” Khaki-colored candles flickered in tribute.
Cemetery records, however, state “No record of internment” of any body beneath the headstone at the family plot.
Family markers note the graves at Old St. Joseph’s today. George’s tombstone is still flanked by his parents and siblings. A huge catalpa tree towers over the gravesites, dropping palm-like leaves on the landscape. Each Memorial Day, members of the now-disbanded George W. Budde American Legion Post No. 507 gather at the grave for a commemoration ceremony.
If he is indeed buried atop these bluffs of Price Hill, George has a view of his home on Hawthorne Avenue.