Small but Mighty: the Well-Hydrated Lawrence J. Buegel
Posted On: 08/23/2017 - 10:12am, Posted By: Other
This post was originally written by Katie Fiorelli, University of Cincinnati graduate intern in 2015
Cincinnatian Lawrence J. Buegel would not give up. Though Buegel attempted to volunteer for the army, his slight weight and short stature (5’ 2”) initially prevented him from joining the Great War and taking on the Germans.
According to a 1918 article in the Cincinnati Enquirer, Buegel interpreted a local recruiter’s rejection of his fitness to serve based on his weight as a challenge. Buegel left their meeting and “drank a lot of water” on a daily basis. This helped with him gain some weight, but did nothing to impact his height. According to the article, after being rejected multiple times, Buegel “wrote and wrote” to Washington in order to be granted an exception. His persistence paid off, and he was able to enlist as part of the Ohio National Guard on June 18, 1917.
He was a member of Battery E of the 136th Field Artillery, serving with many other local Cincinnatians. Though he never advanced past the rank of private, he served in the American Expeditionary Force (A.E.F.) from June 28, 1918, to March 24, 1919, as part of the defensive sector near Meusse-Argonne. He was honorably discharged on April 22, 1919.
After the war, Buegel went on to marry Rossanna Kerly of Price Hill, his fiancée prior to his departure with the A.E.F. They were married for over sixty years. While they remained in Cincinnati, their life had some adventure, including a 1957 trip to England. Buegel passed away on November 8, 1981 at the age of 86, less than ten months after his wife’s death in January of 1981. For a small person, he lived a large life, and represents just one of the many fascinating discoveries one can encounter while searching the Cincinnati Museum Center’s History Library and Archives.
Seated portrait of Private Lawrence J. Buegel (1895-1981), Ohio National Guard. 136th Field Artillery, Battery E. Cincinnati Museum Center. SC#77.