Charles Aubrey Buser 1922 – 2010
In the early morning of Monday, January 11, 2010, the Wyandotte Nation lost a dear friend and historian of our nation, Mr. Charles Aubrey Buser. Although not a Wyandotte by birth, his heart was purely Wyandotte. Aubrey was a valued mentor to the Wyandotte Nation and to hundreds of people across North America. He researched our history and freely shared his life’s work with anyone who had a question that needed an answer. He will be sincerely missed.
In 1997, Aubrey was the Wyandotte Nation’s Pow Wow Honoree. The Pow Wow book of that year gave a wonderful account of his life. He was always a true gentleman in every sense of the word. His love for his family was unshakable. His love for his adopted people was equally as strong. The Wyandotte Nation extends its heartfelt gratitude and its sincere sympathy to his wife, Pat, and to each of his family members. He will forever be on the “Wyandot Path.”
USMC – Guadalcanal 1944
Aubrey Buser was born on May 13, 1922, near New Market, Indiana. His interest in the Wyandots (as he learned to spell the name), came when he was a child of eight or nine years of age. “I read a series of books in which one of the principal characters was a young Wyandot,” Buser said. “In time, I learned that that fictional character was based on the life of Tarhe, the most distinguished member of the tribe during the Ohio years. Until the death of my mother, when I was ten, she encouraged me to learn all that I could about my favorite tribe.” It was during that time that the Wyandots became “his people.”
Buser graduated from high school in Crawfordsville, Indiana, in 1940. Two years later, he joined the U.S. Marine Corps and proudly served his country until 1946. On January 13, 1945, Buser married Patricia Anderson. They have a son, a daughter, and five grandchildren.
In 1949, Buser received his degree from Goshen College. In addition, he took graduate courses at Loyola College in Baltimore, and at George Washington University in Washington, D.C.
He was employed with Lockheed Aircraft, Westinghouse Electric, and with the Applied Physics Laboratory at Johns Hopkins University. Through the years, the Busers continued researching tribal history. Their search took them to many states as well as Canada. “During the course of such research, we have found friends in a number of tribes and in the ranks of other researchers,” he said.
Buser worked closely with Chief Leonard Cotter, Mrs. Artie Nesvold and Mrs. Juanita McQuistion in providing information to Mr. Rodney Edwards, Wyandotte attorney, during claims litigation before the Indian Claims Commission. The efforts proved successful, as was the search for copies of the Marius Barbeau recordings made in 1911-12 among Wyandottes and Hurons in the U.S. and Canada.
The Busers retired to Frederick, Maryland, where Aubrey maintained considerable correspondence with World War II veterans, and with matters relating to the history and culture of the Wyandotte/Huron people. “Although time has taken us from many of our oldest and dearest friends, in our hearts we like to think of Wyandotte, Oklahoma, as a second home, and of all the people there as family,” Buser said.
“Mine has been a long and happy life. Looking back, I believe my proudest accomplishment has been the formation of so many deep and enduring friendships,” Buser said. “Among the regrets, and there are a few, is that I am not able to thank my mother and that author of so long ago, for having started me on the Wyandot Path.”
Dedication of Aubrey’s Collection at The Ohio State University
April 16, 2013
When Charles Aubrey Buser was a young boy, God directed his hands to find a book in his hometown library about TARHE, our great chief. That book, telling of the brave and strong life of our ancient leader, inspired a life of bravery and strength in Aubrey Buser and compelled him to find Tarhe’s people, the Wyandots.
We are grateful that Aubrey followed his heart and that he did find us — and that throughout his life he searched and amassed a mountain of written information about Wyandot history. We know he spent thousands of his own dollars, and most of his spare time and family vacations doing research. We are grateful today that his extensive collection of materials is here at The Ohio State University, and that his files will be forever archived in a land where the Wyandotte people lived.
Aubrey and Pat Buser were welcomed with open arms by historians and Wyandots in Ohio, Michigan, Kansas, Oklahoma and Canada – as well as hundreds of points beyond. He received letters of inquiry from around the world concerning the history of the Wyandots, and he fielded the most odd and even humorous questions with his never-shaking, gentlemanly responses.
His work was instrumental in enabling the Wyandotte Nation to receive payment from the United States government for our land that was lost in Ohio. This money enabled our nation to establish a scholarship program that has provided an opportunity for hundreds of students to go to college to seek undergraduate, graduate and vocational degrees. Without Aubrey’s research and assistance with the settlement of these land claims – this scholarship program would not be in place today, and lives would not be brightened by the lamp of education. His work was very important.
We are grateful that Aubrey did not leave us empty handed. The Wyandotte Nation historical library has many of his files, and these are used daily. Through them, he is still answering questions and educating us.
Aubrey shared his life and his love for his own family. No one ever loved and respected his wife as much as Aubrey did Pat. You will notice that every letter in the files was from both of them. His life’s example and his life’s work are important.
We are so happy that through your efforts here at The Ohio State University – his research materials will continue to inform and inspire all who seek to know more about the Wyandottes.