UPDATE: We have verifying records as to the burial of a Taubert child in Feb. of 1869. George is not in St. Paul’s. Glenwood, here we come…
As is to be expected in the history field, no matter how confident you feel you “know” something, there’s always new information to be found. In today’s case, I received some thorough and reliable comments on my previous post about George Atzerodt’s burial in St. Paul’s cemetery in Baltimore’s Druid Hill Park. The following comment comes from Sandy Harper, church historian for Martini Lutheran Church. Martini Lutheran is the caretaker of St. Paul’s:
“The child buried on Feb. 1869 was named Freidrich Gottleib Herman Taubert, he was 29 days old and his birth and death are in Martini Lutheran Church’s records.”
This February of 1869 burial was thought to be the secret burial of George Atzerodt. Though this idea was partially at odds with the plot records as written in the book, Records of St. Paul’s Cemetery, in my previous post I did my best reconciling the idea that a 29 day-old child of Gottlieb Taubert was actually the 29  year-old brother-in-law of Gottlieb Taubert: George Atzerodt. Ms. Harper’s new information that it was, in fact, a coincidence that the Taubert’s were burying a child close to the same time that George was in need of re-interment, certainly requires us to continue to look elsewhere. While I’d like to believe the research of the Boothies before me, the evidence against it is stacking up, with both the cemetery record book and the detailed information from Ms. Harper pointing towards a child not a conspirator being buried in St. Paul’s.
So, I attempted to retrace the body of George Atzerodt. On my way home from work I called Glenwood Cemetery in DC. The gentleman I spoke to was very knowledgeable reiterating the story that George was kept in a holding vault in Glenwood after being brought there by his brother John. He told me that beyond that, they have no further records of what happened. The reason for this, I was told, is that in the late 1800’s, a disgruntled board member of the cemetery stole the interment book for the first 7,000 burials in Glenwood. He walked off with them in the middle of a meeting, never to return. The interment information for George, if he was buried in Glenwood, would have been in this first book. The gentleman also informed me that he was told upon his initial employment at Glenwood in 1995, that it was the belief of the cemetery that George was in Glenwood in an unmarked grave. Glenwood believes George is buried in their cemetery, they just don’t know where. When I asked if there would ever be a way to know for sure, I was told the only remaining chance would be for someone to sit down and look thorough their 14 books of plat maps. Technically, George’s burial would have to be noted on a plat map to make sure no one attempted to bury a body where one already was. The man I spoke to stated that in the seventeen years he’s worked there, he has yet to come across George in a plat map. However, he also said he has never gone through looking for him specifically, merely that in the course of his other work, George’s name has yet to show up.
So the opinion of those working at Glenwood seems to be that George never left their cemetery. I have to say that newspaper accounts of 1869 do seem to agree with them. Several articles mention the undertaker that was used for Atzerodt’s remains and how his body was placed in Glenwood’s receiving vault:
Despite the substitution of John’s name for his brother George, this article had the same information:
And lastly, this article mentions Atzerodt’s funeral in Glenwood:
The press of the day seemed to believe that George was buried in Glenwood. As we know, though, they cannot always be reliable.
Just like we had for the St. Paul’s hypothesis, we are left with only circumstantial evidence regarding George’s final resting place being at Glenwood. The last place to look for George seems to be Glenwood’s many plat maps. However, even if a thorough search does not produce his name on a map, it is still possible that he is one of the unmarked, but occupied graves. Sadly, it is unlikely that we will ever know for sure. Hopefully one day, I’ll make my way to Glenwood Cemetery to spend a day (or two) looking through their maps.
Thank you to Sandy Harper for posting information about the Tauberts in St. Paul’s Cemetery.
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Fascinating, Dave! I have been conducting the very same type of research regarding Powell and also the Branson ladies. I, too would love to go thorough those Plat Books….
Thanks a bunch!