Perhaps you have wandered around Kiroli park near the amphitheater. On the right side of the amphitheater, past the end of the sidewalk is a grave marker marked with the following:
1928 – 1941
Born a dog
Died a gentleman
The legend goes that back in the early days of the park, it was known as a summer camp for the Boy Scouts. For many years, a dog named Buddie served as the Scouts’ mascot. There was no pool at the time, so the Scouts were taught to swim in the lake. One of the Scouts swam off from the group and got in trouble. Buddie the dog began furiously barking to alert everyone and then dove into the lake. The boys were alerted by the dog’s barks and were able to save the drowning boy. Buddie wasn’t so lucky.
I have tried and tried to find proof of this legend in the digital archives of the News-Star. Surely a boy almost drowning would have made headlines! I did find one instance of a Scout named Sammie Brown from a Winnsboro troop almost drowning at Kiroli’s pool [a part of the legend debunked right there!], but a nearby friend saved him. This happened on June 16, 1931. Ironically, the savior’s name was Buddie Bubb!
So what is the story?
While I was reading newspaper clippings in the library files detailing the legend, I found a copy of a handwritten note included with the clippings dated October 18, 1993. It says the following:
“According to Mrs. Dee Strickland the dog belonged to Mr. and Mrs. Albert H. Jones, 215 Breard St. – Monroe.
Mrs. Strickland lived with the Jones in 1932. The dog was a beautiful Irish Setter. Mr. Jones frequently took him to Kiroli Park to run so when he died he decided to bury him in Kiroli Park –
Born a dog died a gentleman
Not a boy scout dog.
Mr. Jones worked for the City.
[ Hermione Marie Driskill, former head of the Special Collections Department, OPPL]
I did find that Mr. Jones was heavily involved in the Boy Scouts and Camp Ki-Ro-Li. He is buried in Riverview Cemetery.
So…heroic dog, or just a very well-loved family pet? My guess is that the tale of Buddie Bubb rescuing Sammie got mixed in after the headstone was placed!
I made a memorial for him on Findagrave, with the above information here:
Edit [March 29, 2021]: A gentleman, after reading my article, made a YouTube video about the legend and you can watch it here: https://youtu.be/gQ6ZAcXlWIY .