Budd Reeve first platted the land for what would become Buxton, North Dakota in 1880, about halfway between Grand Forks and Fargo. At the time, the only sign of life there was a Norwegian family on a sod shanty homestead.
Reeve acquired the land by trading Minneapolis property to James J. Hill. Reeve became the general manager of the townsite and Thomas J. Buxton, a friend and wealthy business man from Minneapolis, was the president. They bought an additional two sections of land for $6,500 and deeded them to Harriet Tanner Reeve, Budd’s wife. She decided the town should named after their friend Buxton.
Once all business deals had been set, they got to building. On this date in 1880, the very first load of lumber was brought to the townsite. This was the first shipment of something other than railroad material to be transported over the St. Paul, Minneapolis and Manitoba Railway line. With the materials in hand, they got to building, and by November 2nd, there was a small store in the middle of the prairie run by John Newberry and Randolph Roberts. Nearby, the railroad added a two-story station and a section house. The section house was operated as a boarding house, with rooms rented to railroad section crews and their families.
Buxton became the first grain market between Grand Forks and Fargo when T. J. Buxton authorized $2,500 for purchasing grain from area farmers. That money only lasted half a day as farmers welcomed the convenient opportunity to sell their crop.
By 1881, Buxton was becoming a strong business hub as multiple industries and many newlyweds looking for business opportunities flocked to the township. The first child born there was Daisy Moen. The townsite company presented her with a business lot as a gift. She was the daughter of merchant A. A. Moen, who was also the town’s first postmaster.
During the town’s early development, Reeve donated a plot of land for a cemetery. If you visit, you will find the headstone of Reeve and his wife, Harriet, as well as those of the other early settlers who helped shape that slice of early North Dakota.
Dakota Datebook by Lucid Thomas