Madam CJ Walker

Madam C.J. Walker Visited Buxton, Iowa in 1918

While anxiously awaiting Netflix’s release of “Self Made: Inspired by the Life of Madame C.J. Walker,” the question popped into my head, “Had Madam C.J. Walker ever visited Buxton, Iowa?” The question was a plausible one. People—especially African Americans—beyond Iowa had heard of this amazing town. Buxton was a coal mining town of 5,000 residents […]

Lottie Armstrong

Lottie Armstrong: African American VP, Director and Stockholder in Buxton Bank

Lottie Armstrong Baxter, a daughter of successful African American businessman Hobe Armstrong, was born in Muchakinock, Iowa in March 1876. When she was fifteen, she graduated from a business school and began her career with the Consolidation Coal Company, first working as a secretary for superintendent J.E. Buxton. On February 27, 1901, she married John […]

Ad Recruiting Black Men to Muchy

Former Confederate Officer Recruits Black Men to Work in Iowa Coal Mines in 1880

While researching how African Americans ended up being 55% of the population in Buxton, Iowa—which was established by Consolidation Coal Company—I did not expect to discover that one of the men who’d recruited African Americans to work in the company’s mines was Major Thomas Shumate, a Confederate officer. Within five to six years of establishing […]