• Consol, Haydock & Buxton Iowa, USA • 1871 - 2014


Buxton Iowa's, East Swede Town
Dad's Home Town

Buxton Map
Dad and father David in front of their home in East Swede Town
Dad and father David in front of their home in East Swede Town.
The house faced North on the south side of the County Line
Road in Monroe County. 1912 Photo

Buxton’s East Swede Town was and still is a very special place for me and my Dad’s family. It was my Dad’s (Reynold “Ray” Peterson) home town. Dad was born in Buxton’s East Swede Town to David and Emma (Nylander) Peterson in 1909. He was the second of ten children born to his parents. The name East Swede Town was appropriately named since in the time around when Dad was born that area of Buxton was mainly inhabited by those of Swedish descendant. Initially the majority of the them immigrated from Sweden in the 1880’s to Muchakinock and it’s coal fields just south of Oskaloosa.

Gordon Peterson and daughter Shelly Strong in front of former Bloom home in East Swede Town
Gordon Peterson and his daughter Shelly Strong are in front
of the former Bloom home in East Swede Town. It was the home
of their grandparents, Dave and Emma Peterson,
from 1947-1958. Mabel, Loren and their father Manny lived
in the home after the Peterson’s and until Mark and Lisa
Keeton purchased the home in the early 2000’s.
The Keeton’s remodeled the home.
Lisa is the daughter of Dave and Liz Larson. 2009 Photo

After coal mines numbered 1-9 near Muchakinock were worked out around 1900, the Consolidation Coal Company that was owned by the Chicago and North Western railroad moved its coal mining operation to the Buxton coal fields starting with mine number 10, located two miles south and one mile west of Buxton proper in the Miami area. The Swedes in Muchakinock migrated, along with other miners, to Buxton. Adolph Nylander, my Dad’s grandfather, according to his obituary, was a leader in the settling and developing of Buxton especially East Swede Town. Even in the Muchakinock coal camp, the Swedes all congregated in an area called Swede Row.

Summer School at Ebenezer Lutheran Church in East Swede Town
Summer School at Ebenezer Lutheran Church in East Swede Town in
1915. Dad’s cousins Evelyn and Edna Olson are in the center of the
pictures with bows in their hair. My Dad’s older brother Irving is in the
very front with his head down behind the bushes.
Classes were taught in Swedish.

To the extent that the Swedes moved to Buxton from Muchakinock, they also moved the building for the Ebenezer Lutheran church to Buxton’s East Swede Town. The church was important to the Swedes and as a very religious group the church was the center of activity including Swedish schooling during the summer months. It was during that Swedish schooling that Dad learned to speak Swedish well as he retained that ability throughout his life. After the mines closed and most of the miners and their families had left the area,the church still remained as an active church in it’s East Swede Town location behind the Bloom house until 1953 when it burned to the ground.

Grandparents home in East Swede Town
Dad and his brother Irving are pictured in 1910 with their
grandparents Adolph and Anna Nylander in front of
their grandparents home that was located in East Swede
Town facing north on the south side of the County Line Road.

Buxton proper was an approximate one square mile area in northern Monroe County that borders Mahaska County on the north. The area of Buxton that was East Swede Town is easily identifiable since most of the Swede’s lots were one acre or approximately the size of a football field as compared to the typical 1/4 acre lots for the other residential lots in Buxton proper. West Swede Town was located diagonally towards the southwest corner of Buxton as compared to East Swede Town being located in the northeast corner of Buxton. The various other ethnic locations throughout Buxton were somewhat arbitrary.

Linda Colgan in front of Linus Larson home
Linda Colgan, daughter of Russ and Linnea, Dad’s sister. The
Photo is looking east across the K road from the front yard of
the Bloom house in East Swede Town. The Linus Larsen home is
in the background. Linus is the grandfather of Dave Larson who
still owns the farm land that has been in the Larson family
since 1900. 1948 photo, house has been destroyed.

The Consolidation Coal Company owned all the property including the houses in Buxton proper with the exception being in East Swede Town where the Swedes owned their homes and paid rent on the land for the house. Those arrangements seem quite unusual. The Swedes’ houses were generally larger in size and varied in appearance from the standard company owned houses. Monthly rental for the houses was $7.00 per home including the lot and $.50 for a lot only. Living in a home in Buxton proper required the tenant to abide by the company’s strict rules for living there. Those rules included not allowing alcohol to be served in saloons or allowing any rabble rousing. Buxton was quite socialistic in many respects and remained unincorporated throughout it’s history.

Johannes and Inga Blomgren family farm
The Johannes and Inga Blomgren family farm home on their
40 acre farm north of East Swede Town across the
Monroe/Mahaska County Line Road in Mahaska County.
The four boys with their father are left to right,
Emanuel (Manny), Art, Carl and Tudy.
The sisters are Esther, Anna and Rose. Sister Betty
who married Albert Hagglund, who had a store in
Coopertown with dad’s father, is not pictured. 1906 photo

As one would expect, the areas outside of the borders of Buxton proper with less restrictions were developed. This was true for the land to the east and north of the area labeled East Swede Town in Buxton proper. The Larson and Armstrong families owned land east of East Swede Town across the K road(650th Avenue). Dave and Liz Larson still own that land over 100 years later. The Johnnes and Inga Blomgren family owned 40 acres to the north of East Swede Town across the Monroe/Mahaska County line road(340th St.) in Mahaska County. The Blomgren family farm later included a slope coal mine that was operated by Art and Manny Blomgren and was called the Four Star Coal Mine. Art also owned a bottling works with Carl Garrett. While not in the immediate area called East Swede Town, the areas across the roads owned by the Larsons, Blomgrens and Armstrongs were generally considered part of East Swede Town. Other so-called suburbs to Buxton included Coopertown, Gainestown and Hayestown to the north and Tait’s corners to the south.

J.E. Larson’s General Store in Buxton’s East Swede Town
J.E. Larson’s General Store in Buxton’s East Swede Town at the
Southeast corner of the intersection of 650th Ave.
(the K Road) and 340th Street (The County Line Road). Dad’s
father, David Peterson, worked at the store after a
mining accident crippled him and prior to him opening a store in
Coopertown with Albert Hagglund. circa1910

J.E. Larson’s store was located on the southeast corner of the “T” intersection of the K road and the County line road. Dad’s father worked in the Larson store after being injured in an mining accident when slate fell on him. He remained a cripple for the rest of his life. He later opened a grocery store in Coopertown with Albert Hagglund, the brother of his brother Oscar’s wife, Mayme. The store was in the same building as B.F. Cooper’s drug store. The store burned down in 1916 along with a number of other buildings in Coopertown.

1908 photo in East Swede Town
This 1908 photo in East Swede Town is looking east with
the Ebenezer Lutheran Church and the East Swede Town
School in the background. From the left, James L. Chalmers.
Fred Paris,Clyde and Bobbi Haning. The home of John Q.
Anderson is on the right. John Jacobs from Rose Hill and
a coal mining historian commented that this is the only
picture he has seen of the school.

The Doctors house as it was called was located in Mahaska County just north of the county line road at the “T” intersection with the K road. Dr. J.E. Traister purchased the land for the house from the Blomgren’s whose 40 acre farm was directly to the west of the Doctors house. Dad often mentioned Dr. Mater as a physician who practiced in and around Buxton including East Swede Town. Dr. Mater treated Dad’s older brother,Irving, prior to him dying at the age of 14 years of blood poisoning from stepping on a rusty nail while helping his Aunt Hazel and Uncle Hjalmer on their farm in Eveland. The farm was located across the road from the current hog processing plant that is in the area that was considered Eveland. Midwives were very common in Buxton for delivering babies. Mary Chambers a great aunt of Francis Butcher, a close friend of my dad, was a midwife who delivered hundreds of babies including my dads mother Emma in Muchakinock in 1887. There were a number of very prominent black Doctors in Buxton Including Dr. Edward A. Carter. Rose Blomgren lived in the Doctors house after the mines closed in the Buxton coal fields and most of the inhabitants including the Doctors had left the area.

1915 photo of East Swede Town School
1915 photo of East Swede Town School that includes Dad in
the second row second from the left. Dad’s older brother
Irving is in the front row fifth from the right. Irving died
of blood poisoning from stepping on a rusty nail
at the age of 14 years old.

Dad and I returned to explore Buxton nearly every year until his death in 1993 to decorate the graves of many of the deceased family members buried in and around Monroe County. They included his grandparents Adolph and Anna Nylander in the Bethel Cemetery, three miles to the east of Buxton on 340th Street, the County line road. Dad laid out a map for me of who lived where in the East Swede Town the area. I am certain the map includes errors, although given a point in time Dad’s map is plenty accurate enough to give one an idea of how populated the area was and by whom. I also hope Dad’s map helps correct some of the other maps being distributed that contain many errors relative to East Swede Town.

The membership for Ebenezer Lutheran Church is indicative of the residents of East Swede Town. Dad’s map showed the Carlson’s were very prominent in the town. Agnes Carlson wrote a history of her family in the area. She wrote about the Bloom family living next door in the current home of Mark and Lisa Keeton and having to walk through the Bloom’s yard to go to church, which was located directly behind the Bloom house. She mentions my Dad’s grandparents (Adolph and Anna Nylander) living at the time further south of the Blooms and receiving a newspaper from Sweden. Agnes’ family home was on the southwest corner of the current intersection of 340th Street and 650th Avenue. According to my Dad, the Rudy Carlson family also lived in a home on the east side of the K road between the Larson store and Linus Larson’s home. The mother of J.E. Larson and Linus Larson also lived in a home between the store and the home of Linus. Dad often talked about how the Swede men congregated along the ditch in front of the family home of Agnes Carlson parent’s to shoot the breeze on a Sunday afternoons.

Stellas Gate
The front gate to the home of Stella Armstrong Ferguson in
the early 1900’s. Stella was the daughter of Hobe Armstong.
Hobe owned large parcels of land east of Buxton as well as
owning a slaughter house. Stella’s home faced west on the
east side of the K road half way between the County Line
Road and Tait’s corners. The gate was removed after my
2007 article in the Albia Union Republican calling attention
to the fact the gate had been standing there for over 100 years.

I spent many summers in the 1950’s at the Bloom house after my grandparents purchased it in 1947. I remember that ticks were a big problem. I often wonder how men sitting along the ditch in the grass coped with the ticks.

Agnes Larson, in her history, mentions the Onder’s lived south of them along the west side of the K road and across from Stella Armstrong Ferguson, the daughter of Hobe Armstrong. The Albia Union Republic newspaper published an article I wrote about where Stella Armstrong Ferguson lived along the east side of the K road and noted that the gate to her yard was still hanging there after 100 years. After the article was printed, a relative apparently came and removed the gate for a memory of Stella and Stella’s father Hobe, I believe the gate post is still there however.

Helen, Edna and Evelyn Sitting in the Front Yard
Dad’s Aunt Tekla (Nylander) and Uncle Richard Olson’s
family home along the west side of the K Road in East
Swede Town. Dad’s cousins Helen, Edna and
Evelyn are sitting in the front yard . 1910 Photo

The Onder residence was the approximate southern most point of East Swede Town. Dad’s aunt (his mother’s sister) Tekla and her husband Richard Olson and family lived along the west side of the K road between the Nylanders and the Onders. The only other road, if you wish to call it that, was the road that ran north and south in front of the Ebenezer Lutheran Church. There were a number of families who lived on both sides of that road/path. Since in the early 1900’s most transportation was horse and buggy, the roads were not as we think of them now. They were more like paths and as such horse and buggies were free to roam most any direction.

I do get a little out of my comfort zone when describing the location of the homes for the residences of East Swede Town. Obviously families moved and at any point in time the families occupying the various homes could be different. Dad’s map and articles by Agnes Carlson and Violet (Patterson) Bloomgren, Tudy’s wife, do give some credibility to the information I have presented.

Ray Peterson, standing on the Monroe/Mahaska County Line
My Dad, Ray Peterson, is standing on the Monroe/Mahaska
County Line Road near where he was born. He is
looking south over the land that once was East Swede
Town. The Bloom house and buildings are in the distance
in this 1990 photo.

Dad’s family lived in East Swede Town until 1916. They were one of the first families to start the migration from Buxton to the southwest 20 miles to the newly opened #18 and #19 mines in the Consol coal fields and the coal mining camps of Consol, Bucknell and Haydock. Those camps and mines too closed in 1927. After all the mining camps and mines were “Gone with the Coal Dust”, Dad’s parents maintained stores in Haydock and the Melrose corners until returning in 1946 to farm the very land that once was Buxton’s East Swede Town. They lived out their lives on that land until their deaths in the late 1950’s.

On my frequent visits to Buxton, it gives me a humble feeling to look out over the one square mile of fields and pastures that once was Buxton, whether standing at Tait’s Corners to the south, East Swede Town to the northeast or in “Buxton Park” to the northwest where the ruins of downtown Buxton still remain, and reflect on what life was like during the Coal Dust Era. I remember in the late 1940’s and early 1950’s spending summers from my home in Charles City at my grandparents when they lived in the Bloom house and farmed the land that once was East Swede Town. The cisterns of the miners old family homes were yet to be filled in as my sister Barb and I would search down through grandpa’s corn fields. The lot on the corner became grandpa’s pig lot with little evidence that it once was the location of Agnes Carlson and her parents family home.

It is during those moments, I remember all of my aunts and uncles, family friends and grandparents. I am especially thankful to my Dad for enriching my life before he died by answering my endless questions about the coal mining camps of Monroe County. Dad’s hometown of Buxton’s East Swede Town in a sense has become a hometown to me as well.

Buxton Plat Map Overlay