By Dorothy Schweider, Joseph Hraba, Elmer Schwieder
From 1900 till the early Nineteen Twenties, an strange group existed in America's heartland. It used to be the biggest unincorporated coal-mining group in Iowa and the vast majority of its 5000 citizens have been African americans - strange for a country which used to be over ninety in step with cent white.
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Additional resources for Buxton: A Black Utopia in the Heartland
Railroads provided a constant demand for coal, while previously demand had been only seasonal. As a result, in 1885 the state mine inspector reported that Iowa contained 489 underground coal mines. 6 Railroads followed the practice of creating "captive mines," whereby they took control of a particular coal mine and consumed all the coal produced in it. This arrangement guaranteed the railroads a steady, year-round supply of fuel. Thus, from 1870 the well-being of Iowa's coal mining industry was tied closely to the policies and practices of its railroads.
They brought the young women out here to work for different people. 27 Murray's mother, Ella Fry, was eighteen years old when she arrived in Muchy. The Bradleys had five children in Muchakinock and twelve more after they moved to Buxton. Bradley worked as a coal miner for Consolidation for many years. Murray remembered that other relatives were also recruited by Consolidation. 28 john Chapman was another single black teenager recruited by Consolidation in the early 1880s. Chapman lived in Staunton, Virginia, where he worked in a bakery.
The most prominent black businessman was Hobert A. Armstrong, known widely as Hobe. Armstrong played a major role in Muchy's economic life and became one of the area's wealthiest men. It is not known why Armstrong settled in Muchakinock. Born in Knoxville, Tennessee, in 1850, Armstrong was orphaned when he was twelve. After his parents' death, he went to live with a white man, a Dr. Perdue. Eventually Perdue moved to Kansas, taking Armstrong along. Perdue purchased a farm there and it later became the property of Armstrong.