Budd Reeve ran a spectacular campaign as an Independent for Congress in 1894, but he didn't get many votes. Reeve polled only 3 percent. People loved his campaign rallies, though. He would gather an audience by ringing a cowbell, and then, flanked by a live American eagle on a perch, he would assail the moneyed interests and extol the virtues of silver coinage. Which was sort of ironic, because Reeve himself was closely allied with James J. Hill and his Great Northern Railroad. Reeve, a lawyer and businessman, had become acquainted with Hill in St. Paul and had been sent by Hill to Dakota Territory to look into land titles along the prospective route of Hill's railroad, then known as the Manitoba, down the Red River Valley.
Using his insider knowledge, then, Reeve returned to Dakota in 1880 to found a town in S25 T148 R51, in Traill County. He named the town for Thomas J. Buxton, a banker in Minneapolis, who also served as president of the townsite company. Financed by Buxton, Reeve built a grain elevator, and another one in Reynolds, then connected the two of them by telephone. Reeve next built himself a fine two-story house, then a second house for servants, and prospered with the town of Buxton.
The town founder also became known as "the Sage of Buxton" on account of his prolific writings. It is uncertain whether the title was an expression of admiration or of irony, because in his books Reeve sounds a bit like a crackpot. His best-known book was entitled, The Real Thing. Others were entitled The Hand of God as Revealed by the Light of the Numbers to Bud Reeve, a Servant of the Unseen, and Jerome, or, J. J. Hill as Bible Character; Written under Impressions Received from the Works of Moses.
Reeve died in Buxton in 1933. Sage or crackpot, he was the town father of Buxton, and so in 1968, citizens there formed the Budd Reeve Memorial Association and collected funds for a Budd Reeve monument. Engraved into the stone is an image of Reeve and his dog.--Research by Adam Poole, HIST 489, NDSU, Fall 2007.
Reeve, Budd. The Real Thing. Buxton, 1901.
History of Buxton
||Photos by Adam Poole, 22 December 2007
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Remembrance in Stone / Center for Heritage Renewal