HENRY BUXTON. – As we trace out, one by one, the variety of sources from which our pioneers are derived, and see the commingling of all lines of nationality and all kinds of business in our cosmopolitan population, we are more than ever impressed with the great problem which we, as a people, are working out, and the great destiny which we have.
The subject of this sketch, of whom an excellent portrait appears herewith, is a representative of the Hudson’s bay Company régime in Oregon, and is one of the now few living members of the company by which the great fur monopoly sought, though in vain, to meet the incoming tide of American immigration with its own weapons. On this account, as well as his well-known high qualities of mind and character, Mr. Buxton occupies a unique and interesting place among the pioneers of Washington county. Mr. Buxton’s father was born in Derbyshire, England, in 1792. In 1821 he went to Manitoba, and became an employe’ of the Hudson’s bay Fur Company. He was there married to Frances Thomas, the daughter of one of the factors of the Hudson’s Bay Company. From this union, the subject of our sketch was born on the 8th of October, 1829.
In the year 1841, the astute officials of the fur company, foreseeing the inevitable collapse of their power from the encroachments of American settlers, determined to head off the danger by founding a settlement of their own. The Red River Colony of 1841 was the result. Mr. Buxton was a member of that colony. The first design was to go to Puget Sound. In 1842, however Mr. Buxton, Sr., moved to Tualatin Plains, bringing his son Henry, then thirteen years of age, with him. The first place taken up was on the East Plain near the present town of West Union. At that time there were living on the plains, Colonel Jo Meek, Doctor Robert T. Newell, Doctor William Geiger, Rev. J.S. Griffin, Reverend Harvey Clark, A.T. Smith, Joseph Gale, C. Walker, W.M. Doty, G.W. Ebbert and Caleb Wilkens.
In 1850 the Buxton family moved to the beautiful farm near Forest Grove, now known as Spring Brook Farm, one of the ideal farming places of the county. The father died in1870. The son has resided on his farm, with the exception of a period of almost fourteen years, between 1873 and 1887, in which the family residence was at Forest Grove.
Mr. Buxton was married in 1846 to Rosanna Wooley, who was a member of a pioneer family of 1845. The children of the family are Rebecca Kimzey (deceased), Edward, Thurston, James T., Mary E. Stevenson (deceased), William T., Charles E., Jacob S., Carrie Harrison, Nellie Griffin (deceased), Austin T. and Rosa M. (deceased).
During his long residence here, Mr. Buxton has become identified with almost every interest of this county, having been county commissioner two terms, 1876-78 and 1880-82, a town trustee of Forest Grove three years, and a member of either the school board of Forest Grove or his present home district during almost the entire thirty-eight years of his residence. In politics he has been a Republican. After a long and active life, Mr. Buxton is now spending his later years in the well earned enjoyment of his large property, and in the pleasure of experimenting in stock, fruit and other features of an intelligent farmer’s life. His place is one of almost unsurpassed natural beauty; and he designs to add to it the embellishments of art. Besides his home place, Mr. Buxton owns a large ranch north of Forest Grove, known as the East View Farm. Mr. Buxton’s sons have followed in his footsteps, and have become known as men of rare energy and usefulness.
Many interesting reminiscences could be gathered from Mr. Buxton. Among other things, he was one who worked on the first wagon road form Tualatin Plains to Portland, in June, 1846, and in November of that year. On that road he hauled the first load of produce ever brought to Portland on wheels, the wagon being drawn by three yoke of oxen, and containing nine slaughtered hogs and twenty-three bushels of beans.