While still living in Missouri, Eddie worked in mills, sacking grain. Taking what money he saved from mill work, he began to invest in real estate by buying small houses and renting them out. Eventually he managed to save enough that he invested $1,500 of his own money to open a business in his new hometown of Coffeyville. So, in 1918 he started Buckner Bros. Furniture on West 11th street, where the modern day Carter Automotive storefront is located today.
The business would continue to be passed down the generations to his children R.F. and Wilma Buckner and then my Great Uncle Robert (Bob) and Grandfather Craig (of whom I am named after). Eventually the business would move to 8th street and for many years inhabit an old airplane hangar building that is now home to Country Time Antique Mall. The family decided to close the store in the early 1990s. However, all of those involved would continue to invest in other business ventures to support themselves for the years that have followed.
The message I am hoping to convey by telling this story is that my ancestors moved to Coffeyville before there was promise of a job with a billion dollar company or the luxury of working at a large factory. They had half the education most people today possess and still did twice as much with their lives as many will ever think of. There are hundreds of families right here in Coffeyville who have similar stories of dedication and drive that it took to build the very town we live in now. This community was forged in the tough reality of a world with poor education, very little medicine, and extreme conditions. These forefathers persevered and put together the beginnings of what has grown into our hometown. We do them a disservice to believe that the challenges we face now are any greater than what they went through before us. It was not for vain that they struggled to make a better life for the generations that followed.
I take inspiration from the courage and hard work of my family and feel it is an honor to now walk in their footsteps. As I work to build my own business efforts, just as my grandfathers before me, I look to their example and hope that others in this town will do the same. There is a legacy that is Coffeyville. No bank robberies, floods, or corporations closing will change that. I believe in Coffeyville and I am ready to help others believe as well.