Famous Residents



Here at Forest Lawn, more than 165,000 souls now rest under our perpetual care, and each of them has a story. Some stories are familiar to all; most only to those who played a part in them. In any case, we’re committed to ensuring that the stories do not end within our gates, which is why we’re so pleased to be able to share them with the world.

Here, are the stories of some of our most famous “permanent residents.”

Lewis F. Allen died on May 2, 1890.  He was born in Westfield, Massachusetts and went to New York City at the age of 13 to begin working for a wholesale importing and jobbing dry goods house as an apprentice.  In April 1827, he came to Buffalo to serve as   secretary and financial manager of the Western Ensurance Company.  With him came his bride of two years, the former Margaret Cleveland, an aunt of Grover Cleveland. The Allens had six children, but only two lived to adulthood.  In 1829, he bought a farm lot of 29 acres extending from Main Street to the “State Reservation line” of Black Rock.  He purchased several other plots of land through auction which were later sold for significant increases in value as old wooden structures were torn and new brick buildings were constructed along with the growing city.  In 1833, along with some Boston investors, Allen purchased 16,000 acres of forested land on Grand Island, New York at a cost of around $6/acre. This was practically the entire Island.  Allen was the uncle of President Grover Cleveland (through marriage) and is credited with introducing Cleveland to the practice of law and politics, therefore paving the way for his eventual presidency.  Mr. Allen was one of the original trustees of The Buffalo City Cemetery from 1864-67 and 1878-90, and also served as Vice President from 1886-1890.  Lewis F. Allen is buried in section 5 in Forest Lawn

Aviation Pioneer

Lawrence Bell died on October 20, 1956 at the age of 62. Mr. Bell made incredible contributions to the science of flight during his life. He founded the Bell Aircraft Corporation in 1935 and made aviation history. He designed and built the first plane to break the sound barrier, the first jet plane and the first commercially licensed helicopter. Bell Hall at the University of Buffalo is named in his honor. Lawrence Bell is buried in section 35 in Forest Lawn. His memorial in Forest Lawn is a bronze sculpture that suggests a wing of flight.

Dr. Ida Catherine Bender died on June 11, 1916.  Dr. Bender was born in 1858 into an influential family in Buffalo’s German-American community.  Her father, Philip Bender, was a state    Assemblyman and owner of the Telegraph, a German newspaper in the city.  Dr. Bender spent her life pursuing     academic excellence.  As a student was awarded the Jesse Ketchum Award Gold Medal for excellence in academics. She would later become a teacher of Latin, German, French, and English.  She became superintendent of Buffalo public schools for the primary grades, and she was credited with modernizing the schools.  She wrote textbooks, too, and served as president of the Women Teachers’ Association.  Dr. Bender earned a medical degree from the Buffalo Medical School — a rare accomplishment for a woman at the time — in 1890.   A sure injustice of the times is that Dr. Ida Bender was not only a teacher but also a doctor and she could still not vote.  Dr. Bender, who never married, lived on Parkside Avenue. She was praised in a city newspaper at her death in 1916 as “a woman with high ideals and broad appreciation, one who built for the future — a woman with a vision.”  Dr. Ida Bender is buried in section O in Forest Lawn.

Successful Retailer

Louis L. Berger, Sr. died on June 25, 1967 at the age of 87.  Born in Detroit, MI, Mr. Berger operated a retail bicycle business there (and was also a member of a championship semi-professional baseball team in Detroit.)  He lived briefly in Toledo, Ohio where he was a partner in an apparel firm for a year before moving to Buffalo in 1905.  Upon his arrival in Buffalo, he opened a women’s apparel shop in the 500 block of Main St.  His store was considered high end and comparable to many stores in New York City.  In 1910, Mr. Berger married the former Golda Alexander, a native of Chicago, and the couple had five children.  Together, the couple managed their successful department store business over the next several decades—opening its “flagship” store at 514 Main Street in 1929, and later expanding into the suburbs during the 1960s and 70s.   At its peak, the LL Berger company operated eight stores in Western New York.  The last Berger’s store closed in 1991, marking the end of an impressive 80+ year legacy as one of Western New York’s leading retailers.  Louis L. Berger, Sr. is buried in section FF in Forest Lawn.

Wife of Composer Irving Berlin

Dorothy Goetz Berlin was the wife of legendary music composer Irving Berlin. They married in 1912 and went to Cuba for their honeymoon where Dorothy became ill with typhoid. She would later pass in New York. Devastated, Irving was inconsolable for months and stopped writing songs. When he started again, the first song he wrote was a tribute to Dorothy entitled “When I Lost You.” Berlin made arrangements with a local  florist to place a white rose on Dorothy’s grave every other day – a practice that continued for more than 13 years. For a number of years he continued to write songs about Dorothy until he remarried in 1926.  Dorothy Goetz Berlin is buried in section 9 in Forest Lawn.

Louise Blanchard Bethune is widely considered to be the first woman to practice as a professional architect in the United States. She participated in the design of approximately 150 buildings in the Buffalo and New England areas in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, and was also the first woman member of the American Institute of Architects (AIA) and the first woman to be honored as an AIA Fellow.

She was born in 1856 in Waterloo New York and schooled at home until age 11. Her father, Dalson Blanchard, was principal of the Waterloo Union School, where he also taught mathematics. During her childhood, Louise loved drawing and constructing models of buildings and different structures. Her family moved to Buffalo, where she graduated from high school in 1874. For the two years following, she taught, traveled, and studied, hoping to prepare herself for the architectural school at Cornell.

Then, at the age of 20, she was offered a job as a draftsman in the office of the prominent Buffalo architectural and building firm of Richard A. Waite and F. W. Caulkins. She worked for them for five years as a student apprentice and assistant, mastering the techniques of drafting and architectural design.

During her employment there Louise met a fellow student, a Canadian draftsman named Robert Armour Bethune. The couple soon opened an architectural office together in 1881. This move was timed to coincide with the Women’s Congress being held here at that time, so both of Louise’s interests intertwined.

In December of that year the couple was married, and the firm became R.A. and L. Bethune. Soon after their marriage they welcomed a son Charles W. Bethune, their only child in 1883.
As the years passed, the practice flourished, and in 1890, they added William R. Fuchs to the firm, and our name became Bethune, Bethune, and Fuchs. During this time, Louise believed that women’s complete emancipation lay in equal pay for equal service. In 1893, she refused to enter the women’s architectural design competition for the Women’s Building at the Chicago World’s Fair. She didn’t believe in competitions, and to make matters even worse, the women’s prizes were less than the men’s!

If Louise specialized in any form of architecture, it was in school buildings. She had a hand in designing 18 schools in Western New York, including Hamburg High School, Lockport High school and several grammar schools in Buffalo. Despite her interest in schools, she refused to confine myself to just one interest. She truly believed that women who are pioneers in any profession should be proficient in every department, and that women architects must be practical superintendents as well as designers and scientific constructors.

In 1898, the Bethune’s firm was invited to plan the 225-room Hotel Lafayette that was hoping to house visitors to the Pan-American Exposition. But financial problems delayed the opening until 1904. Louise worked on most of the design for the fireproof French renaissance structure.
Among the buildings designed by their firm was the beautiful terra cotta construction for Denton, Cottier & Daniels music store at Court and Pearl Streets. It was one of the first Buffalo buildings with steel-frame construction and with poured concrete slabs to resist fire. While that building is no longer there, other examples of her work still remain throughout Buffalo and Western New York such as Hamburg and Lockport High schools, the former Queen city baseball and amusement company on East Ferry and Michigan and 307 Bryant street which now houses a popular west side restaurant.

Louise Blanchard Bethune died on December 18, 1913, at the age of 57, and is buried in Forest Lawn.

John Blocher died on June 30, 1911 at the age of 86.  He was born in the small town of Scipio, New York.  At age 10, he became “the man of the  family” following the death of his father.  This left him with little formal education, but the adult responsibilities that he assumed at a young age charged him with entrepreneurial spirit. At age 18, he opened a tailoring business in Buffalo, which he soon developed into a general store, supplying ready made clothing, dry goods, and groceries to Buffalo residents. At age 20, John married Elizabeth Neff of Williamsville. The couple had one son, Nelson, who was born in 1847. John Blocher enlisted in the Union Army at the outbreak of the Civil War, and served one year in the 78th New York Regiment before being discharged for ill health.  Returning to Buffalo after his stint in the Army, Blocher turned the war to his advantage and proceeded to manufacture shoes and boots for the Army. His prosperous footwear business and some shrewd real estate investments soon turned John Blocher into one of Buffalo’s wealthiest citizens. When the Blocher’s son Nelson died in 1884 at the age of 37 after a long illness, his parents decided to build a memorial in his   honor. This is the iconic Blocher monument at Forest Lawn.  In it are Italian marble figures of the Blochers standing beside a couch on which Nelson, is lying.  The monument cost $100,000 at the time it was built  (That’s nearly $3 million in today’s dollars!)

Campaign Manager for President Grover Cleveland

Wilson S. Bissell  was a close friend and political campaign manager for President Grover Cleveland.  The two were partners at the law firm of Laning, Cleveland and Folsom in Buffalo. When Grover Cleveland was first elected President, Wilson Bissell refused any appointment by him. However, during Cleveland’s second term,  he accepted the position of Postmaster General in 1893.  During his time in this position, he made many improvements to the Postal Department.  After two years of service in that role, Mr. Bissell resigned and returned to Buffalo and practiced law. He was President of the Buffalo Club and was the   Chancellor of the University of Buffalo.  Bissell Avenue in Buffalo is named in his honor.  Wilson Bissell is buried in section H in Forest Lawn.

Accomplished Comedy Writer

Al Boasberg died on June 18, 1937 at the age of 46. Born in Buffalo, NY, Mr. Boasberg was an American comedy writer in vaudeville, radio, and film, as well as being a film director. He is credited with helping to create stand-up comedy when he teamed with then-youthful vaudeville performer Jack Benny, helping develop Benny’s familiar, reactive “skinflint” character, and thus helping make Benny a major star when he transitioned to radio in 1932. In fact, on the last day before his death, Al Boasberg wrote the lines that introduced the enduring character of Rochester on Benny’s radio show. Similarly, Mr. Boasberg defined the enduring personalities of Bob Hope, Burns and Allen, Wheeler and Woolsey and Leon Errol. He was one of the early “script doctors”, earning $1,000 a week to punch up radio scripts. Boasberg also wrote for 47 films between 1926 and 1937—especially 1935’s A Night at the Opera, which provided The Marx Brothers with a commercial comeback on the screen. His other film writing credits included The General (starring Buster Keaton). He died in Los Angeles, California from a heart attack. In 2009, The Al Boasberg Comedy Award was established by The Buffalo International Film Festival. Al Boasberg is buried in section FF in Forest Lawn.

Buffalo’s First African American Architect

John E. Brent died on October 22, 1962 at the age of 73. Mr. Brent was Buffalo’s first African American architect. His grandfather, John Edmondson Brent, was born a slave, but later purchased his freedom and that of his wife. His father, Calvin Thomas Stowe Brent, was an accomplished architect in Washington, DC, where John was born. Upon his graduation from the Tuskegee Institute and the Drexel Institute, he moved to Buffalo, NY, where he worked for a few architectural firms, before opening his own firm. Among his noted designs are the Michigan Avenue YMCA, which would become the cultural center of Buffalo’s African American community, as well as the gates to the Buffalo Zoo. John Brent was the first president of the Buffalo Branch NAACP. He was also a member of the American Institute of Architects. John Brent is buried in section 37 in Forest Lawn.

Director of the 1901 Pan American Exposition

William Buchanan died on October 16, 1909. Mr. Buchanan was born in Mimi County, Ohio in 1852. When he first started out in business he was the manager of Sioux City theatres. With a personal background of farm life, in 1893 he was appointed as the Columbian Exposition’s agricultural chief. In the 1890’s, based on his successes, he was appointed to diplomatic service in Buenos Aires. President William McKinley appointed him to the Mexico Conference of American States. When Buffalo leaders, led by John G. Milburn, planned an exposition with a Latin American theme, they needed someone who knew the South American countries well, as well as the temperament of its citizens. That someone was Buchanan, who was known as the “Diplomat of the Americas.” So he was named Director of the 1901 Pan American Exposition in Buffalo. Although the Exposition was a financial failure, many gave Buchanan high marks for his leadership. After the Exposition he was appointed as a roving diplomat “on call.” In 1907, President Theodore Roosevelt chose Buchanan as an envoy to Panama, which was a critical position at that time because of the Panama Canal issue. Mr. Buchanan was married to the former Lulu Williams. He lived the final years of his life on Gates Circle, only a block from his eventual burial site in Forest Lawn. William Buchanan died suddenly while on business in London. He is buried in Section H in Forest Lawn.

Father of Modern Air Conditioning

Willis Haviland Carrier was born in Angola, NY in 1876.  He graduated from Cornell University with a  degree in engineering and went to work for The Buffalo Forge Company, where he was tasked with developing  a solution that would control the temperature in a Brooklyn, NY printing plant.  His approach was recognized as the first modern air conditioning  system.  After 12 years at Buffalo Forge, he was let go because of the threat of World War I, but he formed his own company – the Carrier Air Conditioning Company.  Here he would continue to improve the technology and was awarded contracts to cool ammunition depots and government offices.  Mr Carrier was Inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame in 1985 and was named one of TIME magazine’s “100 Most Influential People of the 20th Century” in 1998.  He is buried in section 15 in Forest Lawn with his three wives—having been widowed twice.

Renowned Architect

George Cary, accomplished architect, died on May 5, 1945. He was one of seven children born to prominent Buffalo resident, Dr. Walter Cary and Julia Cary (née Love). He was the grandson of Trumbull Cary, a New York State Senator and Assemblyman. Mr. Cary attended and graduated from Harvard and the Columbia School of Architecture. After graduating from Columbia, he spent a brief apprenticeship with the firm of McKim, Mead and White in New York City. He then went to Paris and studied at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts from 1886 until 1889, the first Buffalonian to do so. In 1891, he returned to Buffalo and set up his architecture practice. In the mid-1890s, Cary redesigned some rooms in the Ansley Wilcox House, which later became known as the Theodore Roosevelt Inaugural National Historic Site as it was the site where Theodore Roosevelt took the oath of office as President of the United States on September 14, 1901 after the assassination of William McKinley at the Pan-American Exposition of 1901. When the Exposition came to Buffalo, Cary became one of the three local architects on the Board of Architects for the Exposition and designed the Ethnology Building and the New York State pavilion for the Pan-American Exposition. The pavilion was the only permanent building created for the Exposition and later became the Buffalo Historical Society, then the Buffalo and Erie County Historical Society, and today is the Buffalo History Museum. He also designed the Delaware Ave gate and the Administrative office at Forest Lawn in 1906-1907, the Pierce Arrow Motor Car Company Administration building on Elmwood Avenue, and many private homes. He married Allithea Birge daughter of George K and Carrie Birge. He also would design the Birge Memorial located in Forest Lawn. George Cary is buried in section F in Forest Lawn.

Pioneering U.S. Congresswoman

Shirley Chisholm was born Shirley Anita St. Hill in Brooklyn, New York.  In 1949, she married Conrad Chisholm and they both participated in local politics.  In 1964, she ran for and won a seat in the New York State Assembly.  Four years later, she entered the U.S. Congressional race. Her slogan was “Fighting Shirley Chisholm, Unbought and Unbossed.” She won the election and became the first African American woman elected to the United States Congress. She was re-elected to a second term in 1970.  She ran for president of the United States in 1972, and though she did not win the nomination, she did receive 151 delegates. She held her seat in Congress until 1982.  Shirley Chisholm was a champion of the poor, veterans and voice for those less fortunate.  She authored two books “Unbought and Unbossed” and “The Good Fight.” After a divorce from her first husband she married Arthur Hardwick, a Western New Yorker and former NY State Assembly member.  On January 31, 2014 the United States Postal service issued the Shirley Chisholm Black Heritage forever stamp in her honor. Most    recently, in November, 2015 she was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, which is the nation’s highest civilian honor, presented to individuals who have made especially meritorious contributions to the security or national interests of the United States, to world peace, or to cultural or other significant public or private endeavors. Shirley Chisholm is entombed in Forest Lawn’s Birchwood Mausoleum.

Click here to learn more about Shirley Chisholm! 

Mayor of Buffalo

George W. Clinton died on September 7, 1885.  He was the son of DeWitt Clinton, governor of New York, and was born in New York City while his father was serving as that city’s mayor.  Young William accompanied his father on the first ride on the Erie Canal.  He first went to medical school where he acquired his interest in science and botany.  Later he would study law and was admitted to the bar in 1831.  In 1836 he arrived in Buffalo.  Here he would be appointed U.S. district attorney and collector of customs.  In 1842 he became the first Democratic mayor elected in Buffalo.  In 1861, being a botanist, he helped establish the Buffalo Society of Natural Sciences.  Mr. Clinton would be the first president of the Society and hold the position for 20 years.  In 1881, he was appointed Park Commissioner of Buffalo.  On September 7, 1885 while walking through an Albany Cemetery visiting his ancestor’s graves, he would die when he bent over to pick some clover.  George W. Clinton is buried in section D in Forest Lawn.

Discovered the North Pole

Dr. Frederick Cook was an American explorer, physician, and ethnographer, noted for his claim of having reached the North Pole on April 21, 1908. This was a year before April 6, 1909, the date claimed by American explorer Robert Peary, and the accounts were disputed for several years.  Dr. Cook’s expedition did discover Meighen Island, the only discovery of an island in the American Arctic by a United States expedition.  After reviewing Dr. Cook’s limited records, a commission of the University of Copenhagen ruled in December 1909 that he had not proven that he reached the pole.  In 1911, Dr. Cook published a memoir of his expedition, continuing to assert their success.  Dr. Frederick Cook died on August 5, 1940 at the age of 75.  He is buried in section 21 in Forest Lawn.

Famous Broadway Performer

Jessica Brown Cornelius, a Ziegfeld Follies Girl and the “toast of Broadway” in the 1930s died on April 10, 1970. During her career, Mrs. Cornelius appeared in a number of highly successful Broadway productions, including “The Cohan Review” in 1918 (Produced by George M. Cohan), “Cinderella on Broadway” in 1920 and The Midnight Rounders of 1921.  She was a war worker during the blitz in London while her husband, the Earl of Northesk, was in embassy service for the British Government. Their residence, Earlwood, was adjacent to Queen Elizabeth II’s (then Princess Elizabeth’s) country home. Mrs. Cornelius’s parents were Jessica Waters Brown Starke and Frederick A Brown of Buffalo. When Mrs. Cornelius would come to visit her Mother (who resided at 735 Delaware Ave.), she was known to take horse back rides in Delaware Park.  Jessica Brown Cornelius is buried in section 8 in Forest Lawn.

Joseph Dart died on September 29, 1879.  In 1842, Mr. Dart designed the world’s first steam powered elevator to transfer grain and store it and revolutionized the handling of wheat.  As a result, Buffalo became the busiest grain transfer port in the world.  He attached buckets to a vertical belt and powered it by a steam engine. The buckets reached down into the wheat, scooped up the grain and dropped it into warehouses called grain elevators.  Joseph Dart is buried in section one in Forest Lawn.

Marian de Forest died on February 17, 1935 at the age of 71.  She was an American journalist, playwright, a major force in the progressive women’s movement, and founder of Zonta (later Zonta International), a service organization of female professionals.  A graduate the Buffalo Seminary (the youngest ever at that time), she began her career as a reporter – one of the first women in WNY in the profession.  She was a critic and editor of the women’s department at the Buffalo Express for 20 years.  Later, she became City Editor of the Buffalo Commercial newspaper. During the 1901 Pan-American Exposition in Buffalo, Marian served as Executive Secretary on the Board of Women Managers.  In 1911, she wrote the play “Little Women: A Comedy in Four Acts.”  The play is said to have launched the career of actress Katharine Cornell.  Marian went on to write more plays in her career.

On November 8, 1919 at the Hotel Statler in Buffalo, she founded the Zonta Club of Buffalo to improve the status of women worldwide.  She also played a major role in the founding of the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra, and in 1932 promoted the first POPS concert for unemployed musicians.

Marian was one of the first women asked to join the writing group called the Scribbler’s, founded by Charlotte Mulligan.  She was also devoted to animals, serving on the board of the SPCA for 14 years.  In October, 2001, Marian de Forest was inducted into the National Women’s Hall of Fame at Seneca Falls, NY. She was the first woman from Buffalo to be so honored.  She is buried in section one in Forest Lawn.

World-Renowned Architect who designed One Time Square in NYC

Cyrus Lazelle Warner Eidlitz died on October 5, 1921. Mr. Eidlitz was an American architect best known for designing One Times Square, the former New York Times Building on Times Square. He was founder of the architecture firm presently known as HLW International, one of the oldest architecture firms in the U. S. Mr. Eidlitz was born in New York City—the son of Lazelle Warner and influential New York architect Leopold Eidlitz, one of the founders of the American Institute of Architects. The young Eidlitz was educated in New York, Geneva, Switzerland and Stuttgart, where he studied architecture at the Polytechnic Institute. Eidlitz began his career working for his father. In 1903, he formed Eidlitz & McKenzie with Andrew McKenzie, who had been a construction supervisor and engineer for his father’s firm. Eidlitz & McKenzie worked primarily on telephone buildings, but their best known design was the New York Times Building. Their design used their expertise in connecting buildings to subterranean infrastructure. The building, the second-tallest in the city at the time, incorporated a subway stop into its basement levels. Times Square was named for the building. Eidlitz also designed the Bell Laboratories Building in Manhattan, the Dearborn Station in Chicago (1885) , and the Buffalo Library (1885-1887). Cyrus L. W. Eidlitz is buried in section 2 in Forest Lawn.

Accomplished Architect

August Esenwein was an accomplished architect, who, with his business partner James A. Johnson designed some of the most iconic buildings in the City of Buffalo, including the General Electric building, the Buffalo Science Museum, Lafayette High School, A M & A’s  department store, Harlow Curtiss House (now the International Institute), the Calumet building, the Touraine Hotel and Ward Pumping Station to mention a few. The firm was also one of the eight official architects for the Pan-American Exposition of 1901.  Esenwein and Johnson designed the Temple of Music, the building in which President McKinley was shot.  Mr. Esenwein is buried in section 10 in Forest Lawn.

Co-Founder of Wells Fargo & American Express

William Fargo died on August 3, 1881 at the age of 63. He was an incredibly successful entrepreneur who founded the American Express Company and Wells Fargo and Company, and also served as Mayor of Buffalo for two terms. Mr. Fargo was born in in Pompey, N.Y., the eldest of 12 children. His formal education ended at 13, when he began carrying mail over a 30-mile circuit for a local contractor. He subsequently worked in the grocery business, as a baker, and in a village inn. In 1840, he married Anna H. Williams; they had eight children, though four of them died very yound. In 1842, Fargo became a messenger for an express firm operating between Albany and Buffalo. Soon he was appointed agent of Pomeroy and Company in Buffalo. Through his association with Wells and Company (which operated the first express company west of Buffalo), Fargo became one of the founders of the American Express Company, which quickly became the largest express concern in the United States. In 1852, Fargo and some associates formed Wells, Fargo and Company to bring the services of an express company to the gold fields of California. American Express and Wells, Fargo combined facilities to provide rapid transportation of goods and communications between California, the Atlantic coast, Europe, and points in between. After an 1855 financial panic drove its most formidable rival into bankruptcy, Wells, Fargo was the dominant express company in the West, with hundreds of employees, thousands of head of stock, and hundreds of thousands of dollars in capital invested. In 1857, Fargo and some of his associates from American Express established the Overland Mail, the first transcontinental stage line. It served the west until the coming of the railroad in 1869. As an officer with the Northern Pacific Railroad, involved in the decision to bring rail to Centralia, North Dakota — after which the appreciative town changed its name to Fargo. Mr. Fargo was Mayor of Buffalo for two terms—serving 1862-1863 and 1864-1865.

In 1868, when he was 50, Fargo bought 5.5 acres on Buffalo’s west side and between 1868–1872, he built the Fargo Mansion at Jersey and Fargo Streets, which was Buffalo’s largest mansion. The home was completed in 1872 at a cost of $600,000 (equivalent to $12,805,000 in 2019). Another $100,000 (equivalent to $2,134,000 in 2019) was spent to furnish and decorate the 22,170-square-foot mansion. Michael Rizzo, a Buffalo historian, wrote: the ‘most elaborate and costly private mansion in the state,’ outside of New York City. The house took two city blocks, from Pennsylvania Avenue, West Avenue, Jersey Street, and Fargo Avenue. There was a central tower five stories high. At his request it contained wood from all the states of the Union. It was the first home in the city to contain an elevator in it, and it was said to have gold doorknobs.”

William Fargo is buried in section AA in Forest Lawn.

Millard Fillmore – Thirteenth President of the United States (1850-1853) Buried in section F of Forest Lawn.

Click here to learn more about Millard Filmore! 

Millard Fillmore’s Son

Millard Powers Fillmore, known to his family as “Powers,” was the son of Millard and Abigail Fillmore.  After graduating from Harvard, he became a lawyer and served as his father’s secretary while he was President of the United States.  Following the death of his mother, Millard Jr.’s father married Caroline Carmichael McIntosh –  a union which Millard Powers Fillmore reportedly never accepted.  When his father died, he engaged in a bitter battle with his stepmother over the terms of his father’s will, which young Millard won.  Milliard Powers Fillmore never married, and he being the last family member, the  Fillmore lineage ended. His will directed that all of his family correspondence (including that with his father) be burned, the motive for which was the subject of much speculation.  He is buried in  section F in the Fillmore family lot in Forest Lawn.

Daughter of President Millard Fillmore

Mary Abigail Fillmore died on July 26, 1854.  A native of Buffalo, N.Y., she studied at a private school in Lenox, Massachusetts, and graduated from New York State Normal School.  She spoke French fluently and was conversant in Spanish, German, and Italian.  She taught briefly in the Buffalo schools until her father   became President in 1850.  She was also an accomplished musician, who played the piano, harp, and guitar.  During her father’s presidency from 1850 to 1853 she often served as White House hostess, in part due to her mother’s illness, and while exercising this role, she performed at White House functions.  Abigail Fillmore died 24 days after Fillmore’s presidency ended, and Mary took over the management of her father’s household. She accompanied him to a variety of public functions  Sadly, she died very suddenly from cholera at age 22.  Her death is thought to have contributed to former president Fillmore’s decision to come out of retirement and resume his political career.  Mary Abigail Fillmore is buried in the Fillmore family lot in Section F of Forest Lawn.

Second Wife of President Millard Fillmore

Caroline Carmichael McIntosh Fillmore, second wife of 13th United States President Millard Fillmore, died on August 11, 1881 at the age of 67.  She was born in Morristown, New Jersey, the daughter of Charles Carmichael and Temperance Blachley Carmichael.   She married her first husband, Ezekiel C. McIntosh (1806–1855), a prosperous Troy, New York merchant and President of the Troy Schenectady Railroad in November 1832. They had no children, and McIntosh’s death at age 49 left her very wealthy.  She married Millard Fillmore on February 10, 1858 in Albany, New York.  At the time of their marriage, Caroline required Millard to sign a prenuptial agreement. They lived together for 16 years in a castle-like mansion at 52 Niagara Square and Delaware Avenue (the current site of the  Statler Office Building).  They are believed to have had a happy marriage (Caroline greatly enjoyed her newfound status as the wife of a former President), though in the 1860s her mental and physical health began to decline.  Her husband’s sudden death in 1874 (he had enjoyed relatively good health—especially when compared to hers—until just shortly before his fatal stroke) only succeeded in making her more infirm, eccentric, and temperamental.  Caroline survived the former president for seven years and was awarded a presidential widow’s pension privilege by Congress.  In her final years, she frequently changed her will, and upon her death, suits were initiated by various members of the Fillmore family  contesting her directives.  Caroline Carmichael McIntosh Fillmore is buried alongside her second husband, President Millard Fillmore, his first wife Abigail, as well as Millard and Abigail’s two children in section F in Forest Lawn.

Prominent Businessman

Charles W. Goodyear died on April 15, 1911.  Mr. Goodyear was born in Cortland, N.Y. and received his education in the Cortland and Wyoming Academies. After leaving school, he began the study of law, in which he was engaged until 1887.  That year he formed a partnership with his brother, Frank H. Goodyear, under the firm name of F. H. & C. W. Goodyear, in the lumber and railroad business.  The brothers went on to establish several companies, including the Buffalo and Susquehanna Railroad, Great Southern Lumber Company, Goodyear Lumber Co., Buffalo & Susquehanna Coal and Coke Co., and the New Orleans Great Northern Railroad Company.  Mr. Goodyear was also a director of Marine National Bank, and of General Railway Signal.  He married Ella Portia Conger.  The couple had four children and lived at 888 Delaware Ave, in a house built by architect E.B. Green.  Among his close friends were U.S. President Grover Cleveland, as well as Cleveland’s Secretary of State Daniel S. Lamont. He was widely considered instrumental in Cleveland receiving the nomination for President of the United States while Governor of New York.  Mr. Goodyear and his wife were the first guests of President Cleveland at the White House. Charles W.  Goodyear is buried in section H in Forest Lawn.

Successful Businessman

Frank Henry Goodyear died on May 13, 1907.  Mr. Goodyear was the son of a country doctor, Bradley Goodyear, and grew up in Holland, NY.   He came to Buffalo in 1872 at the age of 23.   In 1887, Goodyear and his brother, Charles Waterhouse, started a lumber company, F. H. & C. W. Goodyear  The business grew rapidly, as it pioneered the construction of standard built and equipped railroads for logging operations, penetrating the timber tracts of Pennsylvania, which had, up until that time, been inaccessible to railroads.  From this beginning grew the Buffalo & Susquehanna Railroad, a line that has opened up and give complete access to an area that previously had none.  Now the line became a permanent freight and passenger line, with 350 (eventually 450) miles of track.   During his highly successful career, Mr. Goodyear was president of the Buffalo & Susquehanna Railroad, the steamship company and iron company of the same name, and the New Orleans Great Northern Railroad.  He was also a partner in the Goodyear Lumber Company, and a director of the U.S. Leather Co. and the Marine National Bank.  He made significant donations to parks of Buffalo.  A project dear to his heart was a zoo for this city, which he offered to finance, but his offer was declined by our city fathers of the 1890s.  Mr. Goodyear was married to the former Josephine Looney, and the couple had three daughters and a son.  Frank H. Goodyear is entombed in the Goodyear family mausoleum, which is located in section 23 in Forest Lawn.

Owned the land which is now Forest Lawn

Erastus Granger arrived in Buffalo, NY in March of 1804, having recently been appointed by President Thomas Jefferson as Indian Agent to the Seneca Nation.  In 1806, he purchased property from  Captain William Johnston, which is today Forest Lawn Cemetery.  Prior to the War of 1812 and through the first year, Erastus Granger’s orders were to keep the Seneca’s neutral in the war with England. This he accomplished, until the Senecas declared War on the Mohawks who were allies to the British. On July 10, 1813 Granger summoned Red Jacket, the other Seneca Chiefs and warriors to his farm and prepare for battle. The next morning, the British attacked Black Rock and Granger led the Senecas in the fight to repulse them. At the Battle of Black Rock on December 23, 1813 he led them again in defending Black Rock and Buffalo. Granger then led the Seneca’s during the Niagara Campaign of 1814. Erastus Granger was a close friend and ally to Red Jacket and the Senecas. Their friendship would be written about for years to come. At the time of his death it was written that his estate consisted of almost 700 acres from Main Street to the Niagara River. Erastus Granger is buried in Section J in Forest Lawn.

Founder of Hengerer’s Department Store

William Hengerer was born in Germany, he came to the United States with his parents in 1849, settling in Pittsburgh, Pa, where he lived for 12 years.  He relocated to Buffalo in 1861 and found employment at the dry goods store of Sherman & Barnes, working as a clerk for $6 per week.  He enlisted in the 21st infantry when the Civil War began.  After a meritorious career at the front, he returned to Buffalo and his original position at Sherman & Barnes.  He worked his way up to becoming a partner in the firm and after Mr. Barnes’ retirement, in 1895 Mr. Hengerer founded the William Hengerer Company.  He served many years as a park commissioner and also served on the Pan American Exposition Board of Directors.  William Hengerer is buried in section 8 in Forest Lawn.

Civic Leader

Katharine Pratt Horton was the daughter of Pascal and Phoebe Pratt, and married John Miller Horton in 1869.   She was a talented singer, studying in Europe.  Mrs. Horton served on the Board of Women managers during the 1901 Pan-American Exposition.  She also served on many committees and was appointed by New York State to represent the state at many national events. Mrs. Horton was president of the City Federation of Women’s Clubs and Regent of the Katharine Pratt Horton Daughters of the Revolution (DAR) Chapter in Buffalo, as well as the Daughters of the War of 1812 chapter. The DAR Chapter was named in her honor, and it continues to carry on the tradition today. Katharine Pratt Horton is buried in section X in Forest Lawn.

Star of the Stage & Screen

Kathleen Howard was a Canadian born, American opera singer, magazine editor and character actress from the mid-1930s through the 1940s.  She spent her childhood in Buffalo.   Ms. Howard created the role of Zita in Giacomo Puccini’s Gianni Schicchi at the Metropolitan Opera in 1918.  She was also memorable as Amelia, the nagging, shrewish wife of W.C. Fields in the film It’s a Gift.  She appeared in two other films of W.C. Fields: You’re Telling Me! and Man on the Flying Trapeze. Ms. Howard was part of the repertory system in the opera houses of Metz and Darmstadt previous to World War I.  She told of her life as an opera singer in an autobiography, Confessions of an Opera Singer. Kathleen Howard is buried in section 25 in Forest Lawn.

Great Seneca Orator and Chief of the Wolf Clan

1750 – January 20, 1830
Red Jacket, the great Seneca orator and Chief of the Wolf Clan defended his people and represented them in councils. During the Revolutionary War he was a messenger for the British Army.  During the War of 1812 he sided with the American Army.  He was awarded a silver medal, which was presented to him by President George Washington in Philadelphia in 1792. He wore this medal proudly. When he died he was first buried in the old Reservation Cemetery in South Buffalo. However, his remains were removed to a secret location on the Cattaraugus Reservation in 1852.  In 1879, his remains were given to the Buffalo Historical Society by his grand niece Ruth Stevenson. His remains, with other Seneca Chiefs remains recovered from the Reservation Cemetery, would be interred in the Red Jacket lot of in section 12 of Forest Lawn Cemetery on October 9, 1884.

Click here to learn more about Red Jacket! 

Music Legend

February 1, 1948 – August 6, 2004
Rick James – Grammy Award-winning singer, songwriter and R&B/funk music star.  Buried in section 10 of Forest Lawn.

Click here to learn more about Rick James! 

Co-Founder of the SPCA

Mary Elizabeth Johnson Lord died on May 26, 1885.  Born in Buffalo in 1812, she was the daughter of the first Mayor of Buffalo, Ebenezer Johnson.   In 1828, she married Reverend John Lord, who later would later become a Presbyterian minister and the founder of the Central Presbyterian Church in Buffalo.  Mary Lord, with others, established the second Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) in the country in 1867.  Mary Lord also owned much property on the East side of Delaware Avenue which she would sell to the Buffalo City Cemetery, Forest Lawn, to develop as needed.  In addition, she founded an orphan asylum in the City of Buffalo.  Mary Elizabeth Johnson Lord is buried in section X in Forest Lawn.

Accomplished Religious Leader

The Rev. Leeland Newton Jones Jr. died on August 13, 2009 at the age of 87.  Born in Buffalo, he spent the first seven years of his life sleeping in the bed of his grandfather, a former slave who had fled from the South.  He was student body president and captain of the football and debate teams at Technical High School and president of the student government at the University at Buffalo. He also attended UB Law School. Rev. Jones’ studies at UB were interrupted by Army service during World War II.  He served stateside after  becoming the only African American in his Officer Candidate School graduating class at Fort Monmouth, N. J.  He served with the 15th Signal Corps Regiment, where he was a cryptograph security officer.   He was a member of the famed Tuskegee Air Corps.   At UB, Rev. Jones played on the football team and, in 1941, he became the first black member of an integrated UB football team to play on a field south of the Mason-Dixon Line. (The night before the game, at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Mr. Jones stayed at the home of Carl J. Murphy, owner and publisher of the Afro American newspaper because hotels in the area wouldn’t let him stay with his white teammates!)   Rev. Jones received many honors and awards during his life, including the 100 Most Outstanding Buffalonians of the Century.  He entered the ministry late in life and became an associate minister at Bethel AME Church.  Rev. Leeland Newton Jones Jr. is buried in section 31 in Forest Lawn.

Renowned Architect who perished aboard the Titanic

Edward Austin Kent died on April 15,1912. Mr. Kent was a renowned architect in Buffalo who was a passenger on the maiden voyage of the Titanic, which sunk and he perished. A story about his final hours were told that a fellow passenger Mrs. Helen Churchill Candee persuaded Edward Kent to take for safe keeping her most cherished possession, an ivory and gold miniature of her mother. She felt confident he would survive and they would meet later. Mr. Kent’s body was later found and identified. In his possession was the heirloom of her mother which was returned to Mrs. Candee. Of his valor that night on his stone is inscribed “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends”. Mr. Kent designed the Universalist Church in Buffalo, Temple Beth Zion, Flint and Kent Department store, Otto Store now Theater Place, Chemical 35 Firehouse, Douglass Cornell Home and many additional works. Edward Austin Kent is buried in section 7 in Forest Lawn.

Founder of Legendary Furniture Company

Irvine Kittinger died on July 12, 1941 at the age of 67.  He was born in 1874 on Buffalo’s West side. He married Gertrude Colie, who was the niece of George W. Colie, President of Colie & Son, which actually began operations in 1866 – just one year after the end of the Civil War – as a paper factory under the name of Thompson, Collie & Company.  By 1870, the company also began to manufacture upholstered furniture, and that business boomed. By 1885, they had opened a furniture plant that produced beautiful hand–crafted furniture in classic 18th century styles.  As part of the extended Colie family, Irvine Kittinger began working for Colie & Son in 1904.  After a few years with the firm, he was joined by his brother, Ralph.  In 1913, the Kittinger brothers acquired the firm from the Colie family and changed the name to the Kittinger Company.  Irvine was its president and general manager, while Ralph served as vice president and factory manager.  In 1917, the brothers then built a new Kittinger factory at 1893 Elmwood Ave.  Under their leadership, the Kittinger Company emerged as one of the nation’s leading manufacturers of handcrafted furniture, commissioned to produce pieces around the world, including the Oval Office fireside chairs and Cabinet Room conference table for the White House.  In 1966, the Kittinger family sold the company to General Interiors Corporation. Irvine Kittinger is buried in section 33 1/2 in Forest Lawn.

Founder of Men’s Clothing Store

Edward Kleinhans was originally from Pontiac, Michigan, Mr. Kleinhans came to Buffalo in 1893 with his brother Horace to start a new business. The two had previously operated clothing stores in Louisville, Kentucky and Chicago, Illinois. When they arrived in Buffalo they opened the H. Kleinhans & Company clothing store at 259 Main Street in what is now known as the Brisbane Building. Unfortunately, Kleinhans went bankrupt in 1902 and Herman Rosenberg of Rochester, NY purchased the company and became its controlling shareholder, while Edward Kleinhans became a minority shareholder—owning just one share. However, the name of the store was not changed. By 1923, Edward Kleinhans had rebuilt the business and regained control of the company as majority shareholder and its President, while Mr. Rosenberg held a minority stake and served as Corporate Secretary. In 1934, Edward Kleinhans died, followed four months later by his wife, Mary Seaton Kleinhans, who had been an accomplished pianist and vocalist. The couple left an estate valued at nearly $12 million to the City of Buffalo for the construction of a “world-class concert hall.” Construction of this new facility, known as Kleinhans Music Hall, was completed in 1940. It has since been home to the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra. Edward Kleinhans and Mary Seaton Kleinhans are buried in section 27 in Forest Lawn.

Benefactor of the Arts

Seymour H. Knox II was the Chairman of Marine Trust from 1943-1970. He was also Chairman of the F. W. Woolworth Company, New York Central and Penn Central and the American Steamship Company. Mr. Knox was a polo enthusiast and ranked among the world’s best. In the 1960’s he turned toward art and became an avid art collector. Ultimately, he became the greatest benefactor of the Albright Art Gallery. In addition to his gifts of hundreds of paintings, sculptures, and prints, Seymour Knox II was the principal contributor for the construction of an imposing new addition to the original classical building in 1962, at which time the gallery was renamed the Albright-Knox Art Gallery in recognition of Mr. Knox’s generosity. Seymour Knox II is entombed in the Knox family private mausoleum near Mirror Lake at Forest Lawn.

Successful Businessman & Co-Founder of the Buffalo Sabres

Northrup Knox died on July 23, 1998; Northrup Knox was a Buffalo banker, sportsman, active in the community, and who, along with his brother Seymour Knox III, brought the National Hockey League franchise Buffalo Sabres  to Buffalo.  Northup was also an outstanding polo player, gaining worldwide acclaim.  Northrup Knox is buried in Section 23 in Forest Lawn.

Founder of New Era Cap

Ehrhardt Koch died on November 8, 1953 at the age of 68. Mr. Koch was born in Germany and immigrated to the East side of Buffalo, N.Y. with his parents in the late 19th century. He started working for the Miller Brother’s Cap Company making caps in 1902. After 18 years with Miller, Koch borrowed $5,000 from his aunt and founded the New Era Cap Company with 14 employees on Genesee Street in 1920. Focusing on making high-quality men’s fashion headwear, New Era entered the market with the in-vogue, eight-panel Pacer-style cap known as the “Gatsby.” Wanting his son, Harold, to be involved in and appreciate the family business, Ehrhardt had him join the team. Harold started at the bottom, and worked his way up. Ehrhardt spent a lot of time teaching Harold every aspect of the New Era business, always driving home his belief that a superiorly produced, quality cap was the most important part of making the New Era customer happy; it would always keep the customer coming back for more. In 1932, the New Era Cap Company began to design baseball caps for the Major League Baseball and in 1934 the first baseball caps designed for the Major Leagues were for the Cleveland Indians – including their home and away caps. Ehrhardt Koch is buried in section 10 ½ in Forest Lawn.

Estate became Letchworth State Park

William P. Letchworth was born in Brownville, NY, the fourth of eight children of Josiah and Ann Hance Letchworth.  Raised as a Quaker, Letchworth learned the values of hard work, charity, and development of the intellect from his family.  By the age of 22 he was partner at Pratt & Letchworth, a company involved in the “malleable iron” business.  Although successful, Letchworth found the day-to-day operations of business burdensome. He sought refuge from the business world and decided to build a retreat estate. In 1859, he purchased his first tract of land near Portage Falls, NY.  Letchworth hired noted landscape architect William Webster to design the grounds of the estate, and named it Glen Iris. In 1906, he bequeathed his  estate to New York State. It now makes up the heart of Letchworth State Park.  He was also a director of many charitable agencies in New York State.  A stone ledger, taken from the Genesee River bed and carved to simulate water rippling over its surface covers the full length of William Letchworth’s grave in Section X in Forest Lawn.

Daniel Lockwood died on June 1, 1906 at the age of 62.  Born in Hamburg, NY, in Mr. Lockwood graduated from Union College in 1865. He went on the become a lawyer, and served as District Attorney of Erie County from 1874-77.  Lockwood was elected as a Democrat to the 43rd United States Congress, and served from 1877-79.  He was a delegate to the 1884 Democratic National Convention, where he nominated Grover Cleveland for President.  Lockwood was U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of New York, and was then elected again to the 52nd and 53rd U.S.  Congresses—serving from 1891-95. After the end of his political career he resumed his law   practice before serving as the general manager from New York at the Pan American Exposition in 1901, the site of William McKinley’s assassination.  In 1903,  Lockwood was appointed to the New York State Lunacy Commission, a position which he held until his death.  The original     Lockwood Library, which was on the University of Buffalo’s South Campus and designed by architect E.B. Green, was a gift of Thomas Lockwood, son of Daniel, and his wife Marion Birge Lockwood to the University, in memory of Daniel    Lockwood and Marion’s father George K. Birge.  Daniel Lockwood is buried in section 1 in Forest Lawn.

Mary Elizabeth Johnson Lord died on May 26, 1885. Born in Buffalo in 1812, she was the daughter of the first Mayor of Buffalo, Ebenezer Johnson. In 1828, she married Reverend John Lord, who later would later become a Presbyterian minister and the founder of the Central Presbyterian Church in Buffalo. Mary Lord, with others, established the second Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) in the country in 1867. Mary Lord also owned much property on the East side of Delaware Avenue which she would sell to the Buffalo City Cemetery, Forest Lawn, to develop as needed. In addition, she founded an orphan asylum in the City of Buffalo. Mary Elizabeth Johnson Lord is buried in section X in Forest Lawn.

Visionary Philanthropist

Maria Love died on July 19, 1931 at the age of 91. Born in Clarence, N.Y., she was a philanthropist and social visionary from an elite Buffalo family. Her father, Judge Thomas C. Love, was a veteran of the War of 1812, where he was wounded and captured at the American sortie at Fort Erie in 1814. He later became a prominent local abolitionist. Her brother was George Maltby Love, who was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor for his capturing the South Carolina battle flag during the Civil War. Maria Love was a staunch Episcopalian and a member of the Daughters of the American Revolution. She was one of the most prominent adherents to the “Social Gospel,” a movement among late 19th century Protestants who were fervently humanitarian and interested in the solution to urban problems, especially poverty. In 1881, she established the Fitch Crèche, at 159 Swan Street in Buffalo. She did so after a trip to France where she became aware of the plight of children of working mothers. The Fitch Crèche was nationally recognized as the first day care center for the children of working women in the United States – one which would serve as a model to be emulated by other American cities. She also worked with William Prior Letchworth to make arrangements for children from Buffalo orphanages to have two-week stays at his home at Glen Iris. In 1903, Miss Love organized a group of 31 prominent Buffalo women to raise funds and implement a program of convalescent respite care for mothers and their children. This was the beginning of what is known today as the Maria M. Love Convalescent Fund. Maria Love is buried in section F in Forest Lawn.

Founder of the National Weather Service

Brigadier General Albert Myer was graduate from the University of Buffalo Medical School, he joined the U.S. Army as a commissioned officer. He would become the founder of the U.S. Army Signal Corps and also the father of the National Weather Service. He married Catharine Walden, the daughter of Ebenezer Walden, the first lawyer of Buffalo and former mayor.  It was Catherine who built an incredible mausoleum in Forest Lawn, which was  designed by architect Richard Waite of Buffalo, for the Walden and Myer families. The mausoleum took five years (1880-85) to build at a cost of $80,000. General Myer is buried in this mausoleum, which is located in section X in Forest Lawn.

Accomplished Businessman & Philanthropist

John R.Oishei was born in Buffalo—one of eight children of Charles and Julia Oishei. In 1916, Oishei was driving down Delaware Avenue near Virginia Street in downtown Buffalo during a rainstorm. A bicyclist ran into the National Roadster he was driving at the time. Oishei never saw him coming, and even though the cyclist was not seriously injured, Oishei vowed to never let that happen again. He sought out the best technology available at the time to create the first automobile wiper blades, and grew the idea from a simple fix to worldwide use. In 1917, John R. Oishei founded Trico Products Corporation. He looked for a way to clear moisture from a driver’s line of vision, and decided to invest in the national marketing of an edged, hand-pulled rubber squeegee that was produced in Buffalo by an engineer named John Jepson. Within three years, Oishei’s sales team had successfully sold the accessory to Packard, Lincoln, Cadillac and Buffalo’s own Pierce-Arrow. Through those sales, Oishei raised enough capital to buy out Jepson in 1919, and when World War I ended, he expanded availability of the product to Europe and beyond.

Today, John R. Oishei’s legacy is still very much alive through the foundation which bears his name. It is Western New York’s largest private foundation. Among its most recent endeavors…Buffalo’s Women and Children’s Hospital has been renamed the John R. Oishei Children’s Hospital, as it prepares to move to its new home in Buffalo’s medical corridor. The Oishei Bell in Forest Lawn was also a gift of the Oishei Foundation.

John R. Oishei is entombed in a private family mausoleum in section 23 in Forest Lawn.

Medical Pioneer

Originally from Chicago, Illinois, Dr. Park came to Buffalo in 1883 to become Chief Surgeon at Buffalo General Hospital and professor of surgery at the University of Buffalo Medical School. In 1898, he established the first cancer research center in the world, for which he is most widely known. However, his contributions to medicine extend much further. He was a pioneer in neurosurgery and became the first American surgeon to successfully treat spina bifida, a serious birth defect. At a time when knowledge about the link between bacteria and infection was still very new, he waged an ongoing campaign urging physicians to operate in a sterile environment. Long before the federal government introduced laws to protect patients’ medical records, he insisted that “patients coming to us for help should be treated with every courtesy and…privacy.”

When President McKinley was shot in the stomach at the 1901 Pan-American Exposition in Buffalo , Dr Park was unavailable to attend to the President because he was performing an operation in Niagara Falls, NY.

After Dr. Park’s passing, the cancer institute he founded was named in his honor—the Roswell Park Cancer Institute. Dr. Park was one of the original directors of the Buffalo Cremation Company in 1885. He is buried in section H in Forest Lawn.

Civil War Legend

1828 – August 31, 1895
Ely Parker was a Seneca attorney, engineer, and tribal diplomat. He was commissioned a lieutenant colonel during the American Civil War, when he served as adjutant to General Ulysses S. Grant. He wrote the final draft of the Confederate surrender terms at Appomattox. Later in his career, Parker rose to the rank of Brevet Brigadier General, one of only two Native Americans to earn a general’s rank during the war. President Grant appointed him as Commissioner of Indian Affairs, the first Native American to hold that post.  Ely Parker is buried in section 12 in Forest Lawn.

Click here to learn more about Ely Parker!

Founder of the Pierce Arrow Motor Company

January 9, 1846 – March 23, 1910
George Norman Pierce was the founder of the Pierce Arrow Motor Car Company. He was born in Pennsylvania in 1846 and in 1863 came to Buffalo, NY. He first formed a company known as Heinz, Pierce and Munshauer which produced bathtubs, ice boxes, bird cages and refrigerators. In 1878, he left the company and formed the George N. Pierce and Company, where he produced children’s tricycles and later cushion tired bicycles. Near the turn of the century others invested in the company, and in 1900 he produced a gas powered “motorette” which was placed on the market. Two cars were built in 1901 and they were showcased at the Pan American Exposition in Buffalo.

The Pierce Arrow Motor Car Company got its start in 1907. George Pierce would leave the company in 1908. The company would stay in business until 1938 when it ceased operations. Some of the leading citizens of the day who owned a Pierce Arrow Motor Car were Charlie Chaplin, President Woodrow Wilson, George Rand, a Buffalo banker, actress Ginger Rogers, J.D. Rockefeller, Babe Ruth and President William Taft.

George Norman Pierce is entombed in the Pierce family mausoleum in section 2 in Forest Lawn.

Click here to learn more about George N. Pierce!

Prominent Business Leader

Samuel F. Pratt died on April 28, 1872. Mr. Pratt was born in Townsend, Vt., May 28, 1807, being a son of Samuel Pratt, Jr., and Sophia Fletcher. Soon after his birth, he came with his parents to Buffalo, where his early life and education were typical of the conditions of a frontier town. When he was twelve years old, he went to Canada as a clerk in a store, where he continued for the next three years. Returning to Buffalo, in 1822, he entered the hardware store of George and Thaddeus Weed. In 1828 Mr. Pratt, George Weed and Lucius Storrs formed a partnership as George Weed & Company. Mr. Weed died in 1828 and in 1829 his brother Thaddeus succeeded him in the business, which was continued as Weed & Pratt. In 1836 Mr. Pratt purchased the Weed interest and conducted the business till 1842, when with his brother Pascal P. Pratt, he established the well-known hardware house of S. F. Pratt & Company, with which he was for so many years identified. In 1845 Mr. Pratt and Mr. William P. Letchworth founded the firm of Pratt & Letchworth, manufacturers of saddlery hardware. In 1848 Mr. Pratt was a leading factor in the organization of the Buffalo Gas Light Company, and he served as its President to the time of his death. His family memorial in section X in Forest Lawn is a Gothic Revival miniature cathedral with a towering central spire and gargoyles. Classically draped, larger than life figures stand on pedestals a few feet out from each corner.

Prominent Banker

George Rand began his banking career at the age of 16 as a cashier.  He was only 21 when he was elected President of the First National Bank of Tonawanda.  He moved to Buffalo in 1901 and become President of the Columbia National Bank of Buffalo in 1902.  After a few years, he would become the President of the Marine National Bank of Buffalo, which later became  Marine Midland Bank.  During World War I, George Rand offered to finance an entire regiment of the United States Army at his own expense. However, President Wilson did not accept the offer. During a business trip to Europe in 1919, Mr. Rand was killed in a plane crash in England. The Rand building, located at 10 Lafayette Square, is named in his honor.  George Rand is buried in section H in Forest Lawn.

Preeminent Marine Biologist

Mary Jane Rathbun, preeminent marine biologist, died on April 4, 1943 at the age of 82. She was born in Buffalo, NY, the youngest of five children of Charles Rathbun and Jane Furey. Her mother died when she was only one year old, and Mary was therefore “thrown on her own resources.” She was schooled in Buffalo, graduating in 1878, but never attended college. Rathbun first saw the ocean in 1881 when she accompanied her brother, Richard Rathbun, to Woods Hole, Massachusetts. He was employed as a scientific assistant to Addison Emery Verrill, alongside Verrill’s chief assistant, the carcinologist Sidney Irving Smith. Rathbun helped label, sort and record Smith’s specimens, and worked on crustaceans ever since. For three years, Rathbun worked on a voluntary basis for her brother, before being granted a clerkship by Spencer Fullerton Baird at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C. She continued to work at the museum, largely unaided, and after 28 years, she was promoted to assistant curator in charge of the Division of Crustacea. In 1915, after her retirement, the Smithsonian Institution designated Rathbun an “Honorary Research Associate”, and in 1916 she was granted an honorary master’s degree by the University of Pittsburgh. She qualified for a Ph.D. at George Washington University in 1917. She died from complications associated with a broken hip. Mary Jane Rathburn is buried in section 4 in Forest Lawn.

Olympic Gold Medalist

Charles Reidpath, Olympic gold medalist died on October 21, 1975. Born in Buffalo, and a graduate of Lafayette High School, it was while at Syracuse University 1908 – 1912 that Reidpath became a collegiate track star, winning the 220 yd (201 m) and 440 yd (402 m) dashes in the 1912 intercollegiate games. On graduating from Syracuse in 1912 with a degree in civil engineering, Reidpath was pressured by relatives to quit sports and take a position with the family business in Buffalo. Instead, he made the U.S. Olympic track team, and headed to Stockholm, Sweden. He took home two gold medals. Reidpath won the 400 m in an Olympic record shattering time of 48.2 seconds. Then, running the anchor leg of the 4 × 400 m relay, Reidpath helped the U.S. team set a world record of 3:16.6. In the 200 metres competition he finished fifth. Mr, Reidpath was also a U.S. military veteran. He was a Lieutenant Colonel who served in England, France and Belgium in the Transportation Corps during World War II, winning battle stars for the Northern France and Rheinland campaigns. Reidpath was made a Brigadier General when he retired from the New York National Guard in 1948. He is a member of the Lafayette High School Sports Hall of fame and was inducted into the Greater Buffalo Sports Hall of Fame in 2007. His cousin was Isabelle Reidpath Martin, wife of Darwin Martin. He died in Kenmore, New York, in 1975 and is buried in Section 1 in Forest Lawn.

Major General Bennet Riley died on June 9, 1853 at the age of 65. Born in Maryland in 1787, he volunteered for service in the War of 1812, during which he served as a Lieutenant in the United States Army Corps of Riflemen. He was, for a time, commander of the Buffalo Barracks in Buffalo, N.Y. He went on to fight the Mexican War and in Indian wars across a number of frontier states and territories. After the Mexican War, he was appointed as the sixth and last Military Governor of California by President James Polk. During his time in this position, Riley ordered the election of representatives to a state constitutional convention, and handed over all civil authority to a Governor and elected delegates at the end of 1849. The following year, California joined the U.S. as a state. After this Riley retired and lived in Buffalo. His home was on the west side of Main Street just south of Northampton St. Riley Street in Buffalo is named after him, as is Fort Riley in Kansas – one of just three generals for whom a military post is named. Major General Bennet Riley is buried in section E in Forest Lawn.

Mother of the American Detective Story

Anna Katharine Green Rohlfs died on April 11, 1935 at the age of 89. Called the “Mother of the American Detective Story”, Anna’s 1878 book The Leavenworth Case is widely regarded as the first American detective novel. It is also the first such novel ever written by a woman, and in the views of some historians, the first bona fide American bestseller, selling a staggering 250,000 copies over a 15-year period. Born in 1846 in New York, Anna was the daughter of a prominent attorney (who was the source of her knowledge of legal and police matters). She was college educated—rare for a woman of that time—and initially embarked on a career as a poet, but found no success. She began working on The Leavenworth Case: A Lawyer’s Story in secret and spent six years on the manuscript, an effort that resulted in overnight success and fame upon its publication by G.P. Putnam’s Sons. Green would marry and ultimately support a struggling young actor named Charles Rohlfs, who would later appear in a stage production of The Leavenworth Case before finding great success as a furniture designer. (Some of his work can be found in Buckingham Palace.) Mrs. Green Rohlf’s influence and reputation were so great at the time that Arthur Conan Doyle (creator of Sherlock Holmes) made a point of seeking her out during an 1894 visit to the United States. Green raised a family, but still managed to turn out more than three dozen more books over the next 45 years. None of them would have the impact of The Leavenworth Case, which was so highly regarded for its insight into legal matters that it was used in Yale University law classes as an example of the perils of trusting circumstantial evidence. Anna Katharine Green Rohlfs is buried in section 27 in Forest Lawn.

Prominent Business Leader

Aaron Rumsey died on April 8, 1864. Mr. Rumsey was born in Hubbardstown, Vermont, in 1797. His brother Calvin had left home and settled in Warsaw where he set up and operated a tannery. Aaron eventually joined him. He married Sophia Phelps in 1819. They had two sons, Bronson Case, Dexter Phelps, and one daughter—Eleanor. The family came to Buffalo in 1832. There, Mr. Rumsey established a tannery located on the south side of the Main and Hamburg Streets canal, near Alabama Street. Over time, he built other tanneries throughout WNY. This was a lucrative business. Hides shipped down Lake Erie from the West sold cheap in the Buffalo market. As a consequence tanneries multiplied, and the manufacture of leather thrived. By 1835 at least every town in the county [Erie] had a tannery, some two or three. In 1838, Rumsey took on as a partner George Howard. The result was Rumsey & Howard. But after Howard left, Aaron took on his sons, Bronson and Dexter, who had been clerking for him, as partners in Aaron Rumsey & Company. Its Buffalo operation was on Exchange Street across from the Central Station. When their father died in 1864, the Rumsey brothers inherited the company and turned A. Rumsey & Company into one of the leading leather firms in the United States. The business was eventually absorbed by the United States Leather Company in 1893. The brothers invested much of their fortune into real estate in the City of Buffalo. It is said that at one point, they owned 22 of the 43 square miles that comprised Buffalo. Aaron Rumsey is buried in section X in Forest Lawn

John N. Scatcherd died on September 23, 1917. Mr. Scatcherd was prominent in Buffalo’s financial,lumbering and manufacturing circles. He was born in Buffalo in 1857 and received his education in the Buffalo public schools. He graduated from Helmuth College, in London, Ontario and joined his father’s lumber firm, eventually becoming a partner in it. Upon the death of his father, the young Scatcherd, ran the firm, which was one of the largest hardwood lumber concerns in the country. He was also president of The Batavia and New York Woodworking Company, which manufactured high-end cabinets. This plant is one of the largest of its kind in the U.S. Mr. Scatcherd also served for a time as president of the Bank of Buffalo. Perhaps his greatest service to his city was as chairman of the executive committee of the board of directors of the Pan-American Exposition in 1901. This committee was in charge of the enterprise and wholly responsible for it. Mr. Scatcherd was with President William McKinley in the Temple of Music when the President was shot. He was also in attendance at the inauguration of President Theodore Roosevelt at the Wilcox residence on September 14, 1901 when he was sworn in as president. The high silk hat worn by President Roosevelt at the time of the inauguration was provided by Mr. Scatcherd. John N. Scatcherd is buried in section 12 in Forest Lawn.


Russian Prince, Godson to Czar Nicholas II

Prince Kyril Scherbatow of Russia died on April 13, 1993 at the age of 90. He was a native of St. Petersburg. Godson to Czar Nicholas II, both his parental families belonged to the House of Rurik, which founded Russia. His father, Prince Paul Scherbatow, was a colonel and aide de camp to Grand Duke Nicholas of Russia, commander of the Russian Army on the Western and Turkish fronts in World War I. His mother, Princess Anna Bariatinsky, was lady-in-waiting to Empress Alexandra of Russia. As a child he played in the palace of the Czar, and he knew Rasputin, who was later killed by the prince’s uncles. After the Bolshevik revolution, he fled to Constantinople as a teen-ager. He served as an interpreter for the British Royal Navy, then studied in Bulgaria and Belgium. He went on to work in banking in Brussels and Paris in the 1920’s, then in 1932 he immigrated to the United States as a representative for Veuve Cliquot champagne. In 1939, he married Adelaide Sedgwick Munroe, and they operated guest homes in Jamaica and Bermuda for society and celebrity visitors. She died in 1968. After living years in Europe he moved to the United States and married a Buffalo, NY native, Lucile Forman in 1971. They lived in Bermuda and New York and were frequent visitors to Buffalo. Prince Kyril Scherbatow and Lucile Forman Scherbatow are entombed in a family sarcophagus in section 23 in Forest Lawn.

Jacob Schoellkopf died on September 15, 1899. Mr. Schoellkopf would become known as “King Jacob” with the reputation that everything he touched turned to gold. He was born in Germany in 1819 and came to New York City in 1841. In 1844, he arrived in Buffalo and established a small leather store. Shortly thereafter he would also purchase a small tannery in Buffalo. In 1848, he built a tannery in Milwaukee, WI. He later would erect a flour mill and a brewery. With his building flouring mills in Niagara Falls, water power was utilized, and Mr. Schoellkopf became president of the Hydraulic Power and Manufacturing Company. He would later purchase more businesses in water power. He was an officer of many banks as well as the gas company. He was devoted to his church and helpful to those in need. He and his family became icons in the German community. Mr. Schoellkopf served as a trustee of The Buffalo City Cemetery from 1881-1889. Jacob Schoellkopf is buried in section F in Forest Lawn.

Accomplished Musician & Photographer

Rev. Willie Brown Seals died on April 19, 1995. Rev. Seals was an accomplished musician who played both the piano and organ; he would also become a photographer who preserved much of the history of the East side of Buffalo through his photography of it. His photography of the African American community has been on display in many of our cultural institutions. Rev. Seals served as pastor of the Cold Springs Baptist Church in the late 1950’s. He was an accomplished musician who played both organ and piano. As a result of Rev. Seal’s love of photography, a great deal of history of the African American community has been recorded by him. The historical value of his work is enormous and places Rev. Seals squarely in the annals of local historians. Rev. Willie Brown Seals is buried in section N in Forest Lawn.

Civil War Figure & Sculptor

Col. George H. Selkirk died on May 18, 1925. Col. Selkirk was born in Buffalo on February 10, 1835. His father, John Selkirk was a local architect. George first studied and followed the art of sculpture in Europe. As a sculptor, he completed two pieces of merit. They were the busts of President Millard Fillmore and the Reverend John C. Lord. But when the Civil War broke out in 1861, he enlisted as a lieutenant of Co. D, 49th New York Volunteers. He served for 4 years, becoming captain, major and then colonel of his regiment. He escorted General Daniel Bidwell’s body home after he had been killed. Col. Selkirk was wounded in the wilderness at the fight called the “Bloody Angle.” After the war, he was one of the proprietors of the Buffalo Express newspaper for several years (along with friends Mark Twain and Josephus Larned) and served as Secretary of the Buffalo Park Commission. Col. George H. Selkirk is buried in section R in Forest Lawn.

Legendary Saxophonist

Elvin J. “Shep” Shepherd, legendary saxophonist was an accompanied the likes of Della Reese, Aretha Franklin, Ray Price and Gladys Knight, and at one time worked in a trumpet section that consisted of himself, Miles Davis and Dizzy Gillespie. He is buried in section 36 in Forest Lawn.

Successful Businessman

Sidney Shepard was born in 1814 in the village of Cobleskill, NY, Mr. Shepard started in the hardware business at the age of 14. When he was only 21 he purchased his first store in Rochester, NY. In 1836, he moved to Buffalo and became a partner in the Crane and Shepard Hardware Store. The following year he became the sole owner of the business. In 1849, he founded the Shepard Iron Works. The firm would eventually become one of the nation’s largest importers of tin plate, manufacturers of stamped metal ware and dealers in hardware supplies. Accumulating means, and early realizing the advantages of the electric telegraph to merchants and others, he personally promoted several pioneer lines in the western United States, and became one of the largest stockholders in the Western Union Telegraph Company. Mr. Shepard was one of the original trustees of the Buffalo City Cemetery in 1864, which took over Forest Lawn in 1865. He served as a trustee from 1864-1868. Sydney Shepard is entombed in an impressive private family mausoleum located in section 5 in Forest Lawn.


William J. Simon Jr. was the son of William Simon, the founder of the Simon Pure Brewery. The William Simon Brewery started in 1894 after William Simon Sr, who had served as brew master for a few breweries in the city, purchased the John Schussler brewery. In 1900, the name Schussler was dropped and the William Simon Brewery was started. His son, William Simon Jr. ran the business after his father’s death. The Simon Pure Brewery was the last of the Buffalo breweries. It closed in 1973 and its brands were purchased and produced by the Fred Koch Brewery of Dunkirk, NY, until it too closed in 1980. William Simon Jr. is buried in section 24 in Forest Lawn.

Mother of Alpha Phi Alpha

Annie Singleton, civil rights pioneer, died on July 25, 1960. Born in Alabama in 1872, her father, who was born a slave, was from Louisiana; her mother from South Carolina. In 1904, Annie married Archie Singleton and the couple moved north. They bought a house at 411 East State Street in Ithaca, New York, located at the foot of the hill of the Cornell University campus. By 1906, the civil rights movement in America was in its infancy. And so, although there were a small number of black students studying at Cornell, they were not allowed to live on campus. Annie Singleton viewed this policy as discriminatory and just plain wrong. She decided to rent an upper bedroom of her home to a young man from Washington, D.C. named Robert Harold Ogle. Soon, Robert had invited six other young black male students to join him at the Singleton house to create a literary society. Annie provided maternal support and hot meals. These young black men, known on campus as “the jewels” eventually formed the first black Greek letter college organization and Alpha Phi Alpha was born – becoming the model for other fraternal societies to follow. By 1939, the fraternity had grown into a national organization, and Annie Singleton she was officially designated the “Mother of Alpha Phi Alpha.” Annie Singleton is buried in section 41 in Forest Lawn.

Renowned Leader in the Faith Community

Rev. Bennett Smith, long-time pastor of St. John the Baptist Church in Buffalo, died on August 7, 2001. Rev. Smith was born in a small town in Alabama in 1933. He joined the U.S. Air Force, where he served for 4 years before going on to Tennessee State University to earn his degree in education. Rev. Smith was very active in the civil rights movement of the 1960’s – marching with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in Selma, Alabama and working closely with Rev. Jesse Jackson. He was ordained into the ministry in Cincinnati, Ohio and served as pastor of First Baptist Church Mount Auburn in Cincinnati. After the death of St. John the Baptist Church’s founding pastor, Rev. Bernie C. McCarley, in 1972, Rev. Smith was called to Buffalo. When he arrived, he began to significantly expanded St. John’s – not only its physical space, but also its ministries, including the addition of St. John’s Christian Academy, the McCarley Gardens housing project for low-income residents, and the St. John Senior Citizens Towers, among others. His progressive ideas also influenced other local churches to follow his lead. He was recognized for his efforts both locally and nationally. Rev. Smith was named to the lists of Who’s Who Among Black Americans, Who’s Who in Religion and Ebony Magazine’s 100+ Most Influential Black Americans. He received the Conference of Christians and Jews special Recognition Award, the Black Achievers Award of Excellence, the Buffalo Urban League’s highest award, and was named “Outstanding Citizen of the Year” by the Buffalo News. Rev. Bennett Smith, is entombed in Forest Lawn’s Rosewood Mausoleum.

Inventor of the Electric Chair

Alfred P. Southwick was a Buffalo dentist whose experiments with electric current led to his creating the electric chair to be used in the execution of criminals. William Kemmler was executed on August 6, 1890 at Auburn NY prison for the murder of Matilda “Tillie” Ziegler. Kemmler was the first electrocution of a murderer conducted in America. Southwick is buried in section 31 of Forest Lawn.

“Father of the Greenback”

Elbridge G. Spaulding died on May 5, 1897. Born in Summer Hill, NY, he was a descendant of one of the oldest families in America. His ancestor, Edward Spaulding was an English Puritan, who settled in Massachusetts soon after the arrival of the Mayflower. Elbridge Spaulding began the study of law in the office of Fitch & Dibble at Batavia, NY. He completed his studies in Attica, NY and was admitted to the bar in Genesee County. In 1834, he moved to Buffalo, and became a clerk in the office of Potter & Babcock, leading attorneys in the city. Entering politics, he held the offices of City Clerk in Buffalo and was elected Alderman of the Third Ward. He became the Mayor of Buffalo in 1847 and later became a member of the NY State Assembly. Spaulding was elected as a Whig to the 31st United States Congress, serving from 1849 to 1851. He was elected again to the U.S. House of Representatives as a Republican, serving from 1859 to 1863. It was said that Spaulding was the one who figured out that the American government needed to print money to pay for the Civil War. At the time, it was regarded as economic heresy, but today many believe that the country would not have survived without it. Such an idea was then dismissed by some as “fiat money” – money that is money not because it is backed by gold or silver, but because some government says it is money. He was Chairman of a House Ways and Means Subcommittee when the government was in danger of running out of money to pay for the war. He wrote a law that allowed the government to print money and declare it had to be accepted as legal tender. By doing so, he became known as the “Father of the Greenback.” Elbridge Spaulding is buried in section G in Forest Lawn.

Margaret St. John died on September 29, 1847. She had lost her son Cyrus in 1812, during the war to camp disease. On June 6, 1813, she would lose her husband Gamaliel and son Elijah, as they both drowned in the Niagara River ferrying supplies to the American army at Fort Erie. When the British attacked Buffalo on December 30, 1813, she sent seven of her nine remaining children to safety, keeping Maria and Sarah with her as the British closed in. Margaret actually was able to save, on the first day, both of her houses. However, when the British returned on January 1, 1814 she would only be able to save one of the two. The other was burned down. The St John house was one of three structures that remained in intact after the British attack. She stood up to the British and was able to save one house and her daughters. As a result of her actions and bravery she became a heroine of the War of 1812. Margaret St. John is buried in section 2 in Forest Lawn.

One of the “Singing Sutherland Sisters”

Victoria Sutherland Craw died on May 14, 1902. She was one of the famous singing Sutherland Sisters—seven daughters of Fletcher and Mary Sutherland, from Cambria, New York. The sisters seemed destined to occupy the limelight from childhood, as the quality of their singing voices became known far and wide. A New York theatrical producer about to open a new theatre on Broadway induced the sisters to give a concert on opening night. From that time on their fame grew. They presented concerts throughout the State. However, it was the loss of their father’s hair that was destined to open a new channel for their activities. Perturbed by his thinning hair, Fletcher Sutherland was determined to find a cure. He created a hair growth tonic, and from their early childhood, his daughters groomed their hair with it – growing thick, healthy heads of hair. Photographs of their flowing tresses, appearing like silken trains, were admired all over the country. In 1882, the sisters signed a deal to tour with W.W. Coles Colossal Shows, and by 1884, the sisters had joined Barnum and Bailey’s Greatest Show on Earth as a sideshow attraction. P.T. Barnum himself dubbed them, “the seven most pleasing wonders of the world.” Victoria had the longest hair of all the girls, a full 7 feet from the top of her head to the ends. One fan offered her $2,500 to cut off all her hair. She refused, but did sell one strand of hair to a jeweler for $25. The jeweler then suspended a seven carat diamond from the hair, in his shop window. Victoria was always considered a beauty. In 1898, she married Wesley Craw, a 19-year-old preacher’s son, when she was 49. Her sisters were outraged and kicked her out of the family mansion. She was ostracized from them the rest of her short life. She passed away in 1902 at age 53, at her residence in New York City. Victoria Sutherland Craw is buried in section 1 in Forest Lawn.

Civil Rights Pioneer

Mary Burnett Talbert was born in Oberlin, Ohio and graduated from Oberlin College. She went on to have an illustrious career as a social activist. In 1887, she was elected assistant principal of Little Rock, Arkansas High School. This was the highest position held by any woman in the state, and she was the only black woman to hold such a high position at the time. Mary Burnett would marry William H. Talbert of Buffalo in 1891, and soon thereafter moved to Buffalo, where she continued the work to which she dedicated her life. She was a driving force behind the formation of the Niagara Movement, which was established in 1905 and was the foundation for the NAACP in 1915. Mary Talbert was a patriotic worker during World War I, serving as a nurse in France. She worked for minority and women’s rights throughout the world, traveling and lecturing. Some say her greatest hour was the work she did on the anti-lynching crusade. Mary Burnett Talbert was inducted onto the National Women’s Hall of Fame in 2005, and Talbert Hall at the University of Buffalo is named in her honor. She is buried in section A in Forest Lawn.

Founder of the ER Thomas Motor Company

Edwin R. Thomas died on September 13, 1936 at the age of 86. Born in Pennsylvania, Mr. Thomas was educated in Indiana, and after college entered the business of marine transportation. He would continue in the marine and railway transportation industry for about 25 years. In 1895, he engaged in the manufacturing of Cleveland Bicycles in Toronto, Canada. In 1900, he moved to Buffalo where he began to manufacture motorcycles, before turning his attention to automobiles. He became the sole owner of the E.R. Thomas Motor Company. The firm became one of the world’s leading concerns of its kind. On February 12, 1908, six automobiles started on what is still regarded in automobile circles as the greatest endurance race ever held – a dash virtually around the world. Mr. Thomas entered his 1907 Thomas Flyer in the race representing the United States, and it won. In 1911, Mr. Thomas retired from the automobile business and his company was sold to the United States Motor Company. The E.R. Thomas Motor Company was located on Niagara Street, and the building still stands. Edwin R. Thomas is buried in Section 26 in Forest Lawn.

Visionary Philanthropist

James Tillinghast died on October 25, 1898. Mr. Tillinghast was assistant to the president of the New York Central Railroad and president of the Wagner Sleeping Car Company. He was a close friend of Commodore Vanderbilt, who expressed, on more than one occasion, admiration for Mr. Tillinghast’s extensive practical knowledge of railroading and respect for his judgment. Mr. Tillinghast was born in Cooperstown, New York in 1822. His working career started as a store clerk. Eventually he would be part owner of a country store. After this he worked on ships and then got interested in the railroad business. In 1882, Mr. Tillinghast came to Buffalo to organize, with two partners, a line of steam propeller ships on the Great Lakes. Subsequently, he was identified with the Michigan, Southern, Buffalo & Erie, and the New York Central roads. When Vanderbilt obtained control of the New York Central Road, one of his first acts was to name Mr. Tillinghast its superintendent with headquarters in Albany. Under his administration, tonnage hauled on that road increased tenfold while freight rates decreased. In 1881, he was appointed assistant to the president of the New York Central Railroad. Mr. Tillinghast was also vice-president of the Niagara River Bridge Company, which built the cantilever bridge at the Falls, opened in 1883. James Tillinghast is buried in section 2 in Forest Lawn.

Judge played a key role in establishing Buffalo Harbor

Charles Townsend died on September 14, 1847. Mr. Townsend was born in Norwich, Connecticut in 1786. There he worked in a drugstore. He moved to Buffalo in 1811 with his friend and business partner, George Coit. In Buffalo they established the same type of business. The day before Buffalo was attacked by the British on December 30, 1813, Coit and Townsend left the village of Buffalo, fearful of an attack. They returned in the spring and reestablished their business. Later, they engaged in ship-building and lake transportation. In 1813, Mr. Townsend was appointed Judge of Niagara County, an office which he held till 1826. In 1819, he married Jane Corning of Albany. The couple would have six children. Judge Townsend took a leading part in securing a harbor for Buffalo. In 1821, he, Mr. Coit, and two other citizens mortgaged their private property to the State and obtained a loan of $12,000 for the purpose of building the harbor. The work was accomplished, and on its success the project was taken up by the State and later by the Federal Government – the outcome being the rebuilding of the harbor in its present form. In this courageous act of Judge Townsend and his coadjutors in pledging their own property for the benefit of the public, was the germ of the greatness of the port of Buffalo. The Townsend name is also identified with the origin of that financial institution, the Buffalo Savings Bank. The bank was organized May 9, 1846, with Judge Townsend being elected its first President, an office which he continued to hold until his death. Charles Townsend is buried in section R in Forest Lawn.

Prominent Philanthropist

Philanthropist Margaret L. Wendt was the daughter of William and Mary Geis Wendt. Her father was one of the founders of the Buffalo Forge Company. In 1957, the Margaret L. Wendt Foundation was created for charitable purposes. To this day, the Foundation, in Margaret’s name, continues to help organizations across our area. The only building named in Margaret’s honor is our own Margaret L. Wendt Archive and Resource Center.

Great Granddaughter of Martha Washington

America Pinckney Peter Williams died on April 25, 1842. She was the Great Granddaughter of Martha Washington. America married Capt. William Williams, a graduate of the United States Military Academy at West Point, New York. Capt. Williams was ordered to Buffalo, New York to examine the harbor and to also study a route around Niagara Falls on the American side. They came to Buffalo in 1840, with five children and took up residence on the Darrow Block of the city. For some unknown cause, America Pinckney Williams passed on April 25, 1842. She was first buried in the North Street Cemetery. Capt. Williams would later be killed on September 21, 1846 while leading a charge at the battle of Monterey, Mexico. When his body was returned to Buffalo, in 1847, he was buried alongside America’s in North Street Cemetery. They both were removed from North Street Cemetery in 1901 and interred in section A in Forest Lawn.

World Record Setting Runner

Deerfoot, (Lewis Bennett) or Hut-goh-so-do-neh in his native tongue, died on January 17, 1896. He was born into the Seneca tribe on the Cattaraugus Reservation in 1828. Deerfoot gained fame as runner — dominating the long-distance racing scene in the United States and abroad in the mid-19th century. He won his first race in 1856 at the Erie County Fair, running five miles in 25 minutes. His victory earned him a purse of $50. His reputation spread beyond WNY, and he raced frequently at fairs all over the Northeast. An English sports promoter learned about him and booked Deerfoot on a 20-month European tour, where he went from mysterious runner, to entertainer, to world record holder. The intense competition against the best British and Irish runners helped him improve dramatically. With the aid of pace makers, he set world records of 10 miles in 51:26 and 12 miles in 1:02:02. Deerfoot’s physical appearance and manners added to his attraction. He stood tall, at almost 6 feet, and weighed 160 pounds. He ran most of his races with a bare chest, wearing a feather apron around his waist and a band with one eagle feather around his head. His dark complexion was a stark contrast to the sun-starved British athletes. And he yelled war whoops as he raced to victory. His popularity extended rapidly beyond the racing crowd, and The Prince of Wales attended many races and contributed to the purse. He was inducted in the Greater Buffalo Sports Hall of Fame in 2011. Deerfoot is buried in section 12 in Forest Lawn.  To read the story about his jacket, published in the Buffalo News, click here.