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Archive for October 20th, 2021

shumwayShumway Street is a north-south street running between Broadway and Howard Street in the Emslie Neighborhood on the East Side of Buffalo.

The street is named for Horatio Shumway.  Mr. Shumway was born in Belchertown, Massachusetts in 1788.  Schools were hard to come by at that time in his hometown, so he prepared for college on his own.  He attended Middlebury College in Vermont.  After graduation, he taught school while he trained as a lawyer in Watertown at the office of Luther Bradish.  In 1824, Mr. Shumway decided to go west to St. Louis.  At the time, transportation westward was uncertain, precarious and in some areas, non-existent.  Mr. Shumway arrived around Buffalo during a blizzard.  He intended to leave Buffalo via boat for Chicago, but the lake was icebound.  He was forced to wait until the lake thawed.  While waiting, he decided that he really liked Buffalo and decided to stay.  I guess I could have named this entry “Get Stuck in a Blizzard, Get a Street Named After You!”

In 1831, Mr. Shumway was involved in the incorporation of the City of Buffalo, which occurred in April 1832.  In 1838, he was involved in a series of meetings involving the creation of public school services.  When Buffalo City Water Works was incorporated in 1851, Mr Shumway was also involved.

Elected in 1846, Mr. Shumway represented Buffalo in the New York State Assembly.  Mr. Shumway introduced to the Legislature the first bill to guarantee the protection of a married woman’s property rights.  Mr. Shumway worked tirelessly until it became a law.  Prior to this law, a husband could dispose of his wife’s property anyway he saw fit.   The Married Women’s Property Act of 1848 became an important law as it served as a template for other laws across the country.  While America gets much of its legal precedent from British Common Law, a similar statute was not passed by Parliament until 1882!  This law created an exception to the rule that a man and a woman who were married were considered one single unit.  Women who inherited land from their father’s estates were now allowed to own the property, instead of it going to her husband.  After his time in the legislature, Mr. Shumway decided public life was not for him and continued his private law practice.

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64 Franklin Street Source: Buffalo Times

Mr. Shumway married Mary Haywood, a member of another prominent early Buffalo family.  The Shumway family lived at 64 Franklin Street.  Mary Haywood came to Buffalo after her brother, Russell Heywood, had established himself in a department store at the corner of Pearl and Seneca Street.  The Shumways had one daughter, also named Mary, who was one of the early graduates of Buffalo Female Academy.  Mary Shumway married George F Lee.  Following Mr. Shumway’s death, Mrs. Shumway and Mary moved to 299 Delaware Avenue.  The Franklin Street property was sold to Miss Nardin, principal of St Mary’s Academy.  Ernestine Nardin began the school on Pearl Street and East Seneca in 1857, but moved to the corner of Franklin and Church Streets in 1868.  In 1890, the school moved to Cleveland Avenue. While the school was officially named “St. Mary’s Academy and Industrial Female School”, it was known around town as Miss Nardin’s Academy.  In 1917, the school officially changed its name to The Nardin Academy.  The house at 64 Franklin Street stood between the school and St. Joseph’s Cathedral, which is still standing.  The 64 Franklin Street property was used to house the Italian nuns who taught on Fly Street at Our Lady of Mount Caramel school, just down the street at what is now Canalside.

Mr. Shumway was the first President of First Presbyterian Society, which built First Presbyterian Church.  Through their work with the church, Mr. Shumway was a close friend of Jabez Goodell.  Mr. Shumway was also president of the Buffalo Female Academy, now Buffalo Seminary, and helped persuade Mr. Goodell to donate the land on which Goodell Hall was built for the school.  His life long interest in education was an important factor in helping to found the school.

114653886_1405023043He was also committed to helping Buffalo develop.  He helped many Buffalonians establish their large estates as their lawyer, as he was so well trusted in the community that people felt he would help ensure estates were handled in the appropriate manner.  Horatio Shumway died in July 1871.  He is buried with his wife in Forest Lawn Cemetery.  His tombstone says “faithful to every trust”.

Want to learn about other streets? Check out the Street Index. Don’t forget to subscribe to the page to be notified when new posts are made. You can do so by entering your email address in the box on the upper right-hand side of the home page. You can also follow the blog on facebook. If you enjoy the blog, please be sure to share it with your friends.

Sources:

  • “Death of Horatio Shumway”.  Buffalo Courier.  July 25, 1871, p2.
  • Smith, H. Katherine.  “Street Here Memorial to Legislator”.  Buffalo Courier-Express.  February 1, 1942.
  • “Seeing Buffalo of the Olden Time:  The Horatio Shumway Residence”.  The Buffalo Evening Times.  April 15, 1909, p4.

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