Archive for March, 2023

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Map Showing the Block of Little Summer Street

Little Summer Street is a one block street on the West Side.  It is technically the block of Summer Street, between Richmond Avenue and York Street.  Historically, it was named West Summer Street until the late 1890s, when it was renumbered and became a part of Summer Street.  I found references calling it “Little Summer Street” as early as 1883.   Little Summer Street and the adjacent street, Union Place, formerly 16th Street, were originally developed by Edward and Lydia Cox.

edward cox

Edward Perkin Cox. Source: Greg Green on Ancestry.com

Edward Perkins Cox was born in Long Clawson, Leicestershire, England on January 3, 1802.  He was the fifth of seven children of Charles Cox and Anne Perkins Cox.  After attending local schools, he taught in Long Clawson for several years while living at home with his father, who was a gardener.

Edward married Lydia Boyer in 1837.  Lydia Boyer Cox was born in 1816 in Leichestershire, England, the third of ten children of William Boyer and Phoebe Wooten.  After marriage, Lydia and Edward Cox came to America.

Lydia Cox

Lydia Boyer Cox. Source: Greg Green on ancestry.com

The Cox family first settled in Black Rock on the River, where Edward became a gardener.  He became friends with Jesse Ketchum while he was working for him.  In 1840, he bought a large tract of land from Mr. Ketchum – the property which is now crossed by Elmwood, Summer, Richmond, North, Jersey, York and Ketchum Place.  The land was primeval forest and meadow at the time.  Mr. Cox planted a large market garden and built a farm house, near the corner of Jersey and Ketchum.  The farm house was replaced by the brick house at 414 Jersey street around 1842 and at some point, a second house was built in front of the first house.  Mr. and Mrs. Cox lived in the front house at 414 Jersey until both of their deaths in the 1890s.

1872 atlas of buffalo

1872 Atlas of Buffalo. Note the property owned by Edward P Cox in upper right of map. This is the block bounded by York, Richmond, Ketchum and Jersey Streets today

In the 1860s, they began building a number of one-story brick cottages along what became West Summer Street and the end of 16th Street (now Union Place).  The built about 30 houses.  They were referred to jokingly as “Cox’s Plantation” or “Coxtown” or “Cox Settlement” and more commonly as “Shingletown”.   At the time, the city limits were to North Street, so beyond the area was still fields and forest.  Shingletown consists of the area between what is now Symphony Circle and about West Utica Street.  It was a swampy area covered with lots of cedar trees.  Shingles were made from the trees for many Buffalo Houses.  It called Shingletown because “nothing but shingles and lumber could be seen on the roads”.  The Rogers Road section (now Richmond Avenue) was mostly used for cattle grazing and truck gardening.  A truck garden is a garden where fruits and vegetables are raised for sale at markets.  The houses in the area were “ramshackle, out-of-date, ill-repaired dwellings which are offered at low rates” and were surrounded by fields.  By 1888, Shingletown had passed to history, being replaced with a desirable place to live.  The Olmsted Parkways (1868-70) changed the Circle, Richmond Avenue and the neighborhood greatly.  When Richmond Avenue was paved, it was referred to as one of the “finest streets in the city”.  It was called simply “The Avenue” because it was such a grand important street.  The Elmwood Avenue Streetcar line  in 1889 opened up the area to additional development. The shacks were replaced with cottages and homes for the well-to-do and middle classes.  The dwellings in Shingletown shifted from rental properties to owner occupied.  Old time neighbors still referred to the area as Shingletown, with the Rhode Island Businessmen’s Social Club on West Utica still electing a “Little Mayor of Shingletown” up into at least the 1940s.


Example of one of the cottages on Little Summer Street. Source: buffaloah.com

These cottages built on Little Summer Street and Union Place are famous in Buffalo today, especially on Garden Walk weekend.  The story that is often told about these cottages is that Lydia Cox was homesick wanted to recreate the streets of her hometown in England so they built the cottages.  Both Lydia and Edward came from large families – Lydia had 9 siblings and Edward had 7 siblings!  Many of the family was also in town in Buffalo.  Lydia’s brother William Boyer came to Buffalo and had nine children.  Those 9 children each got married and also had children.  At least two of Edward’s great nephews (his sibling’s grandchildren) also came to live in Buffalo – Edward Cox and Henry W. Kitching.  Most of the cottages were filled with relatives of Lydia and Edward.  I was able to find evidence of at least ten of the houses on Ketchum Place, W Summer Street, and Union Place being occupied with various family members, though it is difficult to trace additional family members due to there being so many nieces who got married and had and name changes.  The family members I was able to find were those remembered in both Edward and Lydia’s wills.

In the 1870s, Mr. Cox began selling off his property as Buffalo was growing around to the area.  Most of the Cox property was sold off by the time he died. As the area began to grow, Mr. Cox and Mr. Ketchum established the first Methodist Episcopal mission house here in Buffalo.  The first chapel stood near where Richmond Avenue and Symphony Circle intersect.  Mr. Cox and Mr. Ketchum then built a larger Methodist Episcopal Mission house on the lot bounded by Thirteenth, Fourteenth, Jersey and York Streets (the land became the State Normal School).  When the congregation disbanded, Mr. Ketchum and Mr. Cox became members of Asbury M. E. Church which had just been re-organized in 1872.

cox hall

Cox Hall postcard at what is now Roberts Wesleyan College. Postmarked 1911.

Mr. Cox served as a Vice President of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children.  In 1890, he donated $8,000 in to the Chesbrough Seminary in Chili, New York to build an academic building.  The school had been founded in 1866 as Chili Seminary by Benjamin Titus Roberts, a friend of Mr. Cox.  This money was used to build Cox Hall, which was dedicated in 1892.  The building contained a chapel, library, classrooms, science laboratories, cafeteria, administrative offices and dormitory space for the school.  In 1949, Chesbrough Seminary became Roberts Wesleyan College.  Cox Hall is one of two remaining original buildings on campus and is used by the music department for performances, classes and meetings.  In 2017, the Town of Chili officially marked Edward P Cox Memorial Hall as a historic landmark.

little summer 1899

1899 Sanborn Map showing the land formerly owned by Edward Cox. If you look on the lower right, you can see Mr. & Mrs. Cox’s house at 414 Jersey, you can also see the three cottages that are now landlocked down a little lane off of Summer Street. In the empty space along Jersey is where Mr. Cox was trying to cram in additional houses and the neighbors fought back.

In 1892, Edward got into some hot water with his neighbors.  He had applied to get permits to construct two additional frame houses in the block bounded by West Summer, Jersey and Richmond Avenue.  Councilman George Hayward read a document with protest from 18 residents in the area requesting that the building permits be overturned.  It was declared that Edward Cox was trying to fill up the area left in the middle of the block by the sale of short lots, to cram in additional houses.  This was determined to be “flagrant abuse” because the houses that were already there were too close to the neighbors.  The permit was denied, so additional cottages were not built.  You can see on the map how houses were placed onto lots to maximize building potential, leading to houses at odd angles and on triangle lots.  More houses lead to more rental income for the Cox family, so it was their desire to build as many houses as possible to make more money.  The rental houses continued to provide income for the heirs long after Mr. & Mrs. Cox’s deaths.

Edward died December 3, 1893, a month before his 93rd birthday.  He was still active up until right before he died.  His obituary stated that just ten days before he died, he was putting in a sidewalk in front of his property on Ketchum Place.  Mr. Cox is buried in a family plot at Forest Lawn Cemetery along with 34 other family members.

Edward’s will was reported to give bequests to the following:

  • Thomas Boyer, $600
  • Elizabeth Boyer, $800
  • William Boyer, Jr, $100
  • Mary Boyer, $400
  • Clara Upper, $400
  • Hanna Quint, $300
  • Each of the four children of William Boyer, Jr, $50
  • William Cox, $1000
  • Edward Cox, $500
  • Edward Cox, house at 189 York Street
  • Rev. B. T. Roberts for the benefit of the Chesbrough School  [now Roberts Wesleyan College] at North Chili, $300
  • Rev S.K.J. Chesbrough of Chicago, managing editor of the Free Methodist Paper, $300
  • Asbury M.E. Church of Buffalo, $1000 to be used in paying off the mortgage against the parsonage [which was at 270 Georgia Street]
  • Free Methodist Church and Orphanage of Gerry, Chautauqua County, $1,000
  • Elizabeth Cooper of Hungerton, Lincolnshire, England, $12,000 in trust with instructions for how to distribute the trust fund to family overseas
  • Lydia Cox, the use of the residence of the estate of whatever name or nation during the term of her natural life.

Executors of the estate were Lydia, Edward Cox and Walter G Hopkins.  The will stated that after Lydia Cox’s death and the payments of the bequests, the remainder of the estate was to go to Buffalo General Hospital.  The value of the estate that was to be left to Buffalo General was estimated to be about $30,000 (a little over $1 Million in 2023 dollars).  The property was left via three pieces of property – known as the Dempster, the Spayth and the Stengel-Zimmerman mortgages.  Mrs. Cox argued that her husband did not leave the property to the hospital and a lawsuit ensured.  Lydia argued that her husband had sold the property to her and therefore, it was not going to go to the Hospital.  The Court found that the Dempster and Spayth properties, both on Richmond Avenue, were transferred to Lydia Cox.  However, the Stengel-Zimmerman mortgage property was not transferred to her and would come into possession by the Hospital.  The Stengel-Zimmerman mortgage property was on West Summer Street.

Lydia survived Edward for about 3 years before she died in 1897.  Lydia’s will left an estate consisting of real property valued at $45,000 ($1.6 Million today) and personal property valued at $65,000 ($2.4 Million today).  Lydia’s will granted bequests to 48 people, with amounts ranging from $50 to $500($1800 to $18,000 today).  Niece and Nephews Elizabeth, Thomas and William Boyer of Buffalo were named as executors of the estate. They hired William Newbrook to act as lawyer for the estate.  William Newbrook had been Lydia’s lawyer for several years and had created her will.

Mr. Newbrook embezzled some of the funds from Lydia’s estate in two separate instances.  He lost the money in gambling dens.  The first instance in November 1898, his father and father-in-law covered the $5,000 in costs to the estate.  This fact was kept secret, and was only known to William Newbrook, his father George Newbrook and his father-in-law Mr. Brock.  William continued gambling and lost more money.  In the second instance, in August 1889, Mr. Newbrook lost $8,701.90 ($315,000 in today’s dollars) by gambling away the funds deposited with the Empire State Savings Bank and the Fidelity Trust and Guarantee Company.  He asked his father again for help, but this time, his father refused and informed the executors.  The Executors engaged another attorney to examine the books and when they met with Mr. Newbrook, he confessed and admitted he had no money left.  It was found that he had started gambling again just two weeks after his father and father-in-law had bailed him out in the fall.  William Newbrook promised to stay in Buffalo and help them figure things out, however, he quickly fled the country instead.  William’s father George announced that he would make publicly known the names of the men to whom William lost the money, since the gambling dens were operating illegally.  He had hoped that threatening to release the names would convince them to return the funds.  However, George dropped his case, deciding not to fight his son’s battles for him.   At the time, the estate had $42,658 cash in the banks and $50,790 in real estate.  It was determined that Newbrook had forged checks which the bank had cashed.  The estate sued the banks for cashing forged checks.  It took several years of litigation to remove Newbrook from their accounts and for the banks to make good on the shortages.  William Newbrook’s whereabouts was still unknown to his wife when she divorced him in 1905.  I was unable to find information about William after he left Buffalo.  When William’s father George Newbrook died in 1923, his obituary and made no mention of William but includes George’s other children.

While this was all happening, the Lydia Cox Estate also suffered due to the bank failure of the German Bank.  The bank had $26,000 ($942,390 in today’s dollars) on deposit for the estate when the bank failed.  It took another lawsuit to recover the funds, which was partially successful.  Both Mr. & Mrs. Cox’s Estates had so many lawsuits, the newspapers would report them as “another court sensation”!  In 1904, Buffalo General ended up selling the land on West Summer Street back to the Estate for $1.  Other property was divested from the estate over time.  In December 1908, the Cox house at Jersey and Ketchum was purchased by John W. Klauck.  The adjoining property along Jersey street was purchased from the Cox Estate by John D. Larkin.   After more than a decade of lawsuits, the final distribution of the estate was sent to about 20 nephews and nieces living in both England and America in 1909.


Ad from 1873 for Thomas Clayton’s Greenhouse at the corner of Rogers (now Richmond) and Summer Street. Source: Buffalo Commercial

The street continued to change over the years.  The last evidence of Shingletons truck farms and gardens was the greenhouse at the corner of Richmond and West Summer Street.  This greenhouse was owned and operated by Thomas Clayton for more than 40 years.  The greenhouse was sold was sold in 1916.  He had operated the greenhouse at the corner of Richmond and West Summer Street for more than 40 years!  The lot was sold to Frank L Kissock to build a residence there.  Supposedly, the final apple tree from the orchards of Shingletown was cut down in 1920 to built the Stuyvesant Arms Hotel on Elmwood.  The orchard had been filled with pear, cherry, plum and apple trees and ran between North and Summer Streets.  The trees had been planted in the 1860s and over time the fruit trees were lost to development.

dodds dairy

1925 Sanborn Map showing Dodds Alderney Dairy at the corner of Summer and York Streets

Around 1909, the former butcher shop at 159 York Street and their barn was sold to Dodd’s Dairy.  Dodds had incorporated in 1904, owned by brothers William, John and David Dodds.  Dodds Dairy was the largest dairy operation in New York State outside of New York City.  The dairy operated on York/Summer Street for many decades.  The building had become vacant by the 1970s and was purchased at the city tax auction in 1975 and converted into apartments.

dodd's milk

Ad for Dodds Dairy from the Buffalo News, 1931.

By the 1920s, the intersection of West Summer and Richmond had become a common spot for car accidents.  A traffic signal was installed to help reduce accidents.  In 1924, the road was made one way, with traffic traveling west only.  In 1944, the Board of Safety restricted traffic on Summer Street to one-way between York and Richmond Avenue (switching the one-way to east bound) and restricted parking to one side of the street.

In 1996, the end of 16th Street between York and Richmond was renamed Union Place.  By the early 2000s, the area started to be referred to as The Cottage District due to the distinct cottages located on the streets.

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.

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We’ll be launching tours again this summer, more information about that will be coming soon.  I’ll also be on the schedule again for this upcoming semester through University Express through Erie County.  I’m scheduled for six classes throughout Western New York!  The schedule comes out in mid-April, so stay tuned for that!


  • “Death of An Old Resident”.  Buffalo News.  January 4, 1897, p16.
  • “General Hospital Wins”.  Buffalo News.  July 10, 1896, p4
  • “He Founded “Shingletown”.  The Buffalo Enquirer.  December 9, 1893, p2.
  • “Will of E.P. Cox”  Buffalo Morning Express.  February 22, 1893, p7.
  • “Mrs. Lydia Cox”.  Buffalo Times.  January 4, 1897, p5.
  • “Death of an Old Resident”.  Buffalo News.  January 4, 1897, p8.
  • “Forty-Eight Legatees.”  Buffalo News.  March 3, 1897, p 13.
  • “Left a Large Estate”.  Buffalo Commercial.  March 31, 1897, p2.
  • “Shingletown No More”.  Buffalo Sunday Morning News.  April 8, 1888, p1.
  • “To Ballot Tomorrow”.  Buffalo News.  October 23, 1940, p42.
  • Palazzetti, Agnes.  “The Little Houses on Summer Street”. Buffalo News.  May 1, 1983, p204.
  • “Edward P. Cox’ Will”.  Buffalo Enquirer.  February 22, 1894, p5.
  • “Quarrelsome.  That is, Councilmen Refused to Agree with Alderman.”  Buffalo Courier.  1892.
  • “Not Much Discussion”.  Buffalo Morning Express. June 16, 1892, 5.
  • “Greenhouse Lot Sold”.  Buffalo Enquirer.  April 20, 1904, p10.
  • “Gambling Dens Responsible for “Billy Newbrook’s Downfall”.  Buffalo News.  August 5, 1899, p19.
  • “Defalcation.  Attorney Newbrook Squandered About $8,000 of Lydia Cox Estate.”  Buffalo Commercial.  August 7, 1899.
  • “Lydia Cox Estate to be Distributed:  Since her Death in 1897 There Has Been Much Litigation Against Executors and Others.”  Buffalo News.  March 10, 1909, p6.
  • “Buffalo Hospital:  Important Decision Affecting One of Its Legacies”.  Buffalo Courier.  July 9, 1896.  P5.
  • “Estate of the Late Lydia Cox Say William G Newbrook Stole $8,701.90”.  Buffalo Review.  January 11, 1900, p5.
  • “Did Lawyer Gamble Away His Friend’s Money and Lose His Reputation”.  Buffalo Evening Times.  August 7, 1899, p5.
  • “Newbrook’s Shortage May Be Made Good”.  Buffalo Review.  August 8, 1899, p1.
  • “Executors Ordered to Account:  Estate of Lydia Cox has Developed Another Court Sensation”.  Buffalo News.  December 11, 1899, p1.
  • “One Way Traffic Remains in Part of Summer Street”.  Buffalo News.  November 17, 1944, p8.
  • “Deeds”.  Buffalo Courier.  April 13, 1904, p9.
  • “New Traffic Regulations in Four Thoroughfares”.  Buffalo Courier.  October 2, 1924, p7.
  • “A Traffic Suggestion”.  Buffalo Morning Express.  December 11, 1923, p10.
  • “Old Apple Tree Las of Famous Buffalo Orchard”.  Buffalo Express. September 5, 1920, p44.
  • “Rural Buffalo.”  Buffalo News.  September 5, 1952.
  • “City Briefs”.  Buffalo News.  June 30, 1904, p4.
  • “Three Houses Burned”.  Buffalo News.  September 15, 1883, p1.

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Marion Street in Black Rock

What’s the connection between Marion Street in Black Rock and Wade Avenue in the Leroy Neighborhood?  Marion Street runs between Reservation Street and Elmwood Avenue, just north of Amherst Street.  You cannot drive from one end of Marion Street to the other because of the railroad corridor which bisects the street into two halves.  Wade Avenue runs between Fillmore Avenue and Holden Street near Main and Fillmore Avenue.  These two streets are both named after Marion Wade Nicholson!  Marion was the daughter of real estate developer James Nicholson, who built and developed the streets.

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Wade Avenue in the Main-Leroy Neighborhood

Today’s post is a partnership with Buffalo Women’s Caucus for Women’s History Month.  Buffalo Women’s Caucus is an organization to empower women in all fields to become leaders and changemakers.  You can follow the Buffalo Women’s Caucus by clicking this link:  https://www.instagram.com/buffalowomenscaucus/  Today (March 8th) is International Women’s Day, a global holiday celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women.  I’m glad to feature Marion Wade Nicholson today.  I think when we think of women’s history, we often remember the big changemakers, but I think it’s important to remember all the women who lived fairly regular lives.  Marion was a daughter, a wife, a mother, an insurance saleswoman and a singer.  Unlike most people streets are named for – she never held elected office, own large amounts of real estate or run successful businesses.  She had success in her musical endeavors, but she would probably have considered herself a normal woman of her time.  And I think it’s important to celebrate these women, remembering that our lives today is built on these women.  Behind every man I’ve written about, there was almost always a woman on the sidelines.  Many of those women are forgotten to history, their names written as Mrs. Husband’s Name.  Even more are completely forgotten to the pages of history all together.  So, remember those women as we learn today about Marion.

James W. Nicholson  was born in Buffalo on May 5, 1862.  He attended school in Hamburg and later moved to Buffalo with his family, who lived at 154 Fifteenth Street, near Vermont Street.  He operated a real-estate business in Buffalo from the 1880s until he retired in 1930.  His office was in the Erie County Savings Bank Building.  Besides Marion and Wade, other streets on which he built homes were Woodlawn Avenue, St. Paul Street and Otis Place.

456 ashland

456 Ashland Avenue. Home to the Nicholson Family for more than 50 years!

James William Nicholson married Ella Riley in 1887.  Their first child, a son Wesley Nicholson was born later that year.  The Nicholsons moved into 456 Ashland Avenue in 1890.  Mr. Nicholson was a member of the Richmond Avenue Methodist Church, joining on April 7, 1895.  He also served on Official Board and the Board of Trustees of the Church.  He was active in the Pan American Exposition in 1901.  He was a part owner of the Philippine Village, helping to make arrangements to bring people from the Philippines to the Expo.  (Note from Angela: these types of exhibits with “native” villagers on display, often referred to as human zoos, were common at the time.  News reports from Buffalo in 1901 reported that the Philippine Village was one of the most visited exhibits of the Exposition, considered to be a great hit – people enjoying the way that it matched “amusement with instruction”.  The Philippine Village was set up to be an exhibit in order to showcase the Philippines as America’s newest imperial possession.  The exhibit was guarded by American Soldiers guarding a large, war-torn gate, a model of the fort in Manila Bay which represented a commemoration of war and the American triumph overseas.   Newspapers also reported that the residents of Philippine Village were suffering in the cold Buffalo weather as the summer weather turned to fall.  We do not condone these types of exhibits.)

Marion Patterson

1927 Picture of Marion. Source: The Buffalo News.

James and Ella’s second child, Marion Wade Nicholson, was born in April 1895.  She grew up in the house at 456 Ashland.  When she was 4 years old, Marion Street was named for her.  She attended School 56 and Buffalo Seminary.  While she was in high school, Wade Avenue was named in her honor.   When interviewed about her streets, she sad “I was about thirteen when Wade Street was opened, and I told all my schoolmates about it at once.  I still tell people about my streets”.  H. Katherine Smith wrote of her interview that “(Marion) is the only one of more than 100 persons with streets named for them who admitted to me she got a thrill from being so honored”.

Marion was well known in the Buffalo musical circles.  She sang in the choir of Westminster Presbyterian Church and played the piano.  She was associated with Margaret Adsit Barrell’s studio; Mrs. Barrell was a founder of the Community Music School.  Marion also sang on the radio and worked with many welfare organizations in Buffalo, often singing for those groups.


Marion Nicholson concert announcement in the Buffalo News, November 1926

Marion married Lester Adam Paterson on October 1, 1917 and became Mrs. Lester Paterson.  The wedding was held at the house on Ashland, which was decorated with roses and autumn flowers, ferns and smilax.  Marion wore a gown of white satin with court train and a veil fastened with orange blossoms and carried a bouquet of bride roses, sweetheart roses and gypsophyllium.  Marion’s brother Wesley was the best man.  Marion and Lester took a honeymoon road trip to Boston, New York and Philadelphia before returning to live at the house on Ashland with her parents.  They had two children – Sara (Sally) Wade Paterson, born in 1923 and Jean Marion Paterson, born in 1930.

In June 1935, Marion traveled to Reno to file for divorce from Lester on non-support charges.  At the time, divorce was not as common and was suppressed by state laws that discouraged the dissolution of couples.  In New York, up until 1985, the only way to get a divorce was to prove your spouse had committed adultery!  Reno, Nevada became the Divorce Capital of America in the 1930s.  The grounds for ending marriage had a liberal interpretation there. Women would travel to Nevada for six weeks to establish residency.  During the 1930s, it’s estimated that more than 30,000 people went to Reno to get a divorce.  Hotels and guest ranches were established near the Court House to house the women who came.  Marion’s divorce decree was granted on June 28, 1935.


Marion Nicholson in costume for an Easter Play at Westminster Church. March 1937. Source: Buffalo News.

After her divorce, Marion worked as a saleswoman for the Phoenix Mutual Life Insurance Company.  She was a member of the Buffalo Life Underwriters’ Association, the Business and Professional Women’s Club, the Wednesday Morning Musical Club, the Junior Musical Club and the Women’s Evening Club of Westminster Church.  She had considered a career in music, but once she got her job, music became her hobby.  It was reported that she played or sang every single day, no matter how busy she was with work or her daughters.  She said “I play or sing every day.  Music still is an important factor in my life.  Playing or singing affords me immediate relaxation.  I can lose myself in music and forget everything else.”  She was one of founding members of the Wednesday Morning Musicale Club, which started in October of 1925.  The group was formed by several women who were interested in making music together on a regular basis.  At the time, there weren’t as many outlets for women.  Women didn’t play in the the Philharmonic at the time, unless the song required a harpist.  Marion was interviewed as a member of the Wednesday Morning Club, 60 years later in 1985, still singing and playing the piano at the age of 90.  The group is still active today, nearly 100 years after it’s founding!


Marion (seated at piano), from the Buffalo News, August 1967

Marion continued to live in the house on Ashland as an adult. The family had been in Buffalo since the 1830s.  Marion’s Great Grandmother had arrived to the small town of Buffalo via the Erie Canal.  The Great Grandmother brought her belongings in a chest which was still in Marion’s possession more than 100 years later.  The family also had heirloom fiddleback chairs of mahogany, a walnut chest of drawers, a dropleaf table, and the family’s old China place settings which had served the family for generations and had places of honor in Marion’s home.  In 1940, Marion was quoted as saying of the old china:  “It’s beautiful, of course, but so fragile, I feel anxious from the moment it appears on the table until it’s safely back in its place.”

Marion served as a director of the Graduates’ Association of the Buffalo Seminary.  Her daughter Sally also attended the Seminary.  Her other daughter, Jean, attended the School of Practice of the Buffalo State Teacher’s College (aka the State Normal School).

The Nicholson family summered at Shore Meadows in Angola, where they swam and did other outdoor sports.  Shore Meadows was developed by the Lake Shore Real Estate company for business men in Buffalo who couldn’t afford the “fashionable higher priced colonies along the Lake Shore”, but wanted a respectable quality house. In 1946, Mr. Nicholson, Marion and the girls ended up moving from the house on Ashland to their summer house in Shore Meadows on Shore Cliff Road.  Marion married Dr. Carlton Roberts sometime before 1948 and became Mrs. Carlton Roberts.  Dr. Roberts was the first dental consultant to the Erie County Department of Social Welfare.  In 1936, he set up the dental procedures for the guidance of the Department, which was the first of the type in New York State!  Mr. Roberts died in 1965 after three years in the Gowanda State Hospital.

After the death of her second husband, Marion Roberts moved back into the city.  She sold the house in Angola and moved to 515 Ashland Avenue in September 1965.  Her new home was just a block away from her childhood home.  Marion Wade Nicholson died August 14, 1987.  She is buried, along with her family, at Prospect Lawn Cemetery in Hamburg.


Sara Wesley Paterson’s bridal announcement.  Buffalo News, July 1948.

Marion’s daughter Sara (Sally) Paterson was a 1941 graduate of the Elmwood School and Buffalo Seminary.  She earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration from University of Buffalo in 1945, graduating with honors.  She taught for a few years in Bradford PA and Middleport, NY.  In 1948, she married Raymond W. Garris, a chemical engineer in the oil industry.  She and her husband in many places across the South and Midwest.  They lived in 22 states and 8 countries, including six years living in Saudi Arabia, where he was an advisor to the Minister of Petroleum.  They moved to Daphne, Alabama when he retired in 1985.  She died in 2000.

Jean Paterson

Jean Marion Paterson Yearbook Photo, Millard Fillmore School of Nursing1953.

Daughter Jean Paterson attended the Millard Fillmore School of Nursing.  She married James Elliott Dunning of Los Angeles in August 1961.  They lived in San Diego, California and she worked as a registered nurse in a hospital.  She died in 2007.

Both Marion and her daughters were a well known part of Buffalo society.  Even after Sara and Jean moved away, there were articles in the paper when they’d visit town or come home for Christmas.  In 1955, the Buffalo News reported that Marion was making her special plum pudding for her girls who were coming home for Christmas from Baltimore and the family was looking forward to being together and singing their traditional Christmas carols.


Marion (third from left) with her daughter Sara (standing) when Sara made a Saudi Arabian lunch on a visit home. Buffalo News. August 1978.

In 1978, Sara came for a visit while living in Saudi Arabia.  She prepared traditional Arabian food while home in Buffalo.  The main course was “Kabsah (the national dish of Saudi Arabia) and homos [sic] with Arab bread and fresh vegetables” and a traditional Saudi dessert which they did not know the official name of.  Here are Sara’s recipes which were printed in the paper:


4 cups rice
4 whole medium tomatoes
1 small can (8 oz) tomato sauce
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
1 tsp black pepper
1 tsp ground cumin
2 tablespoon salt (or to taste)
2 medium onions, chopped
4 tablespoons oil
2 to 2 1/2 pounds chicken or lamb, cut up

Brown meat lightly with chopped onions. chop tomatoes;; add to the meat.  Add the spices and tomato sauce; simmer for 10 minutes.  Add 8 cups of water and cook for 20 minutes.  Add rice and more water if needed.  Simmer for 30 minutes.  Serve on a platter with the meat piled in the middle surrounded by rice.  Platter may be decorated with lemon or tomato slices.

Saudi Arabian Dessert

About 2 cups whole wheat berries
Dried figs, cut up, about 1 cup
Dried apricots, cut up, about 1 cup
Dates, cut up, about 1 cup
3/4 cup sugar
Pine Nuts

Soak wheat overnight in water to cover.  Drain.  Add clean water, covering wheat by about 5 inches.  Add sugar and simmer slowly until wheat swells and liquid thickens.  Just before it is finished cooking, add dried fruit and continue to simmer for about five minutes.  Mixture should be as thick as pudding.  Remove from pan, place in a dish with cover.  Sprinkle top with a small handful of each time of nut.  Cover and cool.  Particularly delicious with thick whipped cream.

So the next time you drive past Marion St and Wade Ave, think about Marion!  Remember all the women who lived in Buffalo over the years.  Let me know if you try one of the recipes!  To learn about other women with streets named after them check out this post here:  Women’s History Month – Some Buffalo Women You Should Know .  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.


  • “Sara P. Garris, former teacher, Buffalo Native”.  Buffalo News.  February 4, 2000.
  • “James W Nicholson, 89; Retired Real Estate Man”.  Buffalo News.  December 20, 1951, p8.
  • “Garris”.  South Florida Sun Sentinel.  October 20, 2014, pB8.
  • “Paterson-Nicholson”.  Buffalo Courier.  October 2, 1917, p9.
  • “Local Woman Asks for Divorce”.  Buffalo News.  June 27, 1935, p21.
  • “Miss Paterson in White Organdy Over Taffeta”.  Buffalo News.  September 18, 1948, p14.
  • “Buffalo  Native Home on a Visit Cooks a Saudi-Arabian Meal”.  Buffalo News.  August 16, 1978, p22.
  • Voell, Paula.  “60-Year Old Musicale Is Outdated in Name But Youthful in Spirit”.  Buffalo News.  November 18, 1985, p28.
  • Smith, H. Katherine.  “Two Buffalo Streets Named For a Musician – Saleswoman”.  Buffalo Courier-Express.  October 6, 1940, p6-9.
  • Marks, Ben.  “Remembering When Reno was the Divorce Capital of America”.  February 14, 2019.  https://www.bitchmedia.org/post/remembering-when-reno-was-the-divorce-capital-of-america
  • “Welcome Back”.  Buffalo News.  September 30, 1965, p4.
  • “Reasonable Country Homes Aim of This Corporation”.  Buffalo Enquirer.  March 25, 1922, p8.

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