Richmond-Lockwood House - Table of Contents

Jewett M. Richmond - Biography

Illustration source: A History of the City of Buffalo, published by the The Buffalo Evening News, 1908

On this page, below:


Business life

Social life

Memorial in Forest lawn Cemetery

H. Katherine Smith, "Pupils Now Use Old Richmond Mansion"



  • Family ancestry dates back to the Plymouth colony.

  • Father: Anson Richmond (served in the War of 1812). Successful salt manufacturer in Syracuse, NY; chairman of the city council.

  • B. 1830 in Onondaga county, New York

  • Educated in public schools.

  • At age 16, worked as a clerk in a store in village of Liverpool.

  • 1853, became member of a firm and was engaged in the manufacture and sale of flour and salt, with offices in Syracuse, Salina, Oswego, Buffalo and Chicago.

  • Married in 1870 to Geraldine Hull Rudderow of NY City. In 1896, they had four living children.

  • 1879, the city renamed Rogers Road Richmond Avenue in his honor.

  • The Richmond Chapel in St. Paul's Episcopal Cathedral is named in his honor. The chapel contains a Tiffany-designed stained glass window.

    Buffalo - Business Interests

  • 1854, moved to Buffalo.

  • 1860, severed his business relations to form a partnership with with Henry A. Richmond - J. M. Richmond & Company - for carrying on the grain commission, storage and elevator business in Buffalo, and erected the Richmond Elevator.

  • 1864, firm dissolved, and M. M. Richmond and Alonzo Richmond became the new partners.

  • 1867, elected president of the Marine Bank; reelected in 1892.

  • 1871, elected president of the Buffalo and Jamestown Railroad Co., in which the city voted to take stock to the amount of a million dollars. During the panic of 1873, Richmond built the Buffalo and Jamestown Railroad.

  • In 1896, he was president of the Buffalo Mutual Gas Light Co., director in the Buffalo and Southwestern Railroad Company, trustee of the Buffalo Savings Bank and of the Forest Lawn Cemetery Assoc.

Business life

The J. M. Richmond Building
Seneca and Ellicott St., Buffalo, N. Y.
M. E. Beebe & Son, Architects

In 1896, Richmond was president of the Buffalo Mutual Gas Light Co.

In 1867, Richmond was elected president of the Marine Bank; reelected in 1892.

Social life

Richmond's favorite club was the Falconwood Club on Grand Island

Richmond was a founder of the Buffalo Club

Richmond was a leader in the Young Men's Association, from which Buffalo's Public Library developed

Grover Cleveland was among eminent visitors to the Richmond mansion

While she was first lady, Frances Folsom Cleveland came from the White House to take tea at the Richmond home

Memorial window - Nativity - in Westminster Presbyterian Church


Forest Lawn Cemetery    ...   The family monument has a granite figure of Gabriel atop a tall granite column beside a ledger cover over an underground mausoleum, called a coemetarium    ...     Four details below:

Archangel Gabriel

Acanthus leaves

Wreath with laurel leaves and
acanthus leaves


The article below is excerpted from
"Pupils Now Use Old Richmond Mansion,"

By H. Katherine Smith, pub. in The Buffalo News, June 1, 1952

The red brick and stucco mansion of English Tudor architecture at 844 Delaware Ave. -- now used as an annex of the Bishop McMahon High School, was the home of two of Buffalo's most public-spirited citizens. They are the late Jewett M. Richmond, whose name is perpetuated by Richmond Avenue, and the late Thomas Brown Lockwood, donor of the Lockwood Library and his valuable collection of first editions, manuscripts and other rare books at the University of Buffalo.

In 1873, when Mr. Richmond bought the Delaware Ave.. property, its lawns, gardens and orchards extended back to the present
Richmond Avenue. The Richmond family was supplied with milk by a cow that grazed in what is now a densely populated residential section of the city. In ample stables on the property were horses of exceptional beauty and speed. The late John Richmond, son of Jewett M., used to race on Delaware Ave., then popular proving ground for fast horses owned by socially prominent Buffalonians.

Home Rebuilt After Fire

In 1887, the original Richmond home burned. The fire started on a January night when the mercury was near zero. The young members of the Richmond family were awakened and hurried to the stable for safety. At first Jewett M. Richmond attempted to extinguish the fire with pails of water. When this failed, he tried to summon the volunteer firefighters by means of a direct wire from his home to the department headquarters. The alarm failed to work. By the time the volunteers arrived, the house was ablaze and burned to the ground.

Jewett M. Richmond's daughter, Lillian Richmond, lives at 25 Lincoln Pky. Her debut near the turn of the century was one of the most beautiful and gracious social functions in the onetime Richmond home.

Famous Visitors

Grover Cleveland was among eminent visitors to the Richmond mansion When Jewett M. Richmond, president of the marine bank, director of the Buffalo Board of trade and member of the City Council, was asked to accept the nomination for mayor, he declined in favor of his good friend, Grover Cleveland, launching the latter on a career of public leadership that was to culminate in the Presidency of the United States.

While she was first lady,
Mrs. [Frances Folsom] Cleveland came from the White House to take tea at the Richmond home.

Julia Marlowe, the Shakespearean actress, also was entertained there.

Richmond's Business Interests

  • During the panic of 1873, Jewett M. Richmond built the Buffalo and Jamestown Railroad.
  • His interests included also the Buffalo Southwestern Railroad and the Buffalo Gas Light Company.
  • He was a founder of the Buffalo Club, and active in the Country Club of Buffalo. His favorite club was the Falconwood Club of Grand Island.
  • He was trustee of the Charity Organization Society, a leader in the Young Men's Association, from which our Public Library developed, and a generous contributor to the Buffalo Historical Society, Society of Natural Sciences and the Academy of Fine Arts.

The Richmond family lineage has been traced back to Wiltshire, England. The first Richmond immigrant to the United States was John Richmond, Jewett’s fifth great grandfather. John Richmond settled in Taunton, Massachusetts.

The family remained in Taunton for several generations until Jewett’s father, Anson, a War of 1812 veteran, relocated to Salina, New York in 1813. Salina eventually became part of what is now known as Syracuse, NY in 1848. After arriving in Salina, Anson became involved in the manufacturing of salt.

On January 20, 1820, Anson married Betsey Melvin. Together, they had six children, Alonzo (1790- 1834), Moses (1823-1890), Rathburn (1829-1850), Jewett (1830-1899), Sybil (1833 – 1853) and Mary (1835-1860).

Jewett Melvin Richmond was born in Salina (now Syracuse) New York on December 9, 1830, the fourth child of Anson Richmond and Betsey Melvin.  Jewett attended public school until the age of 16. At that time, Jewett went to work for Sampson Jaqueth as a store clerk.  

Jewett spent the next several years working in various stores in the Liverpool/Syracuse area. In 1854, Jewett formed a partnership with his then current employer, William Gere, William Barnes and two of his brothers. The newly formed corporation successfully manufactured salt and flour.

In 1860, Jewett resigned from that corporation to form a new one with his cousin, Henry A. Richmond, son of Jewett’s father’s brother, Dean in Buffalo, NY. Dean Richmond was prevalent in railroads and in the Batavia, NY area. Operating under the name of J. M. Richmond & Co, the cousins created a business that focused on grain, commission, storage and elevating business. The cousins built the Richmond Elevator (Photo) in 1863.

Jewett spent 1864 traveling throughout Europe. Upon his return from Europe, Jewett reformed J.M. Richmond & Co with his brothers Moses and Alonzo instead of his cousin, Henry.  

It was during this time that the Richmond Elevator was built. Jewett built the Richmond Elevator with the assistance of his cousin, Dean Richmond of Batavia, NY. Dean Richmond was active in the railroading business.

Richmond Elevator

The Richmond Elevator was approximately four hundred feet square, with its front on the Buffalo River and the Blackwell canal. The building itself is 125 by 125 feet, with a height of 125 feet, and is fitted up in the best manner throughout, with a capacity of 15,000 bushels per day, forming a portion of the equipment. The storage capacity is about 300,000 bushels, or 6,000,000 per annum. Like the other elevators here, the Richmond is a member of the Western Elevator Company.

Charity Organiazayion Society ORGANIZATION SOCIETY

The most conspicuous and effective charity here, however, is the Charity Organization Society of Buffalo, for the subjoined sketch of which we are indebted to Secretary Rosenau:
The Charity Organization Society of Buffalo, N. Y., was founded in the fall of 1878 by a number of public-spirited citizens for the purpose of introducing advanced methods in the dispensation of public and private charity, the repression of mendacity and
the prevention of pauperism. It is modeled after the Charity Organization Society of London, England, and was the first of some sixty similar societies to be established in America. Its aim is not to give actual relief, but to aid the worthy poor to become self-supporting, and by a system of registration and thorough investigation to discover and exterminate fraud in begging.

For the purposes of its regular work the society maintains two offices, one at No. 10 Court street and one in the Fitch Institute [Fitch Creche, 159 Swan Street]. It systematically pursues its work of investigation, and has in the course of its existence effected a saving to the citizens of Buffalo in the reduction of the expenditures of the poor department of nearly $500,000.
The present officers of the society are : Edwin T. Evans, president; T. Guilford Smith, vice-president; Nathaniel S. Rosenau, secretary and treasurer. Trustees — One year — Edward Bennett, Thomas Cary, Sherman S. Rogers, George P. Sawyer, E. Carlton Sprague ; two years — James H. Dormer, Edwin T. Evans, Josiah G. Munro, T. Guilford Smith, Ansley Wilcox ; three years — John H. Cowing, Josephus N. Earned, Jewett M. Richmond, Solomon Scheu, Sheldon T. Viele.

Excerpt from
Buffalo Morning Express

Crystal Water Company

A short time ago The Express exclusively announced that Jewett M. Richmond and some other prominent men of this city would form a corporation for the manufacture of crystal water.

Yesterday the articles of incorporation were filed with County Clerk Bingham. It is stated that the capital stock is $100,000. Besides the manufacture of the crystal water, mineral and soda waters will also be mad. The office of the Crystal Water Company, as it is to be known, will be in this city. A large district, including all of Western New York will be supplied.

The directors for the ensuing year have been elected, as follows: Jewett M. Richmond, John R. H. Richmond, George S. Gatchell, Ernest Wende, George L. Williams, William C Krauss, Franklin D. Locke, Arthur W. Bickman, Frank S. McGraw, Thomas T. Ramadeil, Henry S. Beathig, Henry S. Keating of Buffalo and James E. Thomas of Bay City, Mich.

was elected president of the Marine Bank in 1867 and 1892. The Marine Bank opened August 20, 1850, with its primary function being finance of new shipping trade on the Great Lakes. After merging with the American Exchange Bank and acquiring several other banks, Marine National Bank of Buffalo was formed. After several more acquisitions, Marine Midland Trust Company of Western New York was form in the 1950’s. Marine Midland was eventually purchased by HSBC in the 1980’s.

In 1870, Jewett married Geraldine Rudderow, daughter of John and Ann Smith Rudderow. Together, they had a total of six children, Jewett Melvin Jr., John Rudderow Hunt, Lillian Rudderow, Irving Anson, Gerald Hunt, and Edward Seymour. Jewett Melvin, Jr and Irving both died in 1880, approximately 2 months apart, cause of death unknown.

The Buffalo and Jamestown Railroad company was incorporated on March 23, 1872. The line was built with the aid of one million dollars from the city of Buffalo and another million dollars donated by towns along the line. The line was completed in July of 1875.

The line struggled financially until it was foreclosed on February 3, 1877.  On September 11 1877, through court order, the line was sold to Abraham Altman, Jewett M. Richmond, William H. H. Newman, John F. Moulton and Wilson X. Bissell, as a committee of bondholders. The sale was finalized  November 26 1877.

Approximately 3 weeks later, on  December 12 1877, the property was then sold by Jewett M. Richmond and his  wife, William H. Newman and his wife, John P. Moulton and his wife, and Wilson S. Bissell, to the Buffalo and Southwestern Railroad Company. The Buffalo and Southwestern Railroad was then leased by the New York, Lake Erie and Western (Erie Railroad) on August 1, 1880, for an annual rental of 35 percent of the gross earnings for the line. On November 19, 1895, the Erie officially merged the line by virtue of owning 100 percent of the B&SW stock.

In 1879, Rogers Road was renamed Richmond Avenue in honor of Jewett M. Richmond for his work with the Buffalo and Jamestown Railroad. 

Jewett was an active philanthropist throughout his life. He was a trustee of the Charity Organization Society for 17 years (1881-1898). The Charity Organization Society of Buffalo was the first of its kind in the United States. Based upon the London Charity Organization Society, the focus of the charity was rehabilitation and self sufficiency rather than random, unaccounted for alms.

Illustration:  Victorian Buffalo by Cynthia Van Ness

Illustration:  Victorian Buffalo by Cynthia Van Ness

In 1883, Jewett was on the list of trustees of the Buffalo Board of Trade, where he was on the Finance Committee, chaired the Building Committee and member of the Grain Measuring Committee. He was also on the Merchant’s Exchange. During this time, Jewett was also Vice President of the Marine Bank.

The Young Men’s Association was formed to educate the working man.  As a result, the YMA became a holding center for a wide variety of donations. Committees formed by The Young Men’s Association to sort and catalog the plethora of donations became what is known as today’s Buffalo and Erie County Public Library, Albright-Knox Art Gallery and Buffalo Science museum.

Jewett was an active member of the Young Men’s Association. He held the office of President during 1886 and 1887. Under his leadership, the building of the current library was completed. The Young Men’s Association was originally housed in what was to become the
Richmond Hotel. When the decision was made to create separate entities for all the donations, the YMA moved out and conversion of the building to a hotel began. The hotel was named for Jewett Richmond. May of 1886 brought about legislation changing the name from The Young Men’s Association to the Buffalo Library and executive committee became Board of Managers. On January 3, 1887, the doors were officially open, with the official opening ceremony occurring on February 7.  All members of the Richmond family were life members of the library.

The Richmond Hotel, former home of the Young Men’s Association, was destroyed by fire on March 18, 1887, three weeks after the hotel opened for business. Numerous newspaper articles were published across the nation of the fire and the subsequent investigation. The cause of the fire was never determined. The hotel was rebuilt and renamed the Iroquois Hotel, which remained in business until Statler, of Statler hotel fame, purchased the property and closed it the day he opened the Statler hotel.

Also in 1883, Jewett formed The Ozark Plateau Land Company. The officers were Jewett M. Richmond, President ; Liucian Hawley, Secretary ; Absaloni Nelson, Local Agent in Missouri. The offices were located in Lebanon, Mo., and at 24 Erie St., Buffalo. The company purchased 150,000 acres in Southern Central Missouri, with the intent of reselling to settlers.
During 1880, Jewett purchased a 200 acre farm near Hamburg to raise and breed Jersey Cattle. Jewett’s cattle were classed as some of the best cattle in the country during this time. The cattle produced greater amounts of milk and butter when compared to other cattle of the era.
On January 25, 1895, the Buffalo Morning Express announced that Jewett M. Richmond and several other investors formed the Crystal Water Company. Jewett was president of the company until his death in 1899, when George L. Williamson succeeded him. 

See also:

Color photos and their arrangement © 2003 Chuck LaChiusa
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