Church of the Good Shepherd - Table of Contents

Northrup, Matthews, and Smith: The Trustees Who Built the Church of the Good Shepherd
96 Jewett Pkwy. at Summit, Buffalo, NY

By Ellen W. Parisi

Elam R. Jewett / Willow Lawn
Photo source: History of the City of Buffalo and Erie County, H. Perry Smith, editor. Syracuse: D. Mason & Co., 1884, Vol 2, p.328

Edward Ingersoll in 1875. Ingersoll died in 1883.

James Newson Matthews, 1828-1888  
Photo source: Pictorial Year-Book and Calendar, 1888. From the Buffalo Express. Buffalo: Matthews, Northrup, & Co.

Trinity Episcopalian Church on Mohawk and Washington (Demolished)
Photo source: The Picture Book of Earlier Buffalo, Frank H. Severance, ed. Buffalo Historical Society Publications, Vol. 16, 1912, p. 131

The text below is excerpted with permission from
A Century in the Fold: A History if the Church of the Good Shepherd
By Ellen W. Parisi

The site of the new Church of the Good Shepherd, isolated though it may have seemed in 1888, was suitable for reasons other than the serenity of the surroundings. The land upon which the church stood was the gift of Elam Jewett, whose endeavor was to establish a lasting tribute to the Rev. Edward Ingersoll, former rector of Trinity Church.

Both Mr. and Mrs. Jewett were members of Trinity Church, then located on Washington St., a long and dusty drive on the unpaved Main Street. Jewett served as vestryman at Trinity for thirty years. When Ingersoll died in 1883, Jewett decided, utimately, to build a church in to the memory of his friend and rector. The church -- originally named the Ingersoll Memorial Chapel -- was consecrated five years later.

Jewett did not live to see the work begun, but before his death on January 10, 1887, he selected three men, his trustees, to take charge of building his dreams for the church into reality. The original trustees to whom the property was deeded and the money entrusted for the building of the church were

  • Judge James M. Smith,
  • James Newson Matthews
  • William Phelps Northrup

All three had close relationships with Jewett and made significant contributions to the project, but Northrup and Matthews were the most active.

William P. Northrup, a cousin from Vermont, came to live with Jewett in 1862, at the age of twelve. As an adult he pursued the interests of his mentor and became an apprentice printer at Jewett and Candier's. Upon completion of his training, he worked for J. N. Matthews Company and eventually became its first vice-president.

Before long Northrup was in partnership with his former employer, and it was at the Matthews-Northrup Company that he worked for the next sixty years. Northrup was world renowned, not only for his printing, but also for his map-making skills. His maps were used by such notables as General Pershing in guiding his troops into Mexico, and President Wilson as he journeyed to the Versailles peace talks.

Northrup surveyed Jewett Avenue, making number twenty his home. As an "erstwhile engineer," Northrup also helped survey, lay out, and build the church of the Good Shepherd, where he would become an essential member. Until his death in 1929, William Phelps Northrup was in the forefront of the functioning of the church, not only as Senior Warden and vestryman, but as an active contributor.

[In 1870,, William Phelps Northrup, Jewett's nephew by marriage, built a grand Victorian home in Willowlawn on the corner of Crescent and Jewett Parkway. The home stood on the present site of the Girl Scout headquarters. Northrup's barn still stands behind the Girl Scout building on Crescent. After buying the printing and engraving aspects of Jewett's holdings, Northrup had become very successful in his own right. - "History of the Parkside Area and Community," online in 2003]

James Newson Matthews, who died in 1888, had been unable to play as great a role in the workings of the church as his fellow trustees.

Born in England in 1828, Matthews built an illustrious career in Buffalo. As sole controller of the Buffalo Express, he ran the first rotary press in the city, added a Sunday edition, and kept his publication scrupulously free from any influence of his own political views. Although a staunch Republican and a delegate to the national conventions of 1872 and 1876, he stood firm in supporting only honest party members in his paper.

In his early career as editor of the Buffalo Commercial Advertiser, Matthews associated with such notables asfuture president Grover Cleveland. A prominent attorney, Cleveland would prove to be a valuable ally when theeditor was sued for libel. Matthews was taken to court for printing a scandalous story involving David S. Bennett, a wealthy and influential senator. The firm of Lansing, .Folsom and Cleveland persuaded the court to rule against Bennett.

Yet, although Cleveland helped him through the libel suit, Matthews refused to compromise his political integrity. In the upcoming mayoral election, he clung to his Republican values and campaigned against Democrat Cleveland.

Known for his immpeccable honesty, Matthews was a respected personality in Buffalo. He was an active Episcopalian, member of St. John's Episcopal Church, and president of the diocesan Church Charity Foundation. He was therefore a very fi
tting choice as trustee for the new Ingersoll Memorial Chapel.

Although Mr. Matthews was greatly involved in the development of the chapel, he was less active in the running of the parish. The church was barely completed when he died at the age of sixty.

His memory lives on, however, as one notices the beautiful Tiffany triplet windows placed in the north and south transepts of the church. The north transept window is a memorial to James N. Matthews given by his son George E. Matthews, and the south triplet was given by J. .N. Matthews himself as a memorial to Harriet, his wife of thirty-seven years, and two of their four children. (His daughter Harriet had died at age six, and Austin had lived only three and one-half months.)

Judge James M. Smith, unlike either of his fellow trustees, did not join the new parish, preferring to remain a parishioner at Trinity. He did, however, serve the new church by donating the beautiful altar and reredos that originally graced the sanctuary, and by acting as a legal advisor upon whom Mr. Northrup called frequently.

Page by Chuck LaChiusa
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