Group studio portrait showing the 7 Sutherland Sisters (Sarah, Victoria, Isabella, Grace, Naomi, Dora, Mary) and an unidentified cute man
One of Niagara County’s historical attractions apart from the Falls is really not an attraction at all, but more like a family sensation. Calling Cambria, New York their home, The Seven Sutherland Sisters were world-famous for their incredible hair, which reportedly had a collective length of 37 feet. It is said that the siblings’ mother, Mary Sutherland, applied an ointment on the young girls’ hair to stimulate growth. Their classmates often complained of the offensive odor.
The Sutherland children were all musically inclined and performed around New York State as the “Sutherland Concert of Seven Sisters and One Brother.” In 1881, they entertained at the Atlanta Exposition in Georgia. Around 1884, when the Sisters were traveling with Barnum and Bailey’s “Greatest Show on Earth,” their father, Fletcher Sutherland, realized that crowds flocked to see the girls’ long hair more than their singing talents. He mixed together a liquid concoction that he called “The Seven Sutherland Sisters Hair Grower.” He sent a bottle to a chemist for an analysis and received the following testimonial: “Cincinnati, Ohio, March, 1884: – Having made a Chemical Analysis of the Hair Grower prepared by the Seven Long Haired Sisters, I hereby certify that I found it free from all injurious substances. It is beyond question the best preparation for the hair ever made and I cheerfully endorse it. — J.R. Duff, M.D., Chemist.”
The Seven Sutherland Sisters Corp. bottled and distributed the Hair Grower from New York City and sold $90,000 worth of product the first year. They soon added a Scalp Cleanser, a Seven Sutherland Sisters Comb and eight shades of Hair Colorators. After achieving world-wide fame in 1893, the Sutherland Sisters spared no expense when building their new mansion on the Ridge Road just west of Warrens Corners. The house had 14 rooms, a marble lavatory with hot and cold running water, a turret, cupola and peaked gables, beds imported from Europe, black walnut woodwork, hardwood floors, massive chandeliers, as well as an attic room for the cook and maids.
On January 24, 1938, the mansion burned to the ground, taking many relics of The Sisters’ glory days with it. The Sutherland family lived lives of extreme excess, and even though they earned millions of dollars in their lifetimes, they all died destitute of their riches.