RECOLLECTIONS OF LIVING OLD CITIZENS ca. 1902 (post 1)


Taken from Dansville 1795 – 1902

Dansville 1789-1902 inside cover

Mrs. Katherine Rochester Shepard, widow of the late Charles Shepard, and granddaughter of Colonel Nathaniel Rochester, writes from Seattle, Washington, a letter of interest from which some facts are selected. When Joshua Shepard came to Dansville he established a general store in partnership with Lester Bradner just south of the present Livingston hotel. In 1817 he married Miss Elizabeth Hurlbut of Arkport. About 1820 he purchased a farm in Sparta which is now known as the Galbraith farm.  He lived there three years, and then returned to Dansville to occupy his new home, now known as the Shepard homestead. This was completed in 1824. Elizabeth Shepard held the twenty-four locust trees now encircling the residence while they were being planted. Sometime prior to this Mr. Shepard had bought what was known in the family as “the 38-acre farm,” extending from Main street to the present Lackawanna railroad, bounded on the north by Ferine street, then a mere lane, the southern boundary being just south of the present Shepard block. It was afterward cut into lots and most of it sold. One of the latest sales was the right of way to the Lackawanna railroad. Mrs. Shepard has a copy of the deed of gift by Joshua and Elizabeth Shepard in July, 1829, of the ground occupied by the First Presbyterian church just north of the Shepard block, and burned in the great fire of 1854.  The husband died in 1829 and the wife in 1870. Charles Shepard donated a part of the land for the Dansville Seminary.  “You probably know,” Mrs. Shepard writes, “that the public square upon which several of the churches are built, was given to the village by my grandfather. Col. Nathaniel Rochester. I have a distinct recollection of the first church service I attended in Dansville, shortly after  my marriage in 1846. It was held in the upper school district in the schoolhouse standing upon the square. St. Peter’s parish had been already organized and the church was, I think, in the course of erection at this time. Rev. Mr. Buell was missionary in charge.  On entering the school house we found the men sitting on one side of the building and the women upon the other. It made a great impression upon me as I had never before seen anything so  primitive.” (Mrs. Shepard died at Seattle May 20, 1902,’ and her remains with those of her husband were brought to Dansville and buried in Greenmount cemetery May 27.)

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4 thoughts on “RECOLLECTIONS OF LIVING OLD CITIZENS ca. 1902 (post 1)

  1. Thanks for this Chad. Is there anything published re: Frederick Durr (tailor) or Charles W. Woolever (pharmacist) that u know of? These are my ancestors. Thanks

    • In 1879, the Hamilton & Parmelee drug store was purchased by a newcomer to town, Mount Morris native Charles W. Woolever.
      C. W. Woolever was a member of the Board of Education, Dansville Royal Arch Chapter No. 91 (secretary) and Phoenix Lodge No. 115, F. &A. M. in 1902.
      He was Worthy Master (Vice President) of the Phoenix Lodge No. 115, F. & A. M. in 1900 and was the treasurer of the Dansville Board of Trade when it was first organized in 1889.
      Former drug store owner Charles Woolever, 79, passed away on March 1.

      • thanks very much for this info, Chad!! Charles and Mary Durr Woolever were my great grandparents. I still have a large collection of their lovely china and silverware.

  2. great reading here, my ancestors were the Brail Family of Sandy Hill….Also the Cole Families of Dansville. My Great Grandmother was a GGGranddaughter of John Brail.

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