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.)

Community Program: Thursday, July 24, 2014

The Dansville Area Historical Society will be sponsoring Erica Joan Wanescki’s Medicine Show. This will cover patent medicines from the around the late 1800’s to early 1900’s.



Cola Hostetter's Bitters - patent medicine

oil-of-gladness Patent-Medicine-Trade-Cards-43 SOOTHING SYRUP

What: Erica Joan Wanescki’s Medicine Show

Location: North Dansville Town Hall, 14 Clara Barton Street, Dansville, NY 14437

Time: 7:00 pm

Bastian’s Historic Desk Gets New Home At Red Cross (1952)

From the Genesee Country Express, Dansville N. Y., November 27, 1952 (Page 5)

FOR 71 YEARS there has been a tie between the Bastian Pharmacy – which will reopen on Friday as the Winship Pharmacy – Clara Barton Chapter No. 1 of the American Red Cross. That tie is embodied in a tradition, and is symbolized by a fine old handmade walnut desk. This desk has just been presented to the chapter by Mrs. Carl E. Bastian.
The tradition is one of interest in, and support of, the American Red Cross, begun in the very year the organization was founded and carried down through nearly three-quarters of a century.
In the summer of 1881, when Dansville folk decided they would like to organize a local Red Cross society, “Dr.” Gottlob Bastian was one of the group of community leaders who conferred with Clara Barton, at that time a resident of Dansville.
Their idea was to honor Miss Barton, and encourage her in her struggle to gain U.S. adherence to the Geneva Convention. A few months earlier she had organized the American Association of the American Red Cross in Washington.
Because it was not easy for “Dr.” Bastian to leave his pharmacy, the organizing group, including Miss- Barton, gathered there. They used the desk which -may now be much more than 71 years old. The Dansville pharmacy with which Bastian associated himself, when he came from Germany in 1852, had been established by Edward Niles in 1834.
“Dr.” Bastian, sole owner of the business from 1870, was succeeded 30 years later by his son, Edward Niles Bastian; who carried on until death claimed him in 1923. In that, year, Carl Edward Bastian, representing the third generation of the family, took charge. From then until his death, last May he was one-of Dansville’s leading businessmen—a pharmacist with a genuinely professional attitude.
Carl Bastian was proud of the store’s association with Red Cross history, and was a generous supporter of Clara Barton Chapter. At the time of the chapter’s 50th Anniversary in 1931, he and his uncle, Dr. Emil Rauth of Brooklyn (who had been a personal friend of Miss Barton) arranged a unique window display. Included was an oil portrait of Gottlob Bastian, painted by Dr. Rauth. This also has been given to Clara Barton Chapter. Another
display relating to the Red Cross was used in the Bastian window during the Town and Village Centennial in 1946.

Business Member Profile: NAPA Auto Parts


NAPA Auto Parts in Dansville became one of Dansville Area Historical Society’s NEW business members in 2013. We would like to thank them for there membership and ask that you support them as well.

A unique feature of the Dansville Napa Auto Parts store is the over size NAPA hat that sits on top of the side door.  I helps to keep the snow from piling up in front of he door too!!


NAPA logo
Napa billboard
This Billboard is located 1 mile north of Zerfass Rd. on State Rt. 63
NAPA Auto Parts
11 Ossian St, Dansville
(585) 335-2275

Business Member Profile: Better Homes Furniture

Better Homes Furniture in Dansville is one of Dansville Area Historical Society’s NEW business members for 2013. They have been in the business of selling retail furniture and floor coverings since 1998. We carry LAZBOY, England, Ashley, Lancer. Liberty, Vaughan Bassett, Sleep Logic Chiropractic Bedding, Mohawk and Quick Step Flooring. A bit of history for this location is listed below

Better Homes Furniture 1998 – Present

Fox Furniture: 1988 – 1997

Johnson Furniture: 1944 – 1986+ (Grand Opening Sept. 1945)

Johnson Furniture


In 1945 the Johnson Furniture Company purchased the furniture business of the Wilson-Altmeyer Company. A history of the business operated in this location by the predecessors can be found in another part of the paper. The Johnson Furniture Company, before opening for business, completely remodeled the store.  The manager of the store, which is one of several operated in this area by the parent company, is Kenneth Mead, who has Quickly proven himself to be a public spirited business man. He has entered wholeheartedly into the activities of several local organizations. As a member of the Board of Trade he advocated many progressive moves for the betterment of local retail merchants. In the Lions Club, Fish and Game Club, and the Dansville Lodge, Loyal Order of the Moose, Mr. Mead has taken an active part giving generously of his time and ability.

1959: Richard Stevens, manager, Johnson Furniture

Wilson-Altmeyer Company: 1934 (Ossian Street Store) – 1944

Wilson  Altmeyer094

Wilson-Altmeyer 1934 Grand Opening on Ossian Street-renovated

Contact Information:
Better Homes Furniture
13 Ossian Street
Dansville, New York 14437
(585) 335-8430

Store Hours: Monday-Saturday: 9am-5pm
Thursday And Friday 9am-7pm

We take pride in selling quality home furnishings and floor coverings to our customers and we stand behind our products and our service.