Hall of Fame

Hall of Fame

On June 4, 1989, at the annual meeting, the Dansville Area Historical Society unveiled the Dansville Hall of Fame.  As many as 65 of the most noteworthy personage in the local history were nominated by a panel of experts, who then narrowed the list down to ten inductees.  Those ten were Cornelius McCoy, Dansville’s first settler; Daniel P. Faulkner, after whom the village was named; Dr. James Caleb Jackson, founder of Our Home On The Hillside; Clara Barton, of Red Cross fame; A.O. Bunnell, journalist and publisher; F.A. Owen, creator of Instructor magazine; Dr. Frederick R. Driesbach, father of the Dansville hospital; Lynn E. Pickard, originator of the airport; William D. Conklin, author of several books on Dansville history; and former Village Historian Wilfred J. Rauber, the only living inductee.

In 1995, ten more names were added to the Hall of Fame: Charles Williamson, the land agent who established the location of Dansville; Col. Nathaniel Rochester, builder of the village’s first paper mill; Capt. William Perine, namesake of two village streets and creator of Washington Park; Dr. James Faulkner, the local political giant who helped bring a canal to Dansville; Dr. James H. Jackson, who built the Jackson Sanatorium (the famed “Castle on the Hill”); Pell W. Foster Sr., founder of Power Specialty/Foster Wheeler; Bernarr Macfadden, the father of Physical Culture; Thomas P. Reilly, inventor of Ra-Pid-Gro; Nicholas H. Noyes, who helped provide new homes for the Red Cross and the -hospital; and Harold A Shay of Shay’s Service Inc., one of Dansville’s most dedicated civic servants.

Inducted in 1988 – 1989

Wilfred J. “Wutz” Rauber

Wilfred J. “Wutz” Rauber

(August 16, 1907 - February 12, 1992) Inducted 1988 Of the twenty men and women who have been inducted into the Dansville Area Historical Society’s Dansville Hall of Fame, two of them were still alive when they received the honor. When “Wutz” Rauber was informed of selection back in 1988, he replied with a letter to the Historical Society expressing his appreciation. He also mentioned the other inductees, many of whom were personal acquaintances: “Treasured memories include boyhood visits with Asa O. Bunnell on the veranda of that beautiful home he had christened “Top Col.”  On at least two such ...
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William D. Conklin

William D. Conklin

(June 8, 1890 - August 17, 1987) In his writings on local history, William Conklin was typically self-effacing; he always referred to himself as a “compiler” instead of an author, and in his most significant publication, he refused to give himself any credit at all. But students of the history of Dansville know better: few, if any, did as much to preserve Dansville’s rich historical heritage and make that history accessible to future researchers as did William D. Conklin. Born in Rochester, Conklin attended the University of Rochester, graduating in 1912, then transferred to Columbia University, graduating from its School ...
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Lynn E. Pickard

Lynn E. Pickard

(June 10, 1889 - July 31, 1968)Inducted 1988 – 1989 The Dansville Airport was the creation of Lynn E. Pickard (1889-1968), who was 22 years old when, in 1911, he was witness to the first airplane flight in Dansville. Joining the Army Air Force in 1918, he was commissioned as a pilot with combat rating; later, he obtained a commercial pilot’s license. From 1919 on, his Waco biplane was a familiar sight over the skies of Dansville. His hand-picked landing field was a 50-acre plot of land just off Maple Street. His campaign to make it into a bona fide ...
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Frederick A. Owen

Frederick A. Owen

(March 22, 1867 - July 18, 1935)Inducted 1988 Another of Dansville’s largest, and longest-lived, industries owed its existence to the dreams and ambitions of a teacher who strove to improve the teaching profession by spreading teaching ideas across the country, in a magazine he originaly produced in the attic of his mother-in-law’s country store. Frederick Augustus Owen was born in 1867 in the tiny hamlet of Beachville, near Rogersville (South Dansville).  He was educated at the Rogersville Seminary. which had been founded in 1842; but by the time Owen returned to work as a teacher, hard times had forced it to ...
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Dr. Frederick R. Driesbach

Dr. Frederick R. Driesbach

(May 31, 1865 - April 25, 1949)Inducted 1988 If anyone has ever adhered to the adage, “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again,” Frederick Driesbach was that person. For nearly a quarter of a century, he tried, tried, and tried again to establish a hospital in Dansville. His first two attempts met with little success, but his third attempt finally took hold, and it was in large part due to his dedication and doggedness that Dansville has been home to a hospital building for nearly a century. A distant relative of two other Hall of Famers, Daniel Faulkner ...
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Asa Othello Bunnell

Asa Othello Bunnell

(March 10, 1836 - December 1, 1923)Inducted 1989 He was Dansville’s premier newspaper publisher of the 19th century, and a friend and supporter of both James Caleb Jackson and Clara Barton.  Today However, He is Best known as the author and publisher ofthe first comprehensive history of Dansville. Asa Othello Bunnel was born in Lima.  At age 14, he came to Dansville to apprentice himself at the office of the Dansville Herald (which would eventually become Genesee Country Express).  In 1860, he launched his own paper, the Dansville Advertiser, of which he would be the owner, editor, and publisher for 48 ...
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Clara Barton

Clara Barton

(December 25, 1821 – April 12, 1912)Inducted 1989 It should come as little surprise that the Dansville Hall of Fame is not the only hall of fame to which Clara Barton has been elected. A cursory internet search also has the founder of the American Red Cross as a member of the Hall of Fame of Famous Americans; the National Woman’s Hall of Fame; the Health Care Hall of Fame; the Maryland Woman’s Hall of Fame; and the New Jersey Hall of Fame. Certainly Clara Barton is, far and away, the most famous person ever to have been a resident ...
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James C. Jackson

James C. Jackson

(March 28, 1811 – July 11, 1895)Inducted 1989 Of the twenty current inductees of the Dansville Hall of Fame, only one, Clara Barton, can be said to be a household name.  Two others, though, James Caleb Jackson and Bernarr Macfadden, enjoyed a fair amount of national renown in their respective times; and both had connections to Dansville, through the building commonly referred to as the “Castle on the Hill.” James Caleb Jackson was born in Manilus, NY in 1811, and was 47 years old when he first came to Dansville, to take over operations of a water cure facility that ...
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Daniel P. Faulkner

Daniel P. Faulkner

(March 1,1763 – January 12, 1802)Inducted 1989 Taken at face value, his resume may not sound all that impressive… a few years as a storekeeper, and founder or the local militia. and his death, in 1802 at the age or thirty-eight, came barely more than a half-decade after he moved to the area. But there must have been something about the man… that lead his fellow pioneer to name their fledgling settlement after him. Descended from the “Falkners” who came to America from Saxony in the 1600’s, Daniel was the fifth of eleven children; his father, John Faulkner Sr., fought ...
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Cornelius McCoy

Cornelius McCoy

(c.1762-3 -1809)The first settler of what is now the village of Dansville (along with his family, of coarse; one could argue that all of them should share Hall of Fame honors) was born in Northern Ireland in (or around) 1763. In 1788 he married widow Mary McCurdy; that same year, he, his wife, and his three stepchildren (David, James, and Mary) immigrated to America, and settled for a time in Buffalo Valley, Pennsylvania (not far from where Daniel Shays touched off the infamous Whiskey Rebellion) as farmers. In June 1795, drawn by the lure of a fresh start on land ...
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Inducted in 1988 – 1989

Harold A. “Tim” Shay

Harold A. “Tim” Shay

(June 12, 1913 - October 27, 2009)Inducted 1995 Some made it into the Dansville Hall of Fame as outstanding business leaders. Some made it in as outstanding civic leaders.  “Tim” Shay more than qualified on both counts. Harold Shay was born in Ossian in 1913.  His father, Lloyd Shay, was a notable area farmer and businessman who, around 1918, purchased a new REO Speed Wagon and began trucking produce and livestock not only from his own farm, but also from his neighbors’. After attending the University of Alabama, young Harold became his father’s business partner in their various business ventures ...
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Thomas P. Reilly

Thomas P. Reilly

(1885 - 1965)Inducted 1995 A special certificate, presented to Thomas P. Reilly in October 1959, pretty much says it all: SCIENTIFIC AWARD The American Horticulture Council through its Board of Directors presents this citation to you, Thomas P. Reilly of Dansville, New York for demonstrating in a practical way that plants could be fertilized through their leaves; for being the first to develop and market an effective plant food for foliar feeding; and for opening the way to a new cultural practice in horticulture. Born in Dansville, Reilly was the son of nurseryman Patrick Reilly, who founded the Reilly & ...
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Nicholas H. Noyes

Nicholas H. Noyes

(August 8, 1883 - December 1977) Inducted 1995 Sometime around the year 1900, a pair of teenage brothers were spotted in a sheep’s pasture on the outskirts of Dansville, trying to knock little balls into flowerpots with sticks…a game they picked up in college, but which was still largely unfamiliar to most ordinary folks. Within months, the local papers had taken note of the growing popularity of the game, and the owners of the Jackson Sanatorium, who saw the value to their patients of this not-overly-taxing outdoor activity, rushed in to take over what would soon be given the name ...
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Bernarr Macfadden

Bernarr Macfadden

(August 16, 1868 - October 12, 1955)In his biography, Mr. America, Mark Adams was probably accurate when he wrote, “Dansville is surely the only town in America where most of the residents recognize the name Bernarr Macfadden.”  He goes on to call Macfadden “arguably the most influential figure in the history of this nation’s love-hate relationship with exercise.”  In addition to our own Hall of Fame, Macfadden is also ensconced in the National Fitness Hall of Fame, Along such names as Charles Atlas, Jack Lelanne, and John Harvey Kellogg. Bernard McFadden (his birth name, which he would “edit” later in ...
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Pell W. Foster Sr.

Pell W. Foster Sr.

(1862 - 1947)Inducted 1995 Several successful buisinessmen are listed among the Dansville Hall of Famers; but it’s safe to say that more Dansvillians worked for this mans company than anyone elses in the village’s history. Pell Foster was born in New York City; his father William Foster Jr., was president of the first elevated railroad company in New York. He was also owner of the Retsof salt mine, which was founded in 1883 (Retsof, of course in Foster spelled backwards). That same year, Pell Foster graduated from the School of Mines at Columbia University, and would be employed as an ...
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Dr. James H. Jackson

Dr. James H. Jackson

(June 11, 1841 - February 18, 1928)James Hathaway Jackson, the subject of this sketch, has been for forty-four years a citizen of Dansville, and intimately connected with the Jackson Sanatorium, in its foundation, growth and development. His great great great grandfather was Lieutenant John Jackson, an inn keeper of Cambridge, Mass., who inherited the Brattle street lands of his uncle Richard Jackson, and who was active in Cambridge affairs from 1660 to 1690, and a member of Major Appleton's company in the Narragansett war. His great great grandfather was Deacon John Jackson, born in Weston, Mass.; and who was one ...
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Dr. James Faulkner

Dr. James Faulkner

(January 21, 1790 - October 19, 1884)The Livonia Gazette Livonia, Livingston County, New York. Friday, October 24, 1884 Dr. James Faulkner, one of the oldest residents of this county, and an estimable gentleman, died at his home in Dansville last Sunday. Dr Faulkner was born at Cambridge, Washington county, this State, January 2lst, l790. He came to Dansville January 11th, 1797, eighty-seven years ago, and has resided there since. When he came to Dansville the place was a wilderness and inhabited mostly by Indians. He practiced medicine for a while and was a surgeon in the American army during the ...
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Capt William Perine

Capt William Perine

(1754 - October 5, 1847)The mystery of Captain William Perine has been solved. Some weeks ago a request for information as to the burial place of this early Dansville citizen and Revolutionary soldier was published in these columns. Both the D. A. R. and the American Legion were anxious to locate the grave so that it might be appropriately marked. Mrs. Addie Weiermiller of this village recalled that several years ago the Cohocton Chapter of the D. A. R. placed a marker at the Grave of Captain Perine in a rural cemetery above Stone's Falls. This was done at the ...
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Col. Nathaniel Rochester

Col. Nathaniel Rochester

(February 21, 1752 - May 17, 1831)Inducted in 1995 from Dansville 1789-1902 Colonel Nathaniel Rochester, from whom the city of Rochester is named, visited this locality in 1800, and came to reside here in 1810, having first purchased a large tract of land embracing the most of the water power of the village. He bought the mills which had been erected for the Pulteney estate, and built the pioneer paper mill of Western New York. He was an officer of the Revolution and a friend of Washington. In 1814 he disposed of his property here, a part to Rev. Christopher ...
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Charles Williamson

Charles Williamson

(1757 - 1808)Charles Williamson was born on July 12, 1757, to Alexander Williamson, secretary to James Hope Johnstone, third Earl of Hopetoun, and his wife Christina Robertson, who lived on the estate of Balgray in Applegarth and Sibbaldbie Parish, Dumfriesshire. His family was prominent in local politics and business; Williamson's father served as an agent for the Earl of Hopetoun, and his mother had many family connections including Sir William Pulteney and future Cabinet member Henry Dundas, Lord Melville. At the onset of the Revolutionary War, Williamson purchased a commission as ensign in the 25th Regiment of Foot, and three ...
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