Family stories: Daniel Sheffey (1884 – 1968)

Daniel Sheffey & Emma WadeThis family history was sent to me by Toni, a cousin through marriage. It is an account of my paternal great-uncle Daniel Sheffey. This Daniel was a newly found family relation, literally stumbled upon last year.

Daniel’s first wife was Mary Turnbull, who died in 1944. I believe she was a school teacher. They didn’t have any children. The Turnbull’s were free people of color from Henry Co, Virginia.

Dan was known as the “coloured” foot doctor in Rocky Mount, Franklin Co, VA. Because he was so pale in colour, he was the only coloured merchant to have an office downtown. Only white people were seen at his office. He would go home in the evening, eat supper, and see coloured patients through his kitchen. Dan would accept payment in the form of eggs, milk, food, etc if the patients didn’t have any money.

Dan’s second wife [Emma Wade] was my grandmother’s cousin. She was several years younger than he. The picture I have attached was taken in the late 1940s or early 1950s.

I don’t know if Dan could sing, but he was the choir director for the black 1st Baptist Church in Rocky Mount, VA. Several residents in Rocky Mount remember him. They called him “Danny Boy.”

The photo is invaluable for many reasons. I find it fascinating on a very basic level. There is a striking resemblance between Daniel, my father, my brother and me. While it’s regrettable we never knew him – or knew of him – he was family…and a wonderful discovery.

Thank you Toni for the information!

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