For years as I was growing up I had heard that my grandfather’s oldest brother Charles E Sheaffer was not a real Sheaffer. I remember my grandfather receiving news of Charles’ death in 1979 and saying well “he wasn’t really a Sheaffer”. I had always had an interest in knowing what the facts were in this case but never seemed to ask anyone until years later. In 2005 as I set out to do a full search on this story I contacted several older family members and ask them what they knew to which all replied they really hadn’t known the full story other than “he wasn’t really a Sheaffer”. After some reaching out through family members I was able to talk with 3 of Charles children who all never hid the fact that “he wasn’t really Sheaffer”. As I went into detail i was told bits and pieces of his story and was able to unfold to these children there true Parental Lineage. Sadie M (Walton) Sheaffer was my great-grandmother who in at 17 in 1909 was by this time working as a domestic for a young 40-year-old widower named Elmer Heiney, and his small children ages 10 & 4. By 1910 Sadie had a child named Charles E Sheaffer and in August of 1910 was married to Ralph D Sheaffer to whom she would have 11 more children to over the next 22 years. Charles’ children said he would not talk too much on who his real father was but that it was not Ralph. They were very interested in knowing this answer. My research really never led too much success early on and then one day I started analyzing an angle that I had not yet looked into, and that was who was Elmer Heiney and could he possibly be the father? I pondered this for sometime and decided to talk with one Charles’ children about the name “Heiney” and they immediately had heard of the name but had not known where and why this was familiar. I did an online searcher Elmer and fortunately found a gentleman who in fact had researched the “Heiney” line. The fact was that Elmer was really “Emlin” Heiney and often used Elmer over Emlin. He had known from his own research that Sadie was employed by Emlin for sometime but after 1910 disappeared. Between the two of us we inquired in some further research including a birth certificate for Charles which turned up nothing. We both knew that Emlin was most likely the father but could not conclusively theorize this. As I had mentioned earlier Emlin often went by the name Elmer and most often we spoke of him as Elmer. As I spent one night working on this angle and how was it possible to connect this I slowly started falling asleep at the keyboard (who hasn’t done that) and went to bed. Somewhere between being in a full sleep and subconsciously still thinking about this mystery it had come to me! I sat straight up in bed and proclaimed I got! I got it! to my wife’s displeasure. What I had realized and overlooked was so obvious that I couldn’t believe I hadn’t noticed it earlier. I now knew Emlin Heiney was indeed Charles Emlin Sheaffer’s real father! Yes! Charles’ middle name was Emlin! I contacted my research partner and we discussed this and felt in all probability this had to be the truth what else could it be? I contacted Charles’ children and they too felt comfortable with this idea. What solid proof is there? not much but about a year later I had met with Sadie’s younger sister Frances E Walton‘s
daughter and grandchildren. Now this is where it gets really interesting!! See Frances had a son Frank M Diehl
born in 1914 whom his children say was not really a Diehl!! One of the 2 daughters asked me to look into this like I had with Charles’ family. They said they could recall going with Frances (there grand-mother) to a funeral for a man whom Frances called “her true love”! They believed this mans last name was Heiney!! What? Could Emlin had fathered the child of Sadie’s sister as well? We all felt this was the likely father and pretty much went our own way for some months, all feeling we had uncovered a great mystery. Then out of nowhere my research partner contacted me with documentation of the Frances Walton-Heiney connection. Apparently in the city directories which I had neglected to look at he found a Frank Heiney was living in the same household as Sadies father, Frank Walton and her sister…..Frances and her son little Frank! this was in 2 directories and therefore pretty much confirmed the theory that Emlin Heiney and his son fathered chidlren to Sadie and Frances Walton… Frank Heiney was born in 1891 and would have been the same age as Sadie and only a year or two older than Frances. Is it even possible he fathered both of the sisters children???? I believe so, but I really think that with Sadie naming Charles after Emlin it is a fairly solid theory. The truth is this was an amazing story to be involved with and to have had all the Walton, Sheaffer, Diehl, and Heiney families all wanting to know the truth and willing to answer all question made it that much more of a joy to research…wish they are all like that!
Sadie M Walton→Emlin Heiney→ Charles Emlin Sheaffer
Frances E Walton→Frank Heiney→Frank Diehl