The Overbey Family And Their Homes

The Overbey Family And Their Homes
D.A. Overbey
D.A. Overbey (1853-1931)

Daniel Alonzo “D.A.” Overbey came to Danville in the 1870’s from Mossingford in Charlotte County. Here he married Sallie E. Shepherd and lived with his mother-in-law, also Sallie Shepherd, at 131 (later 512 or 516) Wilson Street near the present-day intersection with Court Street. Wilson Street was a residential area at that time

Two of three sons were born here – William Daniel Overbey in 1876 and John Edwin Overbey in 1886.  D.A. partnered in the Main Street mercantile firm of Overbey and Anderson, later Overbey and Swanson, during that time.  He also served as a City Councilman

Sometime before 1896, D.A. remarried to Mary “Mamie” Echols of Glasgow and moved to the newer section of the city (now the Old West End) at 169 Holbrook Avenue (below). Six children were born of this marriage including third son Daniel Alonzo Overbey, Jr., in 1901.

169 Holbrook Avenue
169 Holbrook Avenue

At this time, D.A. was involved in a number of businesses beside mercantile. He served as president of The Bank of Danville and president of the Danville Lumber and Manufacturing Company – the source of materials for many Old West End homes.

A terrifying incident occurred on December 11, 1902, when the horse and carriage carrying D.A. and his children ran away on Main Street. It was not known why the animal decided to run, but he took a straight course down the street until colliding with James Penn’s unoccupied carriage. That carriage was overturned and damaged, but the collision allowed D.A., carrying his children, to escape unhurt. The horse continued his mad race down the street until stopped by Howard Barksdale.

By 1906, D.A. added a branch of the mercantile business in the new Schoolfield village called Park Place Mercantile Company and an ice business named the Crystal Ice Company. Crystal Ice and the competing Danville Ice Company later combined under D.A.’s leadership in the 19-teens.

D.A. served as a Deacon of the First Presbyterian Church (sketch below) for many years. He was a trustee for the Presbyterian Sunnyside Home. He was chairman of the building committee to construct the present building at the corner of Main Street and Sutherlin Avenue, completed in 1911.

First Presbyterian Church ca. 1911
First Presbyterian Church ca. 1911

With a total of three sons and five daughters, many living at home, the house at 169 Holbrook Avenue was feeling a little crowded. Sometime in the early 19-teens, a new larger home was built at 605 Holbrook at the corner with Colquhoun Street, across the street from his friend A.B. Carrington. This was a prime location at the time.

D.A. expired there in 1931. At the time of his death, The Bee reported more of his other associations including a director of the Danville Traction and Power Company (the trolley), vice president of the Danville Knitting mills, and director of the Riverside and Dan River Cotton Mills.

Little is known of the home at 605 Holbrook Avenue today as it was replaced by the Magnolia Apartments many years ago.  D.A.’s widow Mamie passed in 1977 in the Roman Eagle Memorial Home at the age of 102.

D.A.’s oldest son William Daniel “W.D.” Overbey lived in the home of his grandmother, Sallie Shepherd, at 782 Main Street (below) from his boyhood. After living on Wilson Street, Sallie purchased the Main Street home at auction from the estate of its original owner R.W. Lawson. The home passed to W.D. on Sallie’s death in 1904.

782 Main Street
782 Main Street

W.D. brought his new wife, May Hutchinson, there in 1902 and their son W. Dudley Overbey was born there in 1906.  It was W.D. and May who updated the façade of the home in 1911 in the Georgian Revival style with the semi-circular portico.

W.D. Overbey
W.D. Overbey (1876-1962) Passport Photo

W.D. was vice president of Danville Ice Company and Danville Knitting Mills and vice president, secretary and treasurer of the Danville Lumber and Manufacturing Company.  He was a director of the Danville Military Institute, a member of Dove Commandery No. 7 Knights Templar, and he sat on the city’s Power Commission.  W.D. passed in 1962.

In July 1972, it was W.D.’s son Dudley Overbey who obtained permission to demolish the house on behalf of his widowed mother May. The site was thought to be ideal for a filling station. Fortunately, the demolition never occurred, and the home was sold to new owners.

D.A.’s second son John Edwin Overbey was an insurance man. He was an official in both local and state insurance organizations. He was a Rotarian, a member of the school board, a president of the Danville Country Club, and a president of the Chamber of Commerce. He also followed his father as the president of Danville Ice Company (later the Danville Ice and Coal Company).

John spent some years at 782 Main Street around 1910. Later, he and his wife Annie Dovel lived at 126 West Main (now employee parking for Sovah Health). After the death of his father, John and Annie resided at 605 Holbrook Avenue with his stepmother Mamie. John passed in 1971.

Dan Overbey, Jr.
Dan Overbey, Jr. (1901-1976))

D.A.’s third son and namesake, Daniel Alonzo “Dan” Overbey, Jr., was a treasurer at Riverside and Dan River Cotton Mills.  He also served on the city council from 1966 to 1970.

As newlyweds, Dan and his wife Rebecca lived with his parents at 605 Holbrook Avenue. Their son, Daniel Alonzo Overbey III was born there in 1930. However, they lived in the Forest Hills neighborhood for most of their married life. Dan Overbey passed in 1976.



  1. Another great story. I sigh every time I hear about grand houses no longer standing in Danville. But I rejoice at the ones we still have. Tear down that house for a filling station?! What were people thinking of in the 1970s? I wonder if this Overbey family are kin to the Overbeys in Chatham> Buddy and Alice, Buck, etc. Great folks.

  2. My whole body tensed on reading about the demolition. America needs to abandon the myth that bigger is better because it’s just not.
    Back in the day there was no need for this “peacock” behaviour and society can learn from this.

  3. Thank goodness someone stepped in and bought 782 Main back in 1972 rather than see it demolished for a gas station.

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