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Milam County, Texas

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Joseph T. Daniel

SOURCE: History of Texas, Together with a Biographical History of Milam, Williamson, Bastrop, Travis, Lee and Burleson Counties. (Chicago, IL: Lewis, 1893), p. 792-794.

Joseph T. Daniel, deceased, who resided on his farm in Milam county, Texas, for nearly half a century, was one of the venerable citizens of the county. A brief sketch of his life is as follows:

Joseph T. Daniel was born in Alabama, December 31, 1824, son of Peyton and Mary (Curry) Daniel, the former of Georgian birth, and the latter a native of Alabama. An orphan when quite young, Joseph T. Daniel was left to the care of his maternal grandparents, Thomas Curry and wife, with whom at the age of ten years, he came to Texas. He remained a member of their family until he reached his majority. While his educational advantages were limited, he was fortunate in receiving good training otherwise, his grandparents being industrious, moral people, who instilled into him good principles, their daily lives being in accord with their teachings.

On coming to Texas, Mr. and Mrs. Curry took up their residence, about January 5, 1835, in the settlement then constituting Robertson's colony, --what is now Robertson county. There the grandfather died in 1840, leaving to young Daniel his right to a league of land, which he had located in what is now Milam county. This county was then unorganized and was practically unoccupied territory, the Indians being too numerous and hostile to permit of its settlement.

Mr. Daniel was yet young and not desirous of settling down, so he held the paper but made no attempt to improve the land. In the meantime, his services being called for in defense of the settlers, he entered the various organizations as they were raised, and helped through several years to protect the frontier against both the Indians and Mexicans. In 1840-1841 he was a member of the organization known as the "Minute Men," and participated with this organization in a number of expeditions against the redskins.

In 1842 he joined the expedition against Mexico, under General Sumervell, and was out on duty several months. Later, he was in the celebrated Snively expedition, organized to intercept the Mexican train on its way to St. Louis with gold and silver, which expedition failed in its purpose to get the precious metal but succeeded in getting some fighting out of the Mexicans. Then, in 1846, he enlisted in Ross' regiment for the Mexican war, and served on the Rio Grande for three months, or until the close of hostilities.

Marrying in 1847, Mr. Daniel moved out to the claim, which his grandfather had left him in Milam county, and on this tract of land he afterward made his home. Live stock was the principal source of revenue at an earlier day, and Mr. Daniel was profitably engaged in raising and selling horses and cattle until the opening of the late war, during the first two years of the war managing to hold his business pretty well in hands, but on the call for volunteers in 1863, he entered the confederate service and was in it until the cessation of hostilities, serving on the Gulf coast and in the vicinity of Galveston.

When he returned home after the close of the war he found most of his property gone, and it was not until after several years of hard work and close economy that he was able to replace what he had lost. In 1870 he turned his attention to the mercantile business. In this venture however, he was unfortunate, losing not only the ready cash he had, but also having to sacrifice some of his land in order to save his credit. He then retired to his farm and thereafter gave his attention strictly to farming pursuits, the place comprising about 200 acres of black soil, well located, most of which is under cultivation and productive.

Mr. Daniel was twice married. In March 1847, he wedded Miss Nancy House, daughter of John House, who moved to Texas from Mississippi in 1836, dying shortly afterward in Robertson county or colony as it was then called. This lady was a native of Mississippi. They became the parents of seven children, as follows: Frances Daniel, who was married to W. C. Sparks, and who died in Bell county, this State, April 21, 1888; Mary C. Daniel, wife of Mike Rogers, Milam county; Wade H. Daniel, a resident of Oregon; Joseph P. Daniel, who died in 1881, leaving a widow and three children; Artilla Daniel, wife of James Swann, Bell county, died February 2, 1890; Dora Daniel, wife of J. W. Smith; and John D. Daniel, a farmer of Milam county.

Mrs. Daniel died September 19, 1871 and May 18, 1873, Mr. Daniel married Mrs. Sarah Riggan, the widow of Rev. M. T. Riggan, formerly of Milam county. The present Mrs. Daniel is a daughter of John and Elizabeth Gillmore, natives of Alabama. Her father was a leading Methodist divine of Alabama and Mississippi for many years, dying in the latter State, October 2, 1844, of typhoid fever. His wife died on the same day and of the same disease.

Mrs. Daniel had five children by her former marriage, none of whom are now living. By her last marriage she had no children. Mrs. Daniel, as was also her late lamented husband, is a member of the Methodist Church and zealous in the support of all church work.

Politically, Mr. Daniel was originally a Democrat, but in later years was independent, with a leaning toward the People's party. Fraternally, he was a Chapter Mason.

On the 5th of April 1893, Mr. Daniel was stricken down with paralysis and lay until the 29th of August, when he departed this life, sincerely lamented by all.

We must say a special thank you to Sylvia Thomas of Georgetown, Texas, for typing the above biographical sketch for use on the Milam County TXGenWeb site.

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