James Mitchell Daniel


9th Texas Artillery

Compiled by Skipper Steely and Ron Brothers

James Mitchell Daniel was born 11 Jun 1833 and died 7 Apr 1916.

He married Emmy B. Wright on 12 Jan 1858 in Lamar County, Texas.

He is buried in Evergreen Cemetery,

Block E, Lot 04SW, Space 02

in Paris, Lamar County, Texas.

From The History of Lamar County, by A. W. Neville, North Texas Publishing Co., 1937, pp. 118-119:

Captain Daniel's Men

Captain James M. Daniel had organized an artillery company. The record in the Lamar county clerk's office says: "Pursuant to in agreement the members of the Paris Artillery met in the city of Paris, county of Lamar, state of Texas, at the company armory and there and at that time declared themselves an incorporated body under the provisions of an Act passed by the legislature of Texas, 15 Feb., 1858, under the name and style of the Lamar Artillery. The company beat was established within the county limits of Lamar county and the armory duly indicated in said county in the city of Paris.

"The roll being called and 36 members being present they elected officers who were installed and entered upon the discharge of their duties." The certificate with the roster of the company was filed and entered of record by Jacob Long, county clerk, dated July 8, 1861.

This company was later increased in enrollment. April 15, 1862, the county clerk recorded Captain Daniel's certificate that the company had been accepted into the service of the Confederate States by the secretary of war and was put under orders January 18, 1862, and that the company completed organization by election of officers March 8, 1862, and entered into a camp of instruction at Paris. It may be noted that some of the men had been enrolled in one of the other companies formed previously by Captain Milton Webb and Captain Sam Bell Maxey, and it is probable that they were again shifted, in some instances, before Maxey completed raising the Ninth regiment and marched them to the front the next year. Neither did all these men go with that regiment, for some of them were over the age for service at that time, and were needed for duty in the county as badly as for the army."


August 1997

Fine Home Marks Legacy of Capt. Daniel

By Skipper Steely

Often the question arises, "Just who was the Capt. Daniel who built the neat home on West Kaufman Street?"

In a minute I'm ready for a dissertation. Reconstructed by Mamie Graves in 1946 and again by G. I. Hodges in the early 198Os, the home and its original inhabitants are as fascinating as Gen. Sam Bell Maxey and his lineage.

James Mitchell [sic] Daniel came to Paris In 1856 to work on the rail effort called the Memphis, El Paso and Pacific. He was a self-taught civil engineer from a first family of Virginia. His ancestors were signers of the Declaration of Independence, soldiers in the revolution and war of 1812, doctors, lawyers, and at one time, he had a great uncle on the Supreme Court of the United States. However, Daniel's own education was cut short by first the death of his mother in 1840 when he was 7 years old. Four years later, he and his five brothers were farmed out to relatives after his father and step-mother died in a scarlet fever epidemic. According to his own notes, Daniel went to his Uncle Traver's home in Richmond at age 10, going to school for four years while the split family tried to survive.

Daniel left home at 14 with "... a bundle and not a cent of money to earn my living by buying corn and fodder for the Richmond and Danville Railroad contractors." He earned $12 per month. In September 1848, his older brother John secured him a job on the construction of the Virginia and Tennessee Railroad as a rodman at $30. For the subsequent six years he learned.

Hearing of rail efforts in the southwest, Daniel traveled to Galveston, setting foot in Texas on the last day of 1854. A bit of work in Arkansas brought him knowledge of the MEP & PRR effort funded mainly by Northeast Texans. He was hired to the engineering corps, and at a ball at the Cole Hotel in Paris in 1857, he met Emily Wright. A year later they married and Daniel was connected to Paris forever.

The Civil War effort not only killed off the railroad work, it painfully split Daniel's family. His first cousin Moncure Daniel Conway left Falmouth, VA in 1853 disgusted with the slave life the South. By 1860 Daniel's brother John was a very influential newspaper editor, serving also as minister of Italy. He came home to take up the Southern cause, though his writings show a less than full support of secession. Daniel formed an artillery battery here and thus was dubbed "Captain" for the rest of his life.

During reconstruction he took his family to Brooklyn where he continued the attempt by Texas investors to prop up the rail effort begun 12 years earlier. After a soured venture involving controversial figure John C. Fremont and a game of pyramid, Daniel moved away from that railroad idea and on to Richmond, where he went into banking. However, one lousy event after another discouraged Daniel and Emily, who was homesick for Texas. When a daughter fell out of a second story window the final stage was set. They moved back in 1876 to the plot of land in southwest Paris.

On it then was only a cabin-type house, similar to the structure to the south of the large house seen today from 5th SW. In 1877, bad fortune beget good luck. Emily's father died and two weeks later Paris burned to the ground. Daniel was to profit in the rebuilding effort and by 1878 he owned the town street railway, pulled by mules.

He then went mining in Colorado off and on for two years, using his engineering expertise. This led, to an adventure in Mexico. In 1882, he went to Agues Calientes, a small area in central Mexico and began mining silver.

The house we call Kaufman Terrace was completed in 1876ish and six children grew up in it. Keeping in the tradition of the Daniel family line, one male never married and led an interesting life and as the older generation here knows, Mary remained single and caretaker of the estate. One sister married and stayed in Paris. Three Daniel sons moved to either Brooklyn or Nebraska. All were college educated.

Daniel eventually lost the mine, backing the wrong side during the 1912 revolution there. Emily died in 1908 on the pairs' 50th wedding anniversary. The captain barely survived the Paris fire of 1916, dying a month later.

His design for the Paris water and sewer system still serves us today. He gave to our first library effort in 1881, helped establish the First Presbyterian Church, contributed to our street system, water development and helped begin a commercial school. A downtown building was still in the estate until 1988 and his house wows people daily as they drive by.

Four direct relatives exist today in California, never having visited the home. One descendant, Frances Ragland Tillson of North Carolina, does periodically come to town. Just like Maxey, CowJohn Chisum, W. J. McDonald and J. J. Culbertson, the people die but their contributions carry on in Paris for generations."

From an newspaper obituary clipping from The Paris Scrapbook compiled by Skipper Steely:

"Capt. J. M. Daniel, one of the oldest and foremost residents of Paris, who was esteemed by everybody as one of the best men who ever lived here, died at 9:30 o'clock yesterday morning at his home at the corner of Eighteenth and Kaufman streets, where he located fifty-eight years ago.

His death came as a painful surprise to most of his friends, as he had been sick only a few days. He was taken sick last Sunday night with a congestive chill and grew worse rapidly. He had been unconscious for a day or two before his death. All of the children were with him when he died except one of the sons, Dr. W. W. Daniel, who will arrive from New York this morning.

The deceased was born in Falmouth, Stafford county, VA, June 11, 1833, and was in his eighty-third year. In the early part of his life he followed the profession of a civil engineer. He came down the Mississippi river to New Orleans and by boat from there to Galveston. From Galveston he went to San Antonio, and from there via Austin and Dallas to Paris, riding across the country with a man who carried the mail and reaching Paris in December, 1854. Soon after his arrival at Paris he was employed to make the survey for the present Texas and Pacific road, which at the time of its location was known as the Memphis, El Paso and Pacific road. He made the entire survey from Memphis to El Paso.

Capt. Daniel located in Paris in 1857, and married Miss Emma B. Wright, the daughter of George W. Wright, one of the pioneer settlers of this section of the state.

At the beginning of the war he secured a commission in Richmond, VA, to raise a battery of artillery, which he did in Paris, and served throughout the war, the entire battery being composed of Paris men.

In 1868 he moved with his family to New York and made that city his home until 1871, when the family moved to Richmond and made their home in that city until 1876. He then returned to Paris, where he made his home up to the time of his death. While Paris was his home he was extensively engaged in the silver mining business both in Colorado and Mexico and had been interested in Mexican mines for twenty-five years. He spent a considerable part of his time at the Mexican mines, his property being located in the state of Zacatecas, and which were being worked when the country was torn to pieces by the revolution.

He was one of six brothers, one of whom was John Moncure Daniel, an able journalist, who was editor of the Richmond Examiner, and who was minister to Italy eight years under the Pierce and Buchanan administrations.

The wife of Capt. Daniel died nearly eight years ago on their wedding anniversary. He leaves four sons, Walter, George, William and Mitchell Daniel, and three daughters, Mrs. Gussie Haile, Mrs. C. M. Ragland and Miss Mary Daniel.

Capt. Daniel built the first street railway in Paris in 1878. He was one of the most useful and progressive citizens of the town and always had strong faith in its future. He was a man of soldierly bearing, a Chesterfield in manner, and while he presented a commanding appearance, he was an unaffected gentleman of true nobility of nature, who had a warm spot in his heart and a friendly greeting for the humblest.

The funeral service will be held at 3 o'clock tomorrow and will be conducted by Rev. T. M. Lemly, pastor of the First Presbyterian church, of which he was a member."

From Rodgers and Wade Furniture Co. Funeral Records in possession of Fry and Gibbs Funeral Home; Book #9; p.7; Service #86;

J. M. Daniel;

charge to estate;

ordered by C. M. Ragland;

secured by estate;

date of funeral, 9 Apr 1916;

residence, Kaufman St.;

place of death, residence;

services at 1st Presbyterian Church 3:00 p.m.;

Clergyman, Lemly;

Physician, L. P. McCuistion;

cause of death, Erysipelas;

date of death, 7 Apr 1916, 9:30 a.m.;

date of birth, 11 Jun 1833;

Widower, age 83 years;

born Va;

Father, John Daniel, born VA;

interment at Evergreen;

casket 6/3 $115.00;

vault $75.00;

embalming $25.00;

Surrey $3.00;

hearse $10.00;

7 carriages $24.50;

wagon for flowers $2.50;

coach $5.00;

open grave $6.00;

Total $266.00.

Pallbearers: H. P. Mayer, F. D. Mallory, J. G. Marshall, H. H. McClanham, A. P. Park, R. J. Murphy.

Pictures courtesy of Skipper Steely, Paris, Texas.

©Ron Brothers and Skipper Steely, 1999, All Rights Reserved.

May 23, 1999

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