John Warwick Daniel was born in Lynchburg, Virginia in 1842. His father, William Daniel Jr., was a lawyer, a member of the Virginia Legislature, and a Judge of the Supreme Court of Appeals. Even his grandfather, William Daniel Sr., held political roles such as serving on the Virginia General Assembly in the late 1790s. With his family’s background in politics, it is not surprising that John Warwick Daniel would later get involved in similar endeavors.
Prior to entering politics, Daniel served in the army. During the Civil War, he served in the Confederate army from 1861-1864 and held the rank of Major. Daniel was a staff member for Major General Jubal A. Early and served alongside him in several campaigns, including Gettysburg. During the Battle of the Wilderness in May 1864, he became permanently disabled which caused him to resign his commission. Daniel would later be nicknamed the Lame Lion of Lynchburg because of these extensive wounds.
Despite being considered crippled, John Daniel went to study law at the University of Virginia. He would also later study at Lynchburg College and Dr. Gessner Harrison’s University School. He passed the bar in 1866 and returned to Lynchburg to establish his practice. He entered the world of politics becoming a member of the House of Delegates from 1869-1872. Then, Daniel was elected to the state senate in 1876 where he served until 1881. During his tenure in the state senate, Daniel was also an unsuccessful candidate for the position of Governor of Virginia. In 1884, he was elected as a Democrat to Congress and served from 1885-1887. Daniel was also elected as a Democrat to the United States Senate in 1887. He was reelected for this position in 1891, 1897, 1904, and 1910. John Warwick Daniel served on the United States Senate until his death in 1910. He was also a delegate to the Virginia Constitutional Convention in 1901.
During his time in the Senate, Daniel was a member of several committees, including the Committee on Public Health and National Quarantine, the Committee on Private Land Claims, and the Committee on Corporations Organized in the District of Columbia. He also served as chairman for the Committee on Revision of the Law of the United States. Daniel was also interested in veterans’ affairs and was deeply involved in the planning process of the Virginia Memorial on the Gettysburg Battlefield.
John Warwick Daniel died in Lynchburg on June 29, 1910 at the age of 67 and is buried in Spring Hill Cemetery. There is a large bronze statue of Daniel on the intersection of Park Avenue and 9th Street. His father’s home, Point of Honor, was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1970 and the home he was born in, the John Marshall Warwick House, was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1996.
Written by Kaitlin Shifflet
Volunteer Lynchburg Museum
LMS Research File