Robert Williams Daniel

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Robert Williams Daniel
Robert W. Daniel.jpg
Robert W. Daniel, Sr.
Member of the Virginia Senate
from the 6th district
In office
1936 – December 20, 1940
Preceded by W. O. Rogers
Succeeded by Garland Gray
Personal details
Born September 11, 1884
Richmond, Virginia
Died December 20, 1940(1940-12-20) (aged 56)
Richmond, Virginia
Resting place Hollywood Cemetery
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) Mrs. Eloise Hughes Smith (1914 - divorced 1923)
Mrs. Marjorie Durant Campbell (1923 - divorced 1928)
Mrs. Charlotte Bemiss Christian (1929 - 1940)
Children Margery Randolph Daniel
Robert Williams Daniel, Jr.
Residence Lower Brandon Plantation, Prince George County, Virginia
Occupation Banker
Religion Episcopalian

Robert Williams Daniel (September 11, 1884 - December 20, 1940) was a bank executive who survived the sinking of the RMS Titanic in 1912, and later served in the Senate of Virginia.

Early life[edit]

Daniel was born on September 11, 1884 in Richmond, Virginia, the son of James Robertson Vivian Daniel and Hallie Wise Williams.[1]

A descendant of William Randolph he was related to many prominent Americans. His great-grandfather Peter V. Daniel, was an Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court, and his great-great-grandfather, Edmund Randolph, was the seventh Governor of Virginia, the first Attorney General of the United States and later served as Secretary of State.

Survivor of the RMS Titanic[edit]

Daniel boarded the Titanic at Southampton, England as a first class passenger bound for New York City. The Sinking of the Titanic quotes Charles Lightoller as saying that after the sinking Daniel was rescued from the water by "a passing lifeboat". [2] He was interviewed by multiple New York newspapers giving his recollections of the Titanic disaster, including the ship's last moments.

The April 20, 1912 edition of the New York Times stated:

he [Daniel] jumped, struggling among the ice-floes until rescued. He was articulate and adamant; it was Murdoch, he said, who had shot himself in the temple. "I was not more than ten feet away, I do not believe the stories that Captain Smith ended his life. He stuck to his post to the last. He was a brave man."

The New York Herald quoted Daniel in its April 19, 1912 edition as claiming to have seen Titanic's Captain Edward John Smith in the wheelhouse which was slowly being swallowed by the icy sea:

Captain Smith was the biggest hero I ever saw. He stood on the bridge and shouted through a megaphone, trying to make himself heard.' :I saw Captain Smith on the bridge. My eyes seemingly clung to him. The deck from which I had leapt was immersed. The water had risen slowly, and was now to the floor of the bridge. Then it was to Captain Smith's waist. I saw him no more. He died a hero.[3]

While aboard the rescue ship, RMS Carpathia, he met fellow Titanic survivor, Eloise Hughes Smith, daughter of U.S. Representative James A. Hughes, whose husband, Lucian P. Smith, died during the disaster. Daniel and Mrs. Smith were wed in a quiet ceremony in August 1914.

Military service[edit]

Daniel served in the U.S. Army during World War I and rose to the rank of Major.[4]

Bank executive and subsequent marriages[edit]

Daniel was later Vice President of Liberty National Bank in New York City. Sometime before 1923, Daniel and his first wife divorced. On December 6, 1923, Daniel married Mrs. Edwin Rutheven Campbell (née Margery Pitt Durant; 1887-1969), daughter of William C. Durant, an automobile manufacturer in the Halsey Street Methodist Episcopal Church in Newark, New Jersey. This marriage produced one daughter, Margery Randolph Daniel (November 2, 1924 – May 23, 2013). The Daniels purchased the Lower Brandon Plantation in Prince George County, Virginia in 1926, and restored the historic mansion. The couple divorced in September 1928.[4]

On October 10, 1929, Daniel married, for the third and final time, Mrs. Frank Palmer Christian (née Charlotte Randolph Bemiss; 1890-1968) of Richmond, Virginia.[4] At this time, Daniel was chairman of the board of the Richmond Trust Company. Their son, Robert Williams Daniel, Jr. was born in Richmond in March 1936.

Senate career[edit]

Death and burial[edit]

Daniel died on December 20, 1940 in Richmond and was buried in Hollywood Cemetery in Richmond. His son would later serve in the United States Congress.


  1. ^ "Encyclopedia Titanica". Retrieved September 15, 2012. 
  2. ^ Caplan, Bruce; Logan Marshall (1997). The Sinking of the Titanic. Seattle Miracle Press. p. 89. 
  3. ^ Spignesi, Stephen (2012). The Titanic for Dummies. John Wiley & Sons. p. 207. Retrieved November 6, 2012. 
  4. ^ a b c "President of Liberty National Bank Weds as Third Wife Distant Relative in Virginia". New York Times. October 11, 1929. 
Senate of Virginia
Preceded by
W. O. Rogers
Virginia Senate, District 6
1936 - 1940
Succeeded by
Garland Gray