William Daniel (judge)

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William Daniel
Justice of the Virginia Supreme Court
In office
December 15, 1846 - 1866
Member of the Virginia House of Delegates
In office
Personal details
Born November 26, 1806
Cumberland County, Virginia
Died March 28, 1873(1873-03-28) (aged 66)
Farmville, Virginia
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) Sarah A. Warwick
Alma mater Hampden–Sydney College, University of Virginia
Profession Lawyer, politician, judge

William Daniel, Jr. (November 26, 1806[1] – March 28, 1873) was an American jurist. He served on the Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals, that state's highest court, from 1846 to 1865.


Daniel was born in Cumberland County, Virginia. His father was a judge of the general court and his mother was the sister of Judge Briscoe Baldwin. Daniel was educated at Hampden–Sydney College, from where he graduated in 1826, and the University of Virginia, where he studied law in 1827—28; he was admitted to the bar before he was twenty-one years old.[2]

Daniel served three terms in the Virginia House of Delegates, representing Campbell County in 1831, 1835 and 1837. He was elected twice as a Democrat.[1]

On December 15, 1846, Daniel was elected to the Court of Appeals. After the adoption of the Commonwealth's new constitution in 1851, he was again selected by legislators to the reorganized court.

Daniel was a fierce proponent of slavery, and authored the 1858 decision in Bailey v. Poindexter's Estate, which voided a manumission provision in a will because it gave slaves a choice which he and three other justices found them incapable of making. He served in this position until 1865. [3]

Death and legacy[edit]

Daniel died in Farmville, Virginia and is buried at the Old City cemetery in Lynchburg.[4]

He had married twice, to Sarah Ann Warwick, who died after the birth of their daughter Sarah Ann Warwick Halsey (1845-1918), and then to heiress Elizabeth Hannah Cabell (1811-1892). His son John Warwick Daniel (1842-1910), became known as the "Lame Lion of Lynchburg" due to his disability incurred as a Confederate soldier, and would continue the family's political accomplishments as well as promote the Confederate "Lost cause".


  1. ^ a b Krumkowski, Charles A. "The Virginia Elections and State Elected Officials Database Project". University of Virginia Library. Retrieved 2013-07-02. 
  2. ^ Encyclopedia of Virginia Biography; Volume 2 (Lyon Gardiner Tyler ed.). Lewis Historical Publishing Company. 1915. p. 66. ISBN 1154336735. Retrieved 17 June 2014. 
  3. ^ Paul Finkelman, The law of slavery and Bondage: a casebook(NYU)p.132
  4. ^ findagrave.com