William Madison Daniel

In the passing of William Madison Daniel, Clarksville lost a representative citizen and the legal profession of the county and state lost a representative member. He was born in Henderson county, on the 4th of February, 1838, and his demise occurred in Clarksville, on the 7th of September, 1921. His paternal grandparents were Hezekiah and Nancy (Tarpley) Daniel, well known citizens of Virginia, and he was a son of Cole Spencer and Martha Ann (Foster) Daniel, both natives of Virginla. They located in this state before 1837, however, and the father engaged in farming in Montgomery county for some time. In 1840 he and his wife moved into Clarksville and resided there the remainder of their days. Mr. Daniel's demise occurred in 1866 and his widow passed away in 1884. In the acquirement of his early education William Madison Daniel attended the public schools of Henderson county and in due time enrolled in the Southwestern Presbyterian University, then known as Stewart College, at Clarksville. He was graduated from that institution in 1859 and then took up the study of law under General William Quarles, being admitted to the bar in 1860. Upon the outbreak of the Civil war he put all personal interests aside and enlisted, in 1861, in Company A, Fourteenth Tennessee Infantry. In 1862 he was detailed for service in the signal department, having charge of the signal station for his division under General A. P. Hill. In 1863 he had charge of the same work for General Anderson's Division and in 1864 he was returned to his old command in the Fourteenth Tennessee. Shortly afterward, however, he was transferred to the Thirteenth Virginia Cavalry, where he remained until the surrender. At the close of the war he returned to Clarksville, and established offices here for the practice of his profession, and in a profession where success is the result of individual merit he became a leading member. His clientage was extensive and he handled much important litigation before the courts. His son, William Madison, Jr., became his partner on January 1, 1897, and they maintained that association until the senior Mr. Daniel's retirement in 1908. He well merited the success he achieved in the practice of his profession and he was held in high esteem by his professional brethren throughout the county and state. For many years Mr. Daniel was a prominent figure in the political life of the state, being a stanch democrat.

He was elected to the state legislature in 1880 and during his first term was chairman of the committee on educational affairs. He was reelected to the legislature in 1882 and during that session served as chairman of the judiciary committee. A keenly intellectual man, he was a profound student of the law and was one of the cleverest attorneys in the state. He had the interests of his fellowmen at heart and was instrumental in the passage of many laws affecting the development and improvement of the county he represented.

On the 31st of January, 1867, was celebrated the marriage of Mr. Daniel to Miss Margaret Minor de Graffenried, a daughter of General Matthew Fontaine de Graffenried of Franklin, Williamson county, this state. Her demise occurred on the 30th of April, 1912. She was a woman of much culture and refinement, possessing the charm of the true southern gentlewoman, and she was socially prominent. To the union of Mr. and Mrs. Daniel twelve children were born: Fontaine de Graffenried, a well known Presbyterlan minister of Memphis; Mary Pritchett, who is deceased; Margaret McLemore, who is the wife of W. L. Frierson, who was solicitor general under President Wilson; Susan Belle, who married J. M. Towler and is now deceased; William Madison, Jr., who was in partnership with his father for some time and is now practicing independently, being one of the prominent attorneys of the county. He married Miss Willie Smith Erwin, a native of this state and a representative of one of America's oldest and most prominent families. She is a direct descendant of English nobility and is the daughter of Rev. Joseph Boyd Erwin, a noted Methodist minister. To Mr. and Mrs. William Madison Daniel, Jr., three children have been born, Eleanor Erwin, William Madison (III), and Francis Erwin, who died in infancy; Thomas Maury, the sixth in order of blrth, is in the department of justice of Tennessee; Robert Henry, who is a resident of Roswell, New Mexico; Bessie Lou, who married George T. Hughes, a prominent citizen of Columbia; John Spencer, who married Miss Louise Savage on December 3, 1914, and is a member of the legal firm of Savage & Daniel of Clarksville; and Annie Minor, Quarles and Polk Johnson, all of whom are deceased. During the years of his residence in Clarksville Mr. Daniel wielded a great influence for the good of this community and contributed in a marked degree to its upbuilding and prosperity. Although the greater part of his time and attention was devoted to his profession, he was an extensive investor and owned considerable valuable real estate here. He built the Daniel business property on Third street and the modern apartment house at Third and Madison streets. He was readily conceded to be one of Clarksville's public-spirited citizens, and his name will always be honored by the profession.

Volume 3 Tennessee & Tennesseans

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