Copyright notice

This article is from the Dictionary of North Carolina Biography, 6 volumes, edited by William S. Powell. Copyright ©1979-1996 by the University of North Carolina Press. Used by permission of the publisher. For personal use and not for further distribution. Please submit permission requests for other use directly to the publisher.

Printer-friendly page

Daniel, John Reeves Jones

by Louise MCG. Hall, 1986

13 Jan. 1802–22 June 1868

John Reeves Jones Daniel, lawyer, congressman, and planter, was born near Halifax, the son of Judith Jones and Willie Daniel. He attended The University of North Carolina, from which he was graduated first in his class with an A.B. degree in 1821 and received a master's degree in 1831. He was a university trustee from 1833 to 1853. Admitted to the North Carolina bar in 1823, he practiced law in Halifax with much success. In 1831 he was elected to the House of Commons where he served until 1834. In that year he became attorney general of the state, a post he held until 1841 when he was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives from the Second District. On entering Congress he was appointed to the Committee on Roads and Canals and later to the Committee on the Territories. For several sessions he was chairman of the Committee of Claims. A supporter of states' rights and the annexation of Texas, he was one of the two signers from North Carolina of Calhoun's Southern Manifesto. He remained in the House until 1853.

Some time after retiring from Congress, Daniel moved to Louisiana. There he settled on a plantation in Caddo Parish, on the Red River a few miles south of Shreveport, and continued to practice law. His son Junius joined him in 1858 to assist in the management of his plantation. Junius, a West Point graduate, returned to North Carolina to serve in the army for the Confederacy, rising to the rank of brigadier general. He was killed in the Battle of Spottsylvania Courthouse in 1864.

Daniel had a reputation as a brilliant lawyer and an able speaker. He has been cited for his clear and discriminating mind, patient industry, and high integrity. He seems to have been generally respected and, according to his obituary, was known as "Honest John Daniel."

Daniel was married in Halifax on 5 Apr. 1825 to Martha Elizabeth Long Stith, the daughter of Colonel Basset Stith and his wife Mary Long. Martha's sister Margaret Maria Basset Stith was the wife of Daniel's first cousin, Judge Joseph John Daniel, also of Halifax. John Reeves Jones and Martha Daniel had four children: Willie Augustus (1826–58), John Napoleon (1827–52), Junius (1828–64), and Virginia Frances (1830–died in infancy). Of these, only Junius was married; he had no children. Daniel's wife Martha died in Halifax in August 1831 after a short illness. On 29 Aug. 1844 Daniel married Sarah Frances Washington Stith, the sister of his first wife. There were no children of this marriage. Mrs. Daniel died on 26 Nov. 1895 in Washington, D.C., and was buried in Raleigh.

Texts of Daniel's speeches in Congress appear in appendices to the Congressional Globe. Duke University's Perkins Library has two manuscript letters. There are scattered references to Daniel in the Papers of David Outlaw, located in the Southern Historical Collection of the Library of The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. (Outlaw and Daniel served together in both the House of Commons and Congress.)


W. C. Allen, History of Halifax County (1918).

T. H. Benton, Thirty Years' View, vol. 2 (1856).

Mark M. Boatner, The Civil War Dictionary (1959).

Congressional Directory and Congressional Globe (1841–53).

A. C. Gordon, "Daniel Family of Halifax, North Carolina," Tyler's Quarterly Historical and Genealogical Magazine, vol. 13 (March 1931).

Daniel L. Grant, Alumni History of the University of North Carolina (1924).

Raleigh Daily Sentinel, 14 July 1868.

Raleigh Register, 15 Apr. 1825, 11 Aug. 1831, 3 Sept. 1844.

John H. Wheeler, Reminiscences and Memoirs of North Carolina (1884).

Additional Resources:

"Daniel, John Reeves Jones, (1802 - 1868)." Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. Washington, D.C.: The Congress. (accessed June 4, 2013).

David Outlaw Papers, 1847-1855; 1866 (collection no. 01534). The Southern Historical Collection. Louis Round Wilson Special Collections Library. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.,David.html (accessed June 4, 2013).

Origin - location: