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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.

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Daniel, Joseph John

by Joseph K. L. Reckford, 1986

13 Nov. 1783–10 Feb. 1848

Unidentified artist, circa 1835. "Joseph John Daniel." North Carolina Portrait Index, 1700-1860. Chapel Hill: UNC Press. p. 61. (Digital page 75).

Joseph John Daniel, legislator and jurist, was born in Halifax County, the son of Anne Brinkley Daniel; the name of his father has not been found. Little is known of his childhood or early education. He attended The University of North Carolina in the term 1801–2 and was a member of the Philanthropic Society, but was not graduated. After leaving Chapel Hill he read law in Halifax under William R. Davie.

Daniel had a home in the town of Halifax and was elected to represent the borough in the House of Commons in 1807 and 1815; he also owned a rural home, Burnt Coat, near Heathsville, and represented the county in the House of Commons in 1812. He later represented Edgecombe County in the House of Commons in 1836–37. In 1816 he was elected a judge of superior court for a three-year term, and in 1832 he was elected to the North Carolina Supreme Court where he served until his death. For eleven of those years Daniel sat with Thomas Ruffin and William Gaston. Daniel also represented Halifax County in the Constitutional Convention of 1835. Although not regarded as an outstanding public speaker, he was thought to be a fine conversationalist, perceptive and witty. He had simple tastes and was practical in everyday affairs.

Married to Maria Stith on 1 Jan. 1822, Daniel was survived by three children: William A., Mary Long Gordon, and Lavinia Bassett Battle.

An unsigned portrait of Daniel hangs in the Philanthropic Society hall at The University of North Carolina; a copy is in the Supreme Court Building, Raleigh.


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

George T. Blackburn, II, and others, The Di and Phi Portrait Index (1980).

Walter Clark, History of the Supreme Court of North Carolina (1919).

Margaret M. Hofmann, Genealogical Abstracts of Wills 1758 through 1824, Halifax County, North Carolina (1970).

John H. Wheeler, Historical Sketches of North Carolina (1851).

Additional Resources:

Joseph John Daniel Papers, 1848; 1941 (collection no. 02320-z). The Southern Historical Collection. Louis Round Wilson Special Collections Library. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.,Joseph_John.html (accessed June 4, 2013).

Image credit:

Unidentified artist, circa 1835. "Joseph John Daniel." North Carolina Portrait Index, 1700-1860. Chapel Hill: UNC Press. p. 61. (Digital page 75). Accessed 10/14/2014. 

Origin - location: