Daniel, James Mitchell (1833–1916)

By: Jennifer Eckel

Type: Biography

Published: April 5, 2011

James M. Daniel, Confederate officer, civil engineer, and entrepreneur, was born in Falmouth, Stafford County, Virginia, on June 11, 1833, son of John Moncure and Eliza (Mitchell) Daniel. James Daniel lost both of his parents by the age of ten; his mother died in 1840, and his father and stepmother died four years later in a scarlet fever epidemic. After living for four years in the home of an uncle in Richmond, Virginia, Daniel left home and worked with several railroad companies in Virginia and Tennessee. He traveled down the Mississippi River to New Orleans, followed by Galveston, San Antonio, Austin, Dallas, and finally to Paris, Texas, on December 31, 1854, and was hired to the engineering corps of the Memphis, El Paso and Pacific Railroad. James Daniel worked with the railroad company based in Paris, Texas, until building was interrupted by the start of the Civil War. On January 12, 1858, he married Paris native Emily Wright.

When the Civil War began, Daniel raised an artillery company from Paris in Lamar County. He was elected captain upon organization of the Ninth Texas Field Artillery on January 18, 1862. The unit trained in Paris for much of 1862 and traveled to Camp Nelson, Arkansas, in the fall. The unit primarily served in the Trans-Mississippi Department and saw action at the battle of Vicksburg and during the Red River campaign. The Ninth Texas "Daniel's" Artillery surrendered on May 3, 1865.

Following the Civil War, Daniel and his family moved to Brooklyn, New York, where he worked to finance more building on the Memphis, El Paso and Pacific Railroad. His efforts were unsuccessful, and the family moved on to Richmond, Virginia, where Daniel worked in banking in 1871. In 1876 Daniel and his family returned to Paris, Texas. About a year later, in 1877, a large fire destroyed Paris, and, as an engineer, Daniel was in a position to profit from its rebuilding. He helped to design the town's water and sewer system and built Paris's first street railway in 1878. He also built a large house that still stands in Paris's downtown and was a founding member of Paris's First Presbyterian Church. Daniel's interests extended beyond Paris, Texas, however, and he spent the next several decades involved in silver mining both in Colorado and in Zacatecas, Mexico, although he lost his Mexican mine in the Mexican Revolution. James M. Daniel died at 9:30 pm on April 7, 1916, of Erysipelas at his home in Paris and was buried nearby in Evergreen Cemetery. The pallbearers at his funeral included H. P. Mayer, F. D. Mallory, J. G. Marshall, H. H. McClanham, A. P. Park, and R. J. Murphy.

Ron Brothers and Skipper Steely, "James Mitchell Daniel: Captain, 9th Texas Artillery" (http://gen.1starnet.com/civilwar/danieljm.htm), accessed July 13, 2006.
James Mundie, Jr., with Bruce S. Allardice, Dean E. Letzring, and John H. Luckey, Texas Burial Sites of Civil War Notables: A Biographical and Pictorial Field Guide (Hillsboro, Texas: Hill College Press: 2002).

Time Periods:
  • Civil War

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.

Jennifer Eckel, “Daniel, James Mitchell,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed June 28, 2022, https://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/entries/daniel-james-mitchell.

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

April 5, 2011

This entry belongs to the following Handbook Special Projects: