John Warwick Daniel, farmer, Confederate officer, and state legislator, was born in Greene, Georgia, on December 20, 1830, son of William H. Daniel and Adeline (Cunningham) Moore. Daniel was married to Mary Elizabeth Beman on September 19, 1850, in Oglethorpe, Georgia, and the two produced four children. Daniel sold his interest in his mother's plantation in Wilkes County, Georgia, early in 1852 and bought a smaller plantation of his own. He sold this plantation in 1854 to move to Texas. When he and his family arrived in October 1854, they settled in Garden Valley, Smith County, to farm on unimproved land.
In 1860 Daniel owned six slaves and operated his farm in Smith County. He enlisted as a captain in the Confederate Army at Velasco on April 1, 1861, for the duration of the war under the command of Col. Joseph W. Speight. In 1862 his battalion was reorganized as the Fifteenth Texas Infantry Regiment. Daniel was elected a major at Camp Speight near Millican, Texas, on April 16, 1862. The unit was ordered to Camp Nelson in Arkansas, then spent the majority of 1863–64 in Indian Territory. On April 14, 1864, Daniel was promoted to lieutenant colonel and took command of the Fifteenth Texas following James Edward Harrison's promotion to brigadier general. Colonel Daniel served for the duration of the war and received a "severe wound in the leg" at the battle of Fordorche at Sterling's Plantation, Louisiana, on September 29, 1863. After that battle John Daniel was commended by General Green as a "most gallant" leader, and later saw action in western Louisiana and Texas before the regiment was dissolved in late May of 1865.
John W. Daniel returned to his farm in Smith County where he was married to Marha M., but, "finding it unpleasant as well as unprofitable to work hired help," he chose to sell the farm and move to Dallas County. From his new farm near Lancaster, Daniel became an active member of the community, helping to found the Lancaster chapter of the Masons and twice serving as that county's elected representative to the Texas Legislature from 1879 to 1883. A loyal Democrat, Daniel also held a position as special agent of the land office for the Dakota Territory during the first Grover Cleveland administration and was superintendent of the Texas State Penitentiary at Huntsville under Texas Gov. John Ireland. Daniel died on January 5, 1905, in Lancaster, Texas.