Joel Thomas Daves, minister and Confederate officer, was born on August 5, 1833, in Hancock, Georgia. In the 1850s, Daves became a Methodist minister. In 1862 he traveled to Dallas and enlisted in the Nineteenth Texas Cavalry as a first lieutenant on April 2, 1862. Daves was elected major on April 15, 1862, before the unit was sent to Pine Bluff, Arkansas. He participated in campaigns in Arkansas through the autumn of 1862 and winter of 1863.
However, Daves never grew accustomed to military life. He resigned his commission on March 22, 1863, and returned to his congregation. He remained active in the Methodist faith for the rest of his life. By 1870 Daves worked as a clergyman in Louisiana, was married to E. Kate Daves, and had two children. In 1873 he was a Presiding Elder in the Methodist Church for Monroe, Louisiana. In 1875 he traveled to Mexico and visited the vicinities of Veracruz and Tampico. He returned to the United States by way of New Orleans on board the SS City of Mexico in November of that same year. By 1884 Daves had returned to Texas where he worked as a Methodist minister for the Tyler Station of a traveling minister circuit. As a pastor in Tyler, he did much to build the influence and reputation of the church, and he remained in Tyler until May 21, 1886. In November 1887 Daves traveled to Shreveport, Louisiana, to administer revivals on behalf of the Methodist Church. He died on February 6, 1897, and is buried at Oak Hill Cemetery in Cartersville, Georgia.