THE good old English family of Daniel has furnished to our country at least seven strong men, every one of whom was either born in Virginia or descended from the Virginia family. For a name so widely spread, it is singular to note how every branch in the country can trace its origin back to Virginia.
Of this stock comes Henry Thomas Daniel, of Palmetto, one of the most successful business men of his section, whose people first came from Virginia in 1840, and settled in Heard county. Mr. Daniel was born at Corinth, Georgia, January 25, 1868, son of Edmund S. and Eliza G. (Ware) Daniel.
Such education as he obtained was from the ‘old field schools’—and he is one of the strong products of those old schools and the farm, which have contributed such an immense host of strong men to our country. At the age of twenty-one, on April 14, 1889, Henry T. Daniel was married to Ida Leola Carmichael, daughter of Wesley W. Carmichael; and in that spring he, with his young wife, started in on rented land, without a dollar of capital, as a farmer. The story can not be told much better than in his own words. He says, ‘went hungry and in rags for nine years.’ At the end of nine years, he had accumulated three thousand dollars. Feeling himself equal to larger things, he engaged in mercantile business in Palmetto, and in three months was burned out. After the insurance adjuster was through, he found himself on the first day of February, 1899, with a net capital of fifteen hundred dollars. Refusing to acknowledge himself beaten, he made a new start. In the intervening twelve years he has probably worked out as large a measure of success in a business way as any other man similarly situated, with an equal capital, has ever done. Again he tells the story in his own way. He attributes his success to the fact that, coupled with a share of energy and determination, he was so bound down by poverty that he was forced to begin at the very bottom, and thereby secured an acquaintance with every phase of life from the humblest up. This gave him a thoroughly good equipment, and Mr. Daniel believes that no man can ever be fully grown unless he is forced to rely upon his own individuality from the start. He believes that his own strength is due to the fact that he had to fight the world for every inch of ground he gained. Naturally he is strongly impressed with the advantages of self-development, a matter which is possible for every ambitious man.
His hard struggle, from the lowest rung of the ladder well up towards the top, has not hardened him. He is a Christian man, a communicant of the Baptist Church. A believer in fraternal principles, he is affiliated with the Masonic Order. He has not been active in a political way; but a thoroughly good citizen, exercises the franchise intelligently and supports the Democratic party.
His own carter proves that he is a capable man. He is something more than the average capable business man, because he goes to bedrock in thinking. He has never let go his hold on the land, and has continued his farming along with his mercantile pursuits—and he has learned some things which he puts into words. He says that ‘Georgia must teach the world that it has the greatest soil on earth.’ And he believes that in a few years people will see Georgia produce fifty times as much wealth as any one has ever heretofore thought possible. As an illustration of this may be cited his own experience with a farm which he bought ten years ago for $2,400 and which yielded last year a net profit of $5,000.
In his family relations, as well as in his business, Mr. Daniel has been fortunate. The six children born to him have all been spared and are now living, as follows: Florence Lucile, Tom W., Alton Howard, Lizzie Ware, Thelma, and Sarah Daniel.
Mr. Daniel is now the owner of a mercantile business conducted in his own name in Palmetto; senior member of the firm of Daniel and Jackson; interested in the Palmetto and Tyrone Banking Company, and the Palmetto and Tyrone Real Estate and Insurance Company. He has earned for himself a competence; and while doing so, has established himself in the confidence and the esteem of the community in which his active life has been spent.
Source: Men of Mark in Georgia: A Complete And Elaborate History of the State…, Covering the Period 1733 to 1911, by William J. Northern, A.B. Caldwell, publisher, Atlanta, Georgia, 1912, pages 366-8