William Daniel (1826-1897)

Campaign Ribbon - William Daniel

William Daniel was born on remote Deal's Island in Somerset County, Maryland on January 24, 1826. He was educated locally and then matriculated at Dickinson with the class of 1848. While at the College he was a member of the Union Philosophical Society. Following graduation he studied law and began practice in Maryland in 1851. He was elected to the state legislature in 1853 and, following attempts to bring local choice temperance laws to the floor, was reelected as a member of the American Party, moving to serve the Maryland Senate in 1858. He resigned before the year was out, moved to Baltimore, and became an avid anti-slavery Republican. During the Civil War, he took part in the Maryland constitutional convention on the emancipation of the slaves in the state.

He also continued his energetic work to bring local choice prohibition to Maryland. When the Maryland Temperance Alliance was formed in 1872, he became its president. Local choice eventually became law in the state with thirteen of the twenty-three counties opting for temperance. By 1876 a National Prohibition Party had been formed and Daniel served as chairman of its July 1884 convention in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. That same gathering nominated him as vice-president of the United States on the presidential ticket of Governor John P. St. John of Kansas. The success of the ticket was marginal but a crowded and controversial election perhaps meant crucial Republican votes lost to the Prohibition Party ticket contributed to the narrow Democratic victory.

Daniel served two terms as a trustee of Dickinson College, from 1864 to 1876 and from 1894 until his death in 1897 at the age of 74.

** Campaign illustration courtesy of the Kansas State Historical Society.

Author of Post: 
Dickinson College Archives
Date of Post: 
College Relationship: 
Alumnus/Alumna Class Year: 
Trustee - Years of Service: 
1864-1876; 1894-1897