Farmer, businessman, tobacco pioneer. Born in North Carolina on March 1, 1841, “Buck” Daniel was a teamster in his family’s freight business in the Cape Fear region of that state. He joined the Confederate army in 1861, served in Virginia, and ended the war a prisoner in Elmira, New York. After the war Daniel came to South Carolina and settled in Marion County near Nichols. For several years he worked with James Battle in the naval stores business under the name of Battle and Daniel. In 1874 Daniel moved a few miles west to a new station stop—Mullins—on the Wilmington, Columbia, and Augusta Railroad. There Daniel founded a general mercantile business called W. H. Daniel Supply Company.
As prices for cotton and naval stores declined in the 1880s, local farmers were seeking a new cash crop. By the 1890s farmers in nearby Florence and Darlington Counties were successfully growing bright leaf tobacco. In 1894 Daniel raised eight acres of Bright Leaf and shipped his curings to a Danville, Virginia, market. Pleased with his profits, Daniel encouraged Marion County farmers to plant the new staple. To promote tobacco culture, Daniel enlisted experienced leaf growers from North Carolina as “instructors.” In 1895 Daniel led a group of investors to build Planter’s Warehouse, establishing Mullins as a tobacco market. Mullins soon became the state’s leading leaf market, its population tripling within five years. Daniel also led in the founding of the Bank of Mullins, the town’s first bank, in 1899. Daniel died in Mullins on October 24, 1915. He was buried in Cederdale Cemetery, Mullins.
Prince, Eldred E., Jr., and Robert R. Simpson. Long Green: The Rise and Fall of Tobacco in South Carolina. Athens: University of Georgia Press, 2000. Sass, Herbert Ravenel. The Story of the South Carolina Lowcountry. West Columbia, S.C.: J. F. Hyer, 1956.