The Collegian
Sunday, June 04, 2023

History professor of 36 years dies at age 91

Dr. Wilbon Harrison Daniel, 91, who was a professor of history at University of Richmond from 1956 to 1992, passed away in his home Dec. 30, 2013.

Daniel had two great passions in life, baseball and history, and wrote extensively about them during his fruitful career. He published books on Civil War history, particularly on Southern Protestantism in the Confederacy, and was even an ordained Baptist minister. He also published books on his favorite baseball player, Jimmie Foxx, as well as the early baseball movement in Richmond, Va. By the time of his retirement, Daniel was the William Binford Vest Professor of History Emeritus.

As a child, Daniel studied at the New London Academy in Forest, Va., before attending Lynchburg College and Vanderbuilt University. He completed his Ph.D. at Duke University, writing his dissertation on Confederate army chaplains during the Civil War.

Before coming to Richmond in 1992, Daniel taught at Virginia Intermont College, Vanderbuilt University and Duke University. It was at VIC that he met his wife of 63 years, Margaret, a biology teacher. He is survived by his wife, their daughter Anne Margaret, his son-in-law James Pethica, his brothers Bill and Carlyle, numerous nieces and nephews and of course the many students whose lives he touched during his 40 years of teaching.

A memorial service for Daniel was held on Friday, Jan. 3, at 1 p.m. at River Road Church, Baptist. Anyone wanting to honor his memory is encouraged to donate to the Virginia Baptist Historical Society or to the Richmond Spiders baseball team.

Contact reporter Kelsey Shields at

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