Born in Monroe
in 1836, Henry Dickerson-McDaniel was the son of Ira McDaniel, one of the first professors of Mercer University
, and an important businessman in his own right. McDaniel Street
is named for Ira. Graduating from the head of his class at Mercer, and admitted to the bar soon afterwards, Henry must have envisioned a peaceful life as a small-town lawyer, but this wasn't to be. Despite his trepidation regarding the wisdom of breaking from the North, Henry McDaniel attended the state's secession convention as its youngest delegate. He went on to serve as a Major in the Confederate army, was wounded in Maryland
in 1863, and spent the remainder of the war in a Northern prison camp. Collected in the volume With Unabated Trust
, his letters home to his sweetheart, soon to be wife, Hester Felker, are a moving and enlightening account of the war from a Confederate officer far from home. These letters can now be found in the state archives.
After serving his state, Governor McDaniel retired to his law practice in Monroe
, and became the town's wealthiest citizen through shrewd investment in railroads and local cotton mills. He also served as a trustee for the University of Georgia
for 38 years before his death in 1926.