The Divine Scales of Justice






FROM 1846 TO 1865.


NOVEMBER 26, 1806:


MARCH 29, 1873.

The memory of the Just, is blessed.

William Daniel, Jr. (November 26, 1806 – March 28, 1873) was born in Winchester, Virginia, the son of jurist William Daniel, Sr. and Margaret Baldwin Daniel. William, Jr. graduated from Hampden-Sydney College and attended the University of Virginia to study law.  At the young age of 21, he was admitted to the bar.  William Daniel Jr. was elected to the House of Delegates for the terms of 1831–1832, 1835–1836, and 1838.  The apex of his career was when William Daniel, Jr. was appointed as a judge on the Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals from 1847 to 1865.  On March 28, 1873 – William Daniel Jr. died of apoplexy. He was laid to rest in the Old City Cemetery, also called the Old Methodist Cemetery, in Lynchburg, Virginia.

The gray marble tablet marking the judge’s grave appropriately has the scale of justice carved into the top which one might expect on a jurist’s gravestone.  However, this scale is held by the hand of God coming down from the clouds.  The epitaph, “The memory of the Just, is blessed.” is a Biblical verse—Proverbs 10:7.  The verse is truncated with the second clause not carved into the stone.  The second half is “but the name of the wicked shall rot.”  Now it is the jurist’s turn to be judged in the ultimate judgment!

The Old City Cemetery has several walking tour guides.  In A Quick Guide to Gravestones in the Old City Cemetery: Their History, Art and Symbolism, Daniel’s gravestone is described, “The marble tombstone marking the grave William Daniel, Jr. (1806 – 1873) is a well-preserved example of an epitaph having Biblical and biographical messages as well as the symbolism of God’s hand descending from Heaven holding the scales of justice….”

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