Daniel Joseph Daly was born November 11 1873 in Glen Cove New York, the 1880 United States Census records him living in Oyster Bay, Queens, New York with his father John 45 and brother David 12. In the 1892 New York, State Census Daniel is living with his mother Ellen 46, sisters Julia 18, Mary 8, and brother David 24 who is in the US Navy, in Queens Long Island. On both these Census’s Daniel is listed as being born 1870/1, and in 1893 his sister Julia is registered as Dying on 29 September 1893 with the parents of John and Ellen Daly with the Birthplace of Glen Cove.
At the age of 12 Daniel was working selling Newspapers on street corners and became a semipro boxer in sports clubs, often using his skills to get the best selling spots. On January 10, 1899 he enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps he was 25 years old when he signed up, he joined for one purpose: to get in the Spanish/American War, but this conflict ended on April 11, 1899 before he finished boot camp training and he was transferred aboard ship and sent to the Asiatic Fleet.
In 1900 Daniel was a Marine Private during the Boxer Rebellion in China, China, at this time had been divided by six great powers— Russia, Germany, Britain, France, Italy and Japan. The United States was not involved in the exploitation of China, but had missionaries and a small legation in Peking. A secret society of Chinese dissidents became active in 1899 to rid China of foreigners and Christian missionaries and their converts. The Imperial Army of China lacked the unity and military might to repel the unwanted occupiers, so the “I Ho Chuan” who’s symbol was a fist (Fists of Righteous Harmony) were encouraged by the Empress Dowager Cixi to drive the foreigners into the sea. The Westerners called these fighters “Boxers,” a nickname derived from the “I Ho Chuan” practicing gymnastics and calisthenics. In May 1900 the Foreign Compound was under siege by the Boxers and on 14 August 1900, Daniel Joseph Daly performed the action which earned him his first Medal of Honor. The action consisted of Daniel volunteering to creep out in front of a position that needed to be reinforced to hold back the Chinese while repairs were made on the fortress. During the night Daniel defended his position as small batches of Chinese attacked with rifles, spears and arrows. Using his bolt action M1895 Lee rifle and bayonet, his ferocity in battle caused the enemy to cry out “Quon-fay” several times during the night, which translated means “very bad devil” Daniel killed over 200 Chinese by accounts.
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