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William Floyd

Signer of the Declaration of Independence



WILLIAM FLOYD  was born on December 17, 1734 at Brookhaven, Long Island, New York. His father was Nicoll Floyd, a rich and respectable landholder who was descended from a long line of Welsh farmers that stretched back into the early seventeenth century. His studies were limited to a few of the useful branches of knowledge, and these were left unfinished, due to the death his father while Floyd was young. His father left him heir to a large estate and he rose to the rank of major general in the militia. His wealth enabled him to be hospitable and he opened his doors to an extensive circle of connections and acquaintances, which included many intelligent and distinguished families. Floyd's mind, by the communication which he enjoyed with those who were enlightened, became stored with rich and varied knowledge.

During the early part of his life, he engaged in the cultivation of his estate and took no active part in political affairs. He did however, being a strong Congregationalist, embrace warmly the cause of independence when the Revolution began.He was a friend to the people; and he entered into every measure that seemed calculated to ensure them their just rights. These sentiments on his part motivated a mutual confidence on the part of the people, and led to his appointment as a delegate from New York to the first Continental Congress, which met in Philadelphia on September 5, 1774.

In the following year, he was again elected a delegate to congress, and continued a member of that body until 1782. Floyd assisted in dissolving the political bonds, which had tied the colonies to the British government, recognizing that they had suffered numerous oppressions for years. He served on many important committees, and by his loyalty provided indispensable service to the patriotic cause. Though he was a man who preferred hunting to politics, in his political career, there was much to admire. He was consistent and independent. He displayed great candor and sincerity to those who where different from himself. His integrity was so well known, that his motives were rarely, if ever, questioned. He seldom took part in the public discussion of a subject, his views were his own, and his opinions the result of reason and reflection.

Floyd served in various state positions, including state senator and he had one term in the United States Congress. He continued to participate in public affairs and was an early and warm supporter of Jefferson. He was not a speaker, writer nor a orator, but in the work of the different bodies in which he served, he was noted for his sound advice and unflagging labor and his thorough knowledge of the business before him. He was eminently a practical man and few men were more respected.

Floyd was twice married, first to Hannah Jones of Southampton, and after her death in 1781, to Joanna Strong of Setauket. He had five children altogether and his daughter Catherine, also known as Kitty, was once engaged to James Madison.

Floyd suffered severely, like many of his fellow patriots, the destructive effect of the war upon his property and the serious inconveniences put upon his family. While Floyd was at Philadelphia, the American troops evacuated Long Island and it was taken possession of by the British army. His family was obliged to flee for safety to Connecticut. His house was occupied by a company of British horsemen, which made it their meeting place during the remainder of the war. For nearly seven years, Floyd and his family were refugees from their home and he was often in great straits, having nothing but his pay as a delegate in congress to support himself and his family. 

In 1784, he purchased an uninhabited tract of land on the Mohawk River. He devoted several successive summers to its clearing. Under his skilful management, and persistent labors a considerable portion of the tract was converted into a well cultivated farm. He moved his family and made his home there in 1803. Although he was in his fifties when he undertook this project, his bodily strength and activity were much greater than many who were years younger. He enjoyed unusual good health and his mind was unimpaired to the end of his life.  A year or two before his death, he appeared to be affected with a general weakness, which continuing to increase, the lamp of his life was at length extinguished. He died on August 4, 1821, and when he had attained to the extraordinary age of eighty-seven years.

 
Edited A.C. Image Copyright© 2001 by VirtualologyTM

FLOYD, William, signer of the Declaration of Independence, born in Brookhaven, Suffolk County, New York, 17 December 1734; died in Weston, Oneida County, New York, 4 August 1821. He was the son of Nicoll Floyd, of Brookhaven, who was second son of Richard Floyd, second of the name, received from his father only a moderate sized farm, and was engaged in its cultivation during the earlier part of his life. Being a strong Congregationalist, like many Suffolk County people, and fixed in his convictions on all subjects, he embraced warmly the cause of independence when the Revolution began, until which time he had taken no active part in political affairs. He was about forty years of age when he first entered political life by being sent as a delegate to the Philadelphia congress of 1774. The next year he was a deputy to the New York provincial convention to choose delegates to the 1st Continental congress of 1775, and was by it appointed a delegate to that body.  

He continued by successive reappointments a member of every Continental congress up to 1782 inclusive. At the same time, from 1777 till 1783, he was state senator under the first constitution of New York, being regularly appointed by that body for the southern district, then wholly within the British lines, so that no elections could be held. From 1784 till 1788 he was duly elected to the same office from the same district. In 1787 and 1789 he was chosen a member of the council of appointment. In the presidential elections of 1792, 1800, and 1804 he was chosen one of the presidential electors, and in 1801 he sat for Suffolk County in the Constitutional convention of that year. He was an early and warm supporter of Jefferson.  

His education being only that of the country schools of his youth, he was not a speaker nor orator, nor an accomplished writer. But in the work of the different bodies in which he served he was noted for his assiduity, sound advice, and unflagging labor and thorough knowledge of the business before them. He was eminently a practical man, and his firmness and resolution were very great. Although somewhat unpolished in manner, he at the same time possessed a natural gravity and dignity that made itself felt.  

After the war he was appointed major general of the militia on Long Island, and in his youth he was a captain. But his military services were confined to heading a detachment of militia that was suddenly called to repel a boat invasion from a British ship at the outset of the war. Except at the beginning, for a short time, he received nothing from his farm during the war, as it was within the British lines, and appropriated to the use of Connecticut refugees as " rebel property." He was, therefore, often during the war in great straits, having nothing but his pay as a delegate in congress. At its close he bought a very large tract of confiscated land in Oneida County, to which, in 1804, he finally removed with his children, and where he resided till his death. He was married twice, first to Hannah Jones, of Southampton, who died in 1781, and secondly to Joanna Strong, of Setauket, by each of whom he left issue. -- Edited AC American Biography Copyright© 2001 by VirtualologyTM

 


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Research Links

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The William Floyd Estate
... grounds, and cemetery of the William Floyd family. William Floyd, a Revolutionary
War general and a signer of the Declaration of Independence, was born in the ...

William Floyd Parkway (Suffolk CR 46)
... The William Floyd Parkway (Suffolk CR 46), named after a signer of the Declaration
of Independence from the Shirley-Mastic area, is a four-lane divided highway ...

Grave of William Floyd
... December 17, 1734. d. August 4, 1821. Signer of The Declaration of Independence.
Inscription: In Memory of General William Floyd Who died August 4, 1821 Aged ...

Re: signer, declaration of independence: The Declaration of ...
... his children and their children.....please! thank you! go to william floyd signer
of the declaration of indepedence. then click on william floyd estate. your ...

Floyd, William. The Columbia Encyclopedia, Sixth Edition. 2001
... The Columbia Encyclopedia, Sixth Edition. 2001. Floyd, William. 1734 1821, a signer
of the Declaration of Independence, b. Brookhaven, NY His career in the ...

Wibroe Griggs - Matriarch to Two American Families: Pierson ...
... 7 Phebe Gelston Est 1770 - ....Nicoll
Floyd Est 1770 - Son of William Floyd, Signer. ...

Floyd, William - A-to-Z History - DiscoverySchool.com
... Floyd, William (1734-1821), an American statesman, was a New York signer of the
Declaration of Independence in 1776. He served in the Continental Congress ...

They Signed for Independence
... take a stand in 1776, William Floyd signed the most ... By history-book standards, Floyd
was not a man of ... one thing: He was a "Signer," a mark of distinction held ...

Long Island Convention & Visitors Bureau Home Page
... flight to Paris. George Washington, Teddy Roosevelt, Walt Whitman and William
Floyd, a signer of the Declaration of Independence, among others, played an ...

Genealogy.com: "William Floyds of Long Island, NY"
... to research my family tree. I believe to be descended from William Floyd, signer
of the Declaration of Independence. At the present time the only evidence that ...

SUFFOLK NYGenExchange Monuments & Historical Places
... Fire Island National Seashore 120 Laurel Street, Patchogue, NY 11772 William Floyd,
Signer of the Declaration of Independence Ancestral Home for 8 generations ...

WorldBook General Reference Encyclopedia > History > United ...
... 17, 1734. d. August 4, 1821. Signer of The Declaration of Independence. Inscription:
In Memory of General William Floyd Who died ... Found by: Google2 http ...

James COTTLE / Thankful NORTON
... William Floyd served in the Revolution as colonel of the First Regiment of Suffolk
County, and was a member of the first Continental Congress and a signer of ...

Park Museum Collection Profile(NPS)
... the historical collection stems not solely from familial association, (William Floyd
was a signer of the Declaration of Independence) but from its collective ...

The Political Graveyard: Index to Politicians: Flick to Flye
... Floyd, William (1734-1821) Born in Brookhaven, Long Island, NY, December 17, 1734.
Delegate to Continental Congress from New York, 1774-77, 1778-83; signer ...

Sites of Interest
... Miles: Map: Info: Eight generations of Floyd family members, including William Floyd,
a signer of the Declaration of Independence, lived in the house located ...

Bayles Historical Pamphlets
... Bayles, Thomas R. "The Ten Towns of Suffolk County Long Island, NY", 1964. Bayles,
Thomas R. "William Floyd Signer of the Declaration of Independence.", May 1972. ...

Title 16 : Chapter 1 : Subchapter LXIII : Section 459e-11
... on said lands, which was the birthplace and residence of General William Floyd (a
signer of the Declaration of Independence) and the furnishings therein and ...

1999 Current Press Releases
... without roads. The estate of William Floyd, a signer of the Declaration of Independence,
traces the Floyd family from the early 1700’s to 1976. The home ...

For a High-resolution version of the original Declaration

  For a High-resolution version of the Stone engraving

 We invite you to read a transcription of the complete text of the Declaration as presented by the National Archives.

&

 

The article "The Declaration of Independence: A History," which provides a detailed account of the Declaration, from its drafting through its preservation today at the National Archives.  

   

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