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William Floyd

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.

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