William Floyd bigraphy, stories - American statesman

William Floyd : biography

December 17, 1734 - August 4, 1821

William Floyd (December 17, 1734 – August 4, 1821) was an American politician from New York, and a signer of the United States Declaration of Independence.


  • compiled by Benjamin Franklin Hough (1863; page 165)


William Floyd was born in Brookhaven, New York Long Island, into a family of English and Welsh origins and took over the family farm when his father died. His great-grandfather Richard Floyd was born in Brecknockshire, Wales in about 1620 and settled in the Province of New York. William Floyd was a member of the Suffolk County Militia in the early stages of the American Revolutionary War, becoming Major General.

He was a delegate from New York in the First Continental Congress from 1774 to 1776. He was a member of the New York State Senate (Southern D.) from 1777 to 1788. In March 1789, he was elected to the 1st United States Congress under the new Constitution as an Anti-Administration candidate and served until March 3, 1791.

Floyd was a presidential elector in 1792, voting for George Washington and George Clinton.

In 1795, Floyd ran for Lieutenant Governor of New York with Robert Yates on the Democratic-Republican ticket, but they were defeated by Federalists John Jay and Stephen Van Rensselaer.

Floyd was again a presidential elector in 1800, voting for Thomas Jefferson and Aaron Burr; and in 1804, voting for Thomas Jefferson and George Clinton.

Floyd was again a member of the State Senate (Western D.) in 1808.

In 1820, Floyd was again chosen a presidential elector, but did not attend the meeting of the electoral college, and Martin Van Buren was appointed to fill the vacancy.

The William Floyd House, the family home, is located in Mastic Beach, is part of Fire Island National Seashore and is open to visitors. The home is located in the middle of extensive woods, grassland and wetlands.

Among his descendants are cinematographer Floyd Crosby, his son, rock musician David Crosby and former Massachusetts Governor William Weld. A second cousin twice removed was Abraham Lincoln.


There are several places and institutions named after William Floyd, including:

  • William Floyd School District in present-day Brookhaven Town, which includes William Floyd Elementary, and William Floyd High School.
  • William Floyd Parkway in the Town of Brookhaven.
  • Town of Floyd in Oneida County. General Floyd moved into the present day hamlet of Westernville, Oneida County before his death. His final resting place in the Westernville cemetery is marked with a simple stone plaque.
  • General William Floyd Elementary School in the Holland Patent School District in Oneida County
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