James John Floyd (1750 - 1783) MP

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Nicknames: "John Floyd"
Birthplace: Amherst County, Province of Virginia
Death: Died in Bullitt's Lick, Jefferson County (Present Bullitt County), Virginia (Present Kentucky), United States
Cause of death: Died two days after being shot by Indians while on the way to Bullitt's Lick
Occupation: Surveyor, Privateer commander of the USS Phoenix, Kentucky Pioneer
Managed by: Val John Jennings
Last Updated:

About James John Floyd

From the Find A Grave page on John Floyd:

http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=6943122

Birth: 1750

Death: Apr. 10, 1783 - Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky, USA

Revolutionary War Militia Officer, Frontiersman. Early figure in establishing Kentucky settlements; In July 1776 helped rescue three young girls kidnapped by Indians from Boonesborough, Virginia (later Kentucky) in group led by Daniel Boone. Commanded militia regiment for George Rogers Clark against British allied Indians in Ohio in the summer of 1780.

Killed in ambush by Indians.

Son John Floyd and grandson John both became governors of Virginia. (bio by: Mike Maloney)


Family links:

Children:

  • John Floyd (1783 - 1837)*

Spouse:

  • Sallie Jane Buchanan Floyd (1759 - 1812)

Burial: Floyd-Breckinridge Cemetery, Plymouth Village, Jefferson County, Kentucky, USA


Maintained by: Find A Grave

  • Originally Created by: Mike Maloney

Record added: Nov 21, 2002

  • Find A Grave Memorial# 6943122

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From the Kentucky Department of Highways historical marker:

John Floyd's Grave: Grave of John Floyd, near here. Pioneer and Surveyor. Born Amherst County, VA, 1750. Killed when ambushed by Indians in Jefferson County, District of Kentucky, 1783. Colonel of militia and county lieutenant of Jefferson County.

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From the Wikipedia page on James John Floyd:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_John_Floyd

James John Floyd (1750 – April 10, 1783), better known as John Floyd, was a pioneer of the Midwestern United States around the Louisville, Kentucky area where he worked as a surveyor for land development and as a military figure.[1] Floyd was an early settler of St. Matthews, Kentucky and helped lay out Louisville. In Kentucky he served as a Colonel of the Kentucky Militia in which he participated in raids with George Rogers Clark and later became one of the first judges of Kentucky.

Virginia

Floyd was born in 1750 in Amherst County, Virginia, to William and Abadiah (Davis) Floyd,[2] descendants of Welsh immigrants.[3] His mother was also of partial American Indian ancestry, and according to family tradition was a descendant of the Powhatan chieftain Opchanacanough.[4] Another family tradition maintains that her brother was Evan Davis, the grandfather of Jefferson Davis.[3]

In Virginia the Floyd family operated a farm and made a decent living there, but the younger Floyd knew opportunity to do better was in the west.

At the age of 18 he married Matilda Burford, daughter of Daniel Burford, sheriff of Amherst County, but she died a year later during the birth of their daughter, Mourning Floyd.[2]

In 1770, at the age of 20, Floyd moved to Botetourt County, Virginia to seek employment.[2] He worked as a teacher while living in the home of Col. William Preston.[3] Preston, a prominent frontier Virginian, was the surveyor for the western part of Virginia then known as Fincastle County, Virginia, which stretched as far as the Mississippi River.[2][4]

Floyd became a deputy surveyor under Preston, doing land survey jobs from time to time. When he was not working with Preston, he rode as a deputy sheriff with Daniel Trigg, working under Sheriff Col. William Christian of Botetourt County.[4] Preston started receiving applications for land claims to be located and surveyed from veterans of the French and Indian War. In 1774 Floyd was selected to lead a group of surveyors into what is now West Virginia and Kentucky.

Kentucky

Floyd and a team of seven surveyors set out for the Falls of the Ohio on April 7, 1774[3] with a group of men claiming land.[1] They traversed the Kanawha and Ohio River for most of the trip. Floyd had previously surveyed land for George Washington and Patrick Henry along the Kanawha River.[4]

In mid May they arrived in Kentucky Country and had an experience with Indians who came down the river and had passes from the commandant at Fort Pitt warning off white men as a part of Dunmore's War.[4] This scared off some of the group, but none of the surveyors left, and the rest of the expedition continued on.

While in the area sectioning land tracts, Floyd bought a 2,000-acre (8.1 km2) site for himself in what is now present day St. Matthews, Kentucky.

With the threat of a war with the Shawnee looming, Preston and Cap. William Russell sent frontiersmen Daniel Boone and Michael Stoner on a mission to warn settlers and surveyors to come back to Botetourt County.[4] Unfortunately, Indians attacked Floyd's group before the warning arrived, killing two members of the surveying party. The remaining members of Floyd's group fled to safety down the Ohio and Mississippi River to New Orleans.[4]

Floyd, unable to hold out by himself, went for the most direct route to Virginia, traversing across the terrain in 16 days. He arrived near Clinch Mountain in Virginia to discover the locals rallying for Dunmore's War. Floyd, eager to participate, gathered a militia together and followed the main army's trail and arrived half a day late to the October 10, 1774 battle that ended Dunmore's War at the Battle of Point Pleasant.[4]

On April 21, 1775 Floyd began preparing to re-enter Kentucky through Cumberland Gap. Floyd took a party of 32 men to Dix River in 1775 to set up a camp[4] only 20 miles from Boonesborough, Kentucky which was founded by Daniel Boone on the Kentucky River.[1]

On May 23, 1775 Floyd was sent as a delegate from the settlement of St. Asaph to Boonesborough to meet to agree on laws and regulations for requirements to establish a colony called Transylvania.[4] This marked the earliest form of any government west of the Allegheny Mountains. During the summer of 1776 he was living in Boonesborough and accepted the surveyor of Transylvania by Richard Henderson the leader of the colony attempt.

Floyd participated in the rescue of Jemima Boone from four Shawnee Indians and one Cherokee in July of 1776,[1] an event that would become a popular frontier story. The first night, only five miles were covered due to a delay at crossing a river. The next day they tracked them over 40 miles (64 km) and overtook them while the Indians prepared a campfire to cook.[4]

Information began trickling into the Kentucky Country about the American Revolution in late 1776.

Privateer

Floyd's surveyor license was revoked in 1776 after the political enemies of Preston gained power. Floyd then returned to Virginia.[1]

Back east, Floyd was licensed a position as a Privateer to attack British supply ships in the Atlantic.[2] Floyd would command the USS Phoenix. When they left port heading for the West Indies, they caught a large prize just days after leaving. They went to return to port but were apprehended by a British man-of-war in Chesapeake Bay. After he was captured he lived as a captive in a British prison for almost a year before escaping and heading to Dover, England, where he was shuttled to France.

In France he was able to secure passage home with the help of the American Ambassador to France, Benjamin Franklin. In the autumn of 1778 he returned to Virginia. Later that same year he remarried, to Jane Buchanan who was a ward of Preston.[2]

He lived in Virginia on his father's homestead for a year before meeting George Rogers Clark.

Return to Kentucky

Floyd returned to the Falls of the Ohio again in October of 1779 with his new wife and son, William Floyd.[1] His brothers Isham, Robert, and Charles, and sisters Jemima and Abadiah, came with him to Kentucky this time. Floyd had returned to the 2,000 acres (8.1 km2) of land he bought in 1774 to keep squatters off his land and became the first settler in Jefferson County who had ownership of the land he lived on.[5]

They built a cabin near 3rd and Main Street in present day Louisville for a temporary shelter for the women and children.[4] While they established a settlement near Beargrass Creek. The settlement became known as Floyd's Station as 10 more families located there and a Stockade was added.[5]

There he would be the leader of the area that took in part a small local war with the Indians and was led by George Rogers Clark. All the Floyd brothers participated. In 1780 by the act of the Virginia General Assembly Floyd was placed as one of seven trustees of Louisville with the power to layout and establish the town.

Later, George Rogers Clark convinced Governor Thomas Jefferson in 1781 to appoint Floyd as Colonel of the Kentucky Militia and also later in the year Justice of the Peace and surveyor of Jefferson County.[2]

Floyd succeeded Col. Christy as the County Lieutenant of Jefferson County in 1781 making him responsible for the defense of the settlers in the county.[6] The area was regularly being raided by Indians and dozens of settlers had been killed. Floyd wrote two letters to Thomas Jefferson pleading for support.[7]

During a rescue attempt for survivors of a raid in today's present day Shelby County, Kentucky Floyd lead 27 men there and he was ambushed by Indians. Several of his men were killed, but Floyd managed to escape barely with a couple of his men, and this became known as Floyds Defeat.[1]

Floyd participated in the Battle of Blue Licks which then lead George Rogers Clark to raid several Indian villages along the Great Miami River. Floyd also took part in these raids. On November 4, 1782 it was reported during the raids by Clark that Col. Floyd took 300 men to approach a village of Indians but was discovered too early causing the group to flee and most of them escaped.[8]

In 1783 Virginia organized the government of Kentucky and Floyd was appointed to be one of the first two judges of Kentucky.[2][9] Later in the year in March he would write Preston informing him of his brother in law Billy Buchanan being killed by Indians.[3] Also in the letter Floyd wrote that he dreamed that his fate might become the same.

This proved true as a month later Floyd was wounded on April 8, 1783 by Indians while on his way to Bullitt's Lick on April 10, 1783 Floyd died.[2] Floyd is buried near Floyd's Station at Breckinridge Cemetery.[5]

Legacy

Floyd County, Kentucky, is named for John Floyd.[10] He is also credited as the namesake of Floyd County, Indiana,[11][12] although it has been argued that this county was actually named for Davis Floyd. Floyd's Station Springhouse still stands today.[13][14] Floyds Fork River is named after him as well, which when it meets with the Salt River is near the location of Floyds Defeat.[4] Floydsburg, Kentucky a small unincorporated community is also named after Floyd.[15]

References

  • 1.^ Carnegie Center of the Arts - Floyd Exhibit - James Floyd
  • 2.^ Kleber, John E. The Encyclopedia of Louisville (University Press of Kentucky), page 300.
  • 3.^ Kentucky Genealogy - Col. John Floyd
  • 4.^ Ambler, Charles Henry, The Life and Diary of John Floyd (Richmond Press), pages 13-30.
  • 5.^ Kleber, John E. The Kentucky Encyclopedia (University Press of Kentucky) page 331
  • 6.^ George Rogers Clark Papers, By George Rogers Clark, Pg 500
  • 7.^ George Rogers Clark Papers, By George Rogers Clark, Pg 163
  • 8.^ Dillon, John Brown History of Indiana (University of Michigan) page 177
  • 9.^ George Rogers Clark Papers, By George Rogers Clark, Pg 56
  • 10.^ Kleber, John E. The Kentucky Encyclopedia (University Press of Kentucky) page 330
  • 11.^ Goodrich, De Witt C. and Richard, Charles Tuttle An Illustrated History of the State of Indiana (University of Michigan) page 499
  • 12.^ "Indiana Government - History - Origin of County Names". Archived from the original on 2008-03-23.
  • 13.^ National Historic Marker Locator Marker number 1060 is located at Floyd's Station
  • 14.^ Lewis and Clark Expedition National Historic Site Floyd's Station is marked by a National Historic Site marker because it is believed to be the birthplace of Charles Floyd, a member of the expedition
  • 15.^ "Floyds Fork" (1 ed.). 2001.

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John Floyd, an early surveyor and military figure in Kentucky, was born in 1750 in what is now Amherst County, Virginia. He is the son of William and Abadiah (Davis) Floyd. His father, of Welsh descent, was a small but apparently successful planter. Floyd's educational background is unknown, but his penmanship and spelling were above average for his time. John Floyd served a term in a British prison.

In the fall of 1779 the couple, with an infant son and other family members, set out overland for the falls of Ohio, where Floyd surveyed 2,000 acres in 1774 and had purchased the rights to it. There he established Floyds Station, one of six fortified stations along the middle fork of Beargrass creek, and in January 1781 was placed in command of all Jefferson County militia units. Floyd was fatally wounded in an Indian ambush on April 9, 1783, on the way to a militia gathering at Bullit's Lick, near Slat River in present-day Bullitt County.

---

From an unpublished manuscript by second great grandson Dysart McMullen, courtesy of Valerie Baugher:

Being read to was not our only way of passing a long evening. Our mother's sisters from Richmond spent many months as guests of the family. Our Aunt Letty, her older sister who never married and who was the writer's dearly loved and never to be forgotten godmother, was one of them. She knew the family pioneer history, covering Virginia and Kentucky, and never tired of recounting stories of early Indian fights and deeds that were to make a country out of adventure. One of her favorite characters was our second great grandfather Colonel John Floyd, known in Kentucky history as the "Indian fighter."

There were three Floyd brothers, Welshmen, owning ships making regular business trips shortly after the settlement of Jamestown. Two of them finally settled on the Eastern Shore of Virginia, the third going north and settling on Long Island, becoming the ancestors of the Floyds of New York State, one of whom was to sign the Declaration of Independence. The two in Virginia ultimately crossed the Chesapeake Bay and took up residence on mainland Virginia.

One of the brothers married Abidah Davis, daughter of the Princess Nicketti, daughter of Opechancanough, foster brother of Powhatan, and who succeeded him, thereby becoming the last Emperor of the Chickahominy. Tradition had it that Opechancanough was not a Chickahominy Indian, but had come to the James River territory fully grown from the far south, saying he was a refugee from his own people. Since he wore gold arm bands in the shape of serpents with emerald green eyes, the supposition was that he may have been an Aztec. He is known in Virginia history for having staged the last great massacre of English settlers.

Such was the story our Aunt Letter told us, seated in the library before a blazing log fire. An adventure story that had the advantage with children of being family tradition.

The man who was to become Colonel John Floyd and Kentucky's Indian Fighter, and incidentally our second great grandfather, thus had a strain of Indian blood. Some of his descendants bore visible proof of this. Our grandmother, who was named Nicketti after the long-dead Princess, had the wide, high cheekbones of the typical Indian. Our middle sister, named Nicketti after her, inevitably was called Nick, as a nickname.

John Floyd married quite young. his wife died in childbirth, leaving an infant daughter, whom the father named "Mourning." One of our Aunt Letty's bearers thought, and still does, that such a name for an infant girl was a bit out of the ordinary, to put it mildly. When grown, the daughter married and raised a family, but there is no record that any daughter of hers was given her mother's name of "Mourning."

The widower John Floyd, having settled his wife's infant daughter with his dead wife's family, accepted an offer from Col. William Preston, then an officer of the Commonwealth living at Smithfield, the present site of Virginia Polytechnical Institute. He was to help the colonel to keep his office work in order as well as act as tutor to the Colonel's young ward, Jane Buchanan, orphan daughter of the Colonel's dead friend Major Buchanan.

That was the beginning of John Floyd's adventurous career.

At that period, Kentucky was still a part of Virginia. It therefore came within Col. Preston's official sphere. Also, its lands were being surveyed by groups sent out by Virginia men of influence looking toward ownership of large tracts of rich territory. In 1774, Col. Preston decided to organize such a group, choosing John Floyd as the member to represent his interest.

Our grandmother, who was granddaughter of John Floyd, gave to our sister Nicketti the diary kept by some member of this expedition, in which is listed the day-to-day progress of the expedition. Nicketti in 1956 presented this diary to the Manuscript Division of the Library of Congress. In it are listed tracts surveyed and for whom. Among them, including 2,000 acres for George Washington, among others for unstated amounts, were tracts for Col. William Preston, John Floyd, and Patrick Henry.

This was John Floyd's first visit to Kentucky, where later he was to become an associate of Daniel Boone and be given the rank of Colonel. Since his life has been written in detail for publication of by our Floyd Cousin, Miss Ann Carthidge of Baltimore, we must keep to the story as told to us children by our Aunt Letty Johnston before the blazing wood fire one winter evening at Woodley.

It should be explained here that my father and mother had been blessed with eight children, one, Louisa, dying in infancy. There was, therefore, a considerable gap in ages. Mary, the eldest, being at school in Richmond, John, the next in age, preparing for college, and Letty at the Convent of the Visitation in Georgetown, D.C.

This left the four of us younger ones to constitute our Aunt letty's tales of pioneer Virginia. Of these, Joe was the eldest, already showing indications of the inventive faculty he presumably had inherited from our grandfather McMullen. Nicketti was next, intense and with some share of the high temper of our mother's family, the Virginia Johnstons. Next, the writer, inflicted with the surname Dysart, of his paternal grandmother. And last and youngest, Elizabeth, named after her grandmother McMullen, possessing a musical gift, as yet, in embryo.

So our aunt Letty had a young audience when she told of John Floyd, whose deeds and personality were as remote to us as though he had been a fictional character from one of our favorite adventure novels.

He must have had an itch for change, for though he had been in Kentucky at the outbreak of the American Revolution, he returned to Virginia and somehow managed to assemble of group of similar spirits which ended in their investing in a ship to prey on English shipping in the Atlantic.

Calling from Alexandria, they left the Capes and headed for the Caribbean. There, they captured an English merchantman and headed back with their prize for the Virginia capes. But falling in with an English man-of-war, they lost prize, their own ship, and their liberties. John Floyd was taken to England and thrown into jail at Bristol. He was young, handsome, and ardent. Family tradition had it that he got on the good side of the jailor's daughter who helped his escape and got to France. He must have walked from the coast to Paris, where he appealed to Ben Franklin for help to return to America. When Franklin told Marie Antoinette of the stranded American, the Queen gave him money to buy his passage home. When John Floyd received this, instead of buying a passage home, he bought a pair of diamond shoe buckles for the girl he intended to marry and a scarlet wedding coat for himself. Family tradition says "diamond shoe buckles." Actually, they were paste. At one time, one was in possession of our first cousin Ann Lee in Richmond. The girl he intended to marry was his former pupil, Jane Buchanan. Broke again, Floyd went to the Mission representing the Colonies in Paris and borrowed money for his passage home. The writer has seen photostats of the loan and its subsequent repayment by Floyd years later. Back in Virginia, FLoyd discovered Jane Buchanan on the point of marrying another swain. But giving that unfortunate the mitten, she promptly married Floyd and the newlywed pair lived a year on property Floyd owned near the estate of his patron, Col. William Preston.

They then decided to move to Kentucky, the trip to be made on horseback. Jane carried tied to her saddle two hens and a rooster, the first recorded domestic chickens to be taken to Kentucky. She also took items of household import, among which were a pair of silver sugar tongs, much later to be owned by the writer. They are now in the D.A.R. Museum in Washington D.C. Once in Kentucky, the Floyds settled in land John Floyd had surveyed for himself, now comprising the site of the City of Louisville. There, John Floyd's adventurous life took on new dimensions. He became at once the mentor and the protector of his fellow pioneers. He was given the rank of Colonel of Militia, an active job since incursions of Indians led by English Army officers were of frequent occurrence. Another family tradition, which is without documentary proof, is that he and George Rogers Clark, were offered large sums of money and any title under that of Duke, by the English government, if they would desert the cause of the Colonies and side with England. This was, of course, refused.

The most publicized exploits of Col. Floyd were undertaken with the help of Daniel Boone. Two young girls had been captured and carried off by a band of hostile Indians. Boone and Floyd tracked the gang, and came up with them still holding the girls unharmed. A flight followed in which Boone and Floyd slew the Indians and rescued the girls. The Indian that Floyd accounted for was a chief who wore heavy silver arm bands. These were taken home by Floyd, and later made into silver table forks by a silversmith. They had been given to our Aunt Letty by her mother, who was Col. Floyd's granddaughter. After Aunt Letty's death, they were given to our first cousin Ann Lee of Richmond. They had been offered to the writer, who was too young at the time to make a selection. In his stead, his mother chose a gift from his godmother, a helmet style silver cream pitcher, which had been won as a boy in a shooting match by Col. Floyd's posthumous son, Gov. John Floyd of Virginia. It is now in the D.A.R. Museum in Washington, D.C.

The Colonel's activities in Kentucky have often been written up. Theodore Roosevelt, in his "Winning of the West," gave him full credit for what he had accomplished in Kentucky. Four or five of his brothers and brothers-in-law having been killed by Indians. The youngest, his brother isham, having been tortured at the stake for two days before his heart was out and thrown to the dogs. His own death at the hand of an Indian came when he was still under 30 years of age.

This was in Kentucky, where he was living in the house he had built on the lands he had surveyed at Floyd's Station. He was riding out on a tour of inspection accompanied by his brother-in-law named Hart. He had a favorite black riding horse he named "Pompey." For some reason, that day he was on another horse, name unknown. Returning home on approaching a growth of virgin trees cluttered with thick underbrush, he said to his brother-in-law, "I wish I had Pompey instead of the horse I'm on. He can smell Indians when they're nearby. And I think Indians are around."

By chance, he was wearing the scarlet wedding coat he had bought in Paris. As they drew abreast of the clump of big trees, an Indian concealed in the underbrush fired a musket, the bullet striking Col. Floyd in the back. He slumped in the saddle, but Hart managed to support him until they reached home. Col. Floyd lingered for a day and a half before dying; his widow giving birth to a son some weeks later. This son was to become our great grandfather, Gov. John Floyd of Virginia. Col. Floyd was buried near his home, the site of his grave being long forgotten. His widow married a Breckenridge and had children by him.

Breckenridge and his children later were to acquire most of the extensive land holdings Col. Floyd had surveyed for himself and his legal heirs. But the Colonel's widow on her deathbed made one final request. She asked that she be buried in the scarlet wedding coat worn by her husband, John Floyd when he was shot.

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James John Floyd's Timeline

1750
1750
Amherst County, Province of Virginia
1769
June, 1769
Age 19
Arcadia on the Pedlar River, Amherst County, Province of Virginia
1771
October 24, 1771
Age 21
Amherst County, Province of Virginia
1779
August, 1779
Age 29
Arcadia, Amherst County, Virginia, United States
1781
April 29, 1781
Age 31
Kentucky County, Virginia, United States
1783
April 12, 1783
Age 33
Bullitt's Lick, Jefferson County (Present Bullitt County), Virginia (Present Kentucky), United States
April 24, 1783
Age 33
Floyds Station, Jefferson County (Present Bullitt County), Virginia (Present Kentucky), United States
????
????
Probably Amherst County, Province of Virginia, (Present USA)
????
Plymouth Village, Jefferson County, Kentucky, United States