William Floyd Birthplace Dates Back to Year 1724

William Floyd Birthplace Dates Back to Year 1724

William Floyd Birthplace Dates Back to Year 1724

          William Floyd was born in the old homestead at Mastic December 17, 1734, and the oldest part of the house was built by his father Nicoll Floyd in 1724.  His early education was limited, but he possessed a native ability which enabled him to take over the management of the large estate after the death of his father in 1752.  He became an officer in the militia at an early age, and was advanced from time to time until he reached the rank of major general.

            He was elected to a seat in the Continental Congress in 1774, which he held until 1782.  He was one of those who urged the adoption of the Declaration of Independence, and was one of the signers of that historic document.

            During this period the British troops were in possession of Long Island, and they had taken over his beautiful 4,000 acre estate at Mastic, and he with Mrs. Floyd and their family were forced to leave the Island and seek refuge in Connecticut.  Mrs. Floyd died from hardship during this period, and in 1783 he returned with his children and began the slow work of repairing his home and estate, which had suffered great damage at the hands of the British soldiers.  He married again, this time to Joanna, daughter of Benejah Strong of Setauket.

            General Floyd was a representative in the first Congress which met in New York March 4, 1789, when George Washington was elected president.

            He was a public spirited man and was engaged in many activities, one of which was helping found Clinton Academy at East Hampton.  His life at this period was that of a typical country squire, and his home was always open to his friends, and soon became a gathering place for distinguished men of that day.  Thomas Jefferson and James Madison stayed with him in 1791, during their joint visits to study the Indians at Mastic and their language.  About 200 of the 300 or so words of the Unkechaug Indians with their English meaning were taken down and are preserved in the Pennypacker collection in the East Hampton Library.

            A story had been handed down about the two attractive daughters of Gen. Floyd;  that James Madison fell madly in love with Catherine, and she accepted his proposal of marriage.  However, in the meantime, she fell in love with the more romantic Dr. Samuel Clarkson of Philadelphia a Presbyterian minister.  She wrote Madison a letter of dismissal, which deeply disappointed him.  The tradition goes on to say that Thomas Jefferson fell in love with Kitty’s beautiful sister, but she refused his proposal of marriage.

            William Floyd never seemed to tire of clearing large tracts of land, and shortly after his return to Mastic in 1783, he began to buy land along the Mohawk river in Westernville, N.Y., and by 1803 had constructed a house similar to the one his father had built in Mastic, and in the last months of that year moved his family to his new home.

            It seems strange that he should have left the old homestead at Mastic at the age of 69 and started life anew in another part of the state.  It may have been that he felt his son Nicoll, who had seven children, needed all the room in the ancestral home.  So in his new home on the banks of the Mohawk River he lived until his death on August 4th 1821, active to the last.

            Thus came to an end the life of this native Long Islander, whose name will ever hold an honored place in the history of the United States.

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