William Floyd: The “Signer”

Authored by Erica Chandler

Taken circa 1950s, this photograph displays the end of William Floyd Parkway, named after the man who fought for the town of Brookhaven. This photograph was taken before the bridge connecting the town to Fire Island was built.

Between 1760 and 1800 occurred one of the most significant events in the history of the United States; The American Revolution (Allison 2011). During this time, the American people shook free of British control and started their own independent government. Although much has changed since then, it was the start of what we now call our nation.

During the American Revolution, a man by the name of William Floyd held great significance to the town of Brookhaven, New York. Not only was he an official of the town, he was also elected to serve on the Continental Congress in 1774 (Fradin 2002, 144). He gained the nickname of “Signer” (Greene et al. 1899, 189), because on August 2, 1776, he signed the Declaration of Independence (Fradin 2002, 144).

Among those duties, General William Floyd also led a militia unit on Long Island but was ultimately defeated by the British and his estate was seized by them for several years (Fradin 2002, 144). It was not until 1783 that he was able to return to and rebuild his estate that was used as a barracks and destroyed by the British (Fradin 2002, 144).

After the war, William Floyd continued to serve New York by holding office in the House of Representatives from 1789 to 1791 (Fradin 2002, 145). In 1801, he was a delegate in the Constitutional Convention (Fradin 2002, 145). He died at the age of 86 in his New York farm on August 4, 1821 (Fradin 2002, 145). Shortly after his death, the William Floyd Union Free School District was founded and named after him in recognition of all he did for the colonies.

On March 30, 1931, almost 110 years after William Floyd’s death, County Route 46 or William Floyd Parkway was also created and named after him (Suffolk County 1930, 14). William Floyd was described as a “friend to the people” and a sincere man who advocated for freedom (“Who Was William Floyd” n.d.). His dedication for the place he called home and the people he fought for reflected a Vincentian value of compassion and concern for others.

References

Allison, Robert J. 2011. The American Revolution: A Concise History. New York: Oxford University Press.

Fradin, Dennis Brindell. 2002. The Signers: The 56 Stories Behind the Declaration of Independence. New York: Walker & Company.

Greene, Richard Henry, Henry Reed Stiles, Melatiah Everett Dwight, George Austin Morrison, Hopper Striker Mott, John Reynolds Totten, Louis Effingham De Forest, Harold Minot Pitman, Charles Andrew Ditmas, Conklin Mann, Arthur S. Maynard, eds. 1899. The New York Genealogical and Biographical Record 30, no. 1. New York: New York Genealogical and Biographical Society.

Suffolk County Department of Public Works. 1930. “County Road System.” Accessed March 12, 2020. https://www.eastcoastroads.com/pdfs/suffcr.pdf

William Floyd School District. n.d. “Who Was William Floyd.” Accessed March 12, 2020. https://www.wfsd.k12.ny.us/parents-and-community/who-was-william-floyd

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