Declaration of Independence

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. - That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Two Wives for Floyd

Hannah Jones, daughter of William Jones of Southampton, Long Island, married William Floyd, one of the future signers of the Declaration of Independence, in 1760 or 1761. Floyd was a wealthy young farmer from Setauket, Long Island. Even though he had received a liberal education, he chose to care for the family estate instead of embarking on a professional or business career.

There is little known about Hannah except that she was a "capable, well-brought-up girl" who managed her husband's affairs while he was absent in his public duties. William was a delegate to the first Continental Congress that met in Philadelphia in 1774. He was also a commander in the Suffolk County militia as well as being active in county and local matters. He was re-elected to the Congress in both 1775 and 1776. He was "one of the first of the signers to suffer personally for the stand which he had taken."

The Floyd estate included a plantation with a beautiful mansion and lots of fruit and ornamental trees and acres of timber and firewood. It was located close to New York and so had a ready market for the fruit, firewood, and timber it produced.

After the American army left Long Island, the British troops took possession of the Floyd farm, and the family fled to Connecticut for safety. They lived in Connecticut for seven years with no income from their property. The British used the animals and crops for food as well as using the barn and the mansion to stable their horses. Their fruit, ornamental trees, and timber were cut down. By the end of the Revolutionary War, there was such destruction on the estate that General Floyd at age 69 retired from public life and moved his family to some previously purchased unbroken land on the Mohawk River.

Hannah did not live to make the move to the new home. She very patriotic and supported her husband completely in his public duties, but her health was destroyed by all the anxiety and hardship. She died at age 40 on May 16, 1781. Hannah and William were parents of three children, one son and two daughters, all of whom grew to adulthood.

William married Joanna Strong of Setauket, Long Island, in 1783, and this couple had two children.

Facts and quotes are from Wives of the Signers: The women behind the Declaration of Independence, pp 112-115.

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