William Floyd

Portrait of an older gentleman, William Floyd, standing with cane in front of his mid-1700s manor house on Long Island.

William Floyd in front of his Long Island manor house.

(Reproduction of 1792 painting by Ralph Earl)

He Dared to Sign

In 1776 a 42 year-old William Floyd risked losing his family, farm, and life for signing the Declaration of Independence. William Floyd was the only man from New York's Suffolk County sign the Declaration of Independence.

Of the four New Yorkers who signed the document, his is the only house still standing and open to the public.

Floyd inherited the house and 4,400 acres in 1755. He farmed a variety of crops including wheat, rye, oats, corn, and flax. The Floyds also raised livestock including sheep, cattle, and pigs. Floyd farmed his vast holdings with slaves, indentured servants, and free laborers.

Although he was primarily a farmer he did serve in local politics, and in the early 1770s received a colonel's commission in the Suffolk County Militia. In 1774 he was elected to the 1st and 2nd Continental Congress, where he served until the end of the Revolutionary War.

Floyd was married twice. He had 3 children by his first wife Hannah Jones who died in 1781 and 2 children with his second wife, Joanna Strong.

After the War he went back to managing his plantation but continued to dabble in politics. He served as State Senator and was many times a presidential elector. He is one of the few Floyd's not buried in the family cemetery. He died when he was 86 in upstate New York and is buried in the Town of Westernville, where he had moved in 1803.


The Declaration of Independence and its Signers

-Thomas Stone National Historic Site (Maryland)
- Adams National Historical Park (Massachusetts)
- Colonial National Historical Park (Virginia)

Did You Know?