David L. Floyd and his brother Monroe Matthew Floyd, were the two oldest children of Volentine Floyd and his wife Eliza Ann Parker, who were my third great-grandparents. David L. Floyd was born in 1841 and Monroe Matthew Floyd was born September 18, 1843 both in Smith County, Tennessee. I have yet to find what David’s middle name was or his full birth date, but thankfully I do know Monroe’s. The Floyd and Parker families had been in this part of Middle Tennessee from at least the 1810’s. On the 1850 census in Smith County, Tennessee David is 9 years old and Mathew is 7 years old and on the 1860 census of DeKalb County, Tennessee Mathew is 17 years old and David L. is 15 years old. Their ages just switched around for whatever reason and Monroe was called Mathew both times.
David and Monroe’s siblings were the following: William Floyd 1845-before 1860, Mary Elizabeth Floyd Bebout 1847-before 1906, James Thomas Floyd 1849-1924, John Henry Floyd 1853-1937 (my direct line) all born in Smith County, Tennessee then Artelia Frances Floyd Wright 1855-1922, Benjamin ‘Bennie’ Marshall Floyd 1859-1942, both born in DeKalb County, Tennessee then Nancy Jane ‘Jennie’ Floyd Bass 1865-before 1891 and Sarah T. Floyd Sullenger 1869-1932, both born in Wilson County, Tennessee. I don’t have any pictures of the girls, but I do have one picture each of James Thomas Floyd, John Henry Floyd and Benjamin Marshall Floyd, which follow.
David and Monroe, would have had your typical upraising from the time they were big enough to do so, helping with the family farm, clearing the fields, planting, harvesting, etc. I have been able to walk the areas that this family lived in and there are rolling hills and beautiful fertile valleys, and ancient limestone bluffs, which run around the area near the Cumberland and Caney Fork Rivers. I love driving through this area and knowing that my family was here, makes it even more beautiful and special to me. In 2003 and again in 2007, I found out about and was invited to go to a Floyd Family Reunion which was held in Commerce, Tennessee and met some of my Floyd cousins who stayed in Tennessee. My direct line, Volentine Floyd and family left Tennessee in 1873 and went to Crittenden County, Kentucky where I was born. The family at the reunion were all mainly from James Monroe Floyd, youngest brother to my Volentine Floyd. They have been having this reunion for many years and I met some fantastic family, both times I was able to attend the reunion, which is held every October, usually the third weekend of the month at Commerce Cumberland Presbyterian Church.
My Floyd family was not dirt poor as the saying goes, but they weren’t wealthy by any means either. They led a fairly comfortable life for the most part, but when rumors of war starting coming into their area, things started to get a little more complicated for this family and others, who would soon be choosing sides in a conflict that would pit brother against brother, father against son and neighbor against neighbor. Tennessee and Kentucky were both split states when it came to choosing sides for and against slavery. Kentucky stayed in the Union by just a small margin while Tennessee stayed in the Confederacy by just as small a margin. David and Monroe were approximately 20 and 18 years of age when the war broke out in April of 1861, their parents did not owned slaves and neither had either of their grandfathers and so both of these young men chose to fight for the north.
David L. Floyd joined the Union Army as a private at Brush Creek, Smith County, Tennessee on September 2, 1864 for a term of one year in Company D (tombstone says E), 4th Tennessee Mounted Infantry. The 4th Tennessee was stationed at Alexandria, Tennessee and was operating against guerrillas in that area. David was released at the end of the war as a sergeant in Nashville, Davidson County, Tennessee on August 25, 1865. During his military service he contracted chronic diarrhea and liver disease which lead to his death, less than a year after he was released from the army. According to the pension records that his mother filed for in 1888, he was 5 foot 5 inches tall, and had blue eyes, light hair and fair complexion and was never well after returning home. The pension record does not state anything about where he may have served, only that he was sickly upon returning home and that he had never married or had any children and that his mother needed a mother’s pension for his service to the Union, because her husband, Volentine Floyd, David’s father, suffered from rheumatism that prevented him from working and making a living. Rheumatism runs in the family, because my Mamaw, Daisy Loftis Fraley, told me that her granddaddy, John Henry Floyd, had to walk with two canes and was all bent over from rheumatism and my Mamaw had it bad too.
Monroe Matthew Floyd joined the Union Army as a sergeant in Company A, 5th Tennessee Cavalry Regiment on September 9, 1862 in Nashville, Davidson County, Tennessee for a term of three years. In his enlistment records he states he was 21 years old, which would put him born in 1841 and so older then David. I have always wondered which one was really the older, because their ages flip back and forth depending on the records. Monroe was soon promoted to 1st lieutenant on June 29, 1863 and then to 2nd lieutenant in October 1863, then captain on July 9, 1864 over Company A. According to the military records I have found at Fold3, on February 5, 1865 during a skirmish near McMinnville with Rebel troops under General Lyon he was shot through the trachea from left to right, and amazingly survived, but the wound has much debilitated him, as to keep him from entirely performing his duties as a captain. He was released at the end of the war, as a Captain, on August 14, 1865 at Pulaski, Giles County, Tennessee. He was 5 foot 11 inches tall, and had blue eyes, light hair and fair complexion. Monroe must have had a girl waiting for him before he enlisted, because while home on leave after being shot, he married one of his fellow captain’s, Joseph H. Blackburn’s sister, Susan Amanda Blackburn on March 29, 1865 in Alexandria, DeKalb County, Tennessee. They did not have any children together that I am aware of, because Monroe only lived about seven months after their marriage. Susan remarried in 1869 to Philip Pledger and had two children with him, before she died in 1875, just 10 years after Monroe.
My Mamaw’s oldest sister, Marguerite, use to tell me the following story about her granddaddy’s two big brothers, David and Monroe. “John Henry Floyd who was Marguerite’s granddaddy told her that the war had been going on for over two years or more and that he and his little brother, Bennie were playing soldiers one day, when a company of Union soldiers came down the road. The Union soldiers figured John and Bennie were probably rebel brats, for one of them said, let’s shoot those little Reb’s right off that fence. One of the other men in the company, said to that soldier, you might not want to do that. Why, ask the soldier as he kept his rifle on John and Bennie. Because, said the other soldier, those are Captain Floyd’s little brothers. Well it’s a good thing we didn’t shoot first and ask questions later, said the soldier. My brother Monroe was a captain and my brother, David was a sergeant and both fought for the Union army. My Momma worried so much while my brothers were gone. She prayed night and day that they would come home safe and sound. Monroe came home first but he was sick with dysentery, plus he had been shot and had lost a lot of weight. I remember he was just skin and bone and Momma just cried when she saw him. My brother, David got home about two weeks after Monroe and he was also sick with the dysentery and liver aliments and was just skin and bones. We buried both of them next to each other just a few months apart, which was the only time I remember my Daddy crying, was after we buried my brothers.” I am so thankful that I have family stories like these to make these ancestors more than just a name and a date on some paper.
Monroe Mathew Floyd died, Saturday, November 4, 1865 in Alexandria, DeKalb County, Tennessee and was buried at the New Hope Baptist Church Cemetery. David L. Floyd died, Saturday, June 30, 1866 also in Alexandria and was buried next to his brother Monroe. From Alexandria you go about 2 miles east on Walker’s Creek Road and the church and cemetery are on the north side of the road. This cemetery is located approximately 1/2 mile south of the Smith County line. I have visited their graves and taken pictures, neither stone is in good condition, David’s only has his name and his company, but Monroe’s had his full birth and death dates on it. I have not been able to locate the pictures I took back in 2003 and 2007, but I found the following which John Waggoner took and put on www.findagrave.com. David and Monroe had come home from the war, just a couple of weeks apart and died seven months apart, I can only imagine how their parents must have felt. I will be in Tennessee again in August this year and if I can arrange the time I will go and take some new pictures and see what they look like now. The following are the pictures of their graves. I am not sure why one is just standing alone and the other has like a stone box around it.
The following is a picture of the cemetery with what I believe is Monroe’s grave in the picture, which John Waggoner also took and I found online at: http://www.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~tnsmith/cempics/newhopecem.htm
In 1873, David and Monroe’s parents, Volentine and Eliza and their remaining children, left Tennessee and moved north to Crittenden County, Kentucky settling in the Sisco Chapel area of that county. I wonder if they thought it would be better for all of them to get away from all the sadness and misery that the family had endured across those devastating five April’s of the war. I guess I will never know, what all they endured, but I know my heart breaks when I think about the emotional cost they all paid.
May we always remember the men and women who have served our country with distinction and bravery and remember that FREEDOM is not FREE, there is always a price to pay.