Sunday, March 1, 2009

Henry Oscar Floyd

Henry Oscar Floyd, my great-grandfather Charles Augustus Floyd’s younger brother, was the middle son of George Floyd and Nancy Finley. Of their five sons, I know the least about Henry Oscar (though David comes close, but at least I have some information on his wife and descendants). The sum total of information that I and other researchers have on him amounts to the following:

1. Two census records:

1850 US Census, Dallas County, Texas, 27 Nov 1850

268 274 George Floid 39 M Farmer $500 VT
Nancy 34 F Ill
David H. 13 M Ill
Charles 9 M Ill
Henry O. 7 M Ill
Biankin 4 M Ill
Alford 1 M Ill

1860 US Federal Census Precinct No. 7, Dallas County, Texas, 26 Jun 1860

369 369 George Floyd 52 M Farmer $2160 $1185 Vermont
Nancy 46 F Ill
Chas C. 20 M Ill
Henry O. 19 M Ill
Caswell 15 M Ill
Alford 12 Ill

2. One family Bible entry; according to Eunice Sandling: “The family bible lists his birth in Greene County, Illinois and death spring of 1862 in Scott County Illinois.”

3. One line from the Memorial and Biographical History of Dallas County, Texas (Chicago, Illinois: 1892, Lewis Publishing Company): “Oscar, who died in Illinois during the war, aged nineteen.”

And that’s it. Now the big question is: What was he doing in Scott County, Illinois, in 1862? Henry was the right age to have joined up to fight in the war. I tend to go with 1843 as the year of birth, which is indicated by the 1850 census and the Memorial and Biographical History of Dallas County blurb. I do not think that he is in the Civil War Soldiers and Sailors System; there are a number of Henry Floyds (no Oscar Floyds), but they do not appear to be from the right states. There was one Henry S. Floyd who served from Illinois, but if I remember correctly, he did not match up with my guy (Henry S. was born in Kentucky, I believe – this is a good argument for carefully recording all negative search results and putting them in a place where you can find them). To completely rule all the other Henry Floyds out, I will probably have to look each one up (as well as the O. Floyds and H. Floyds) in Footnote.

Henry Oscar Floyd was born in Greene County, Illinois (near or actually in the part that is now Jersey County) and I know there were still Floyd relatives living there at the time in question (at the least, the family of his uncle Henry Floyd, the brother of his father George Floyd, and most likely Finley relatives as well). Did Henry go north to join up with Union forces, something which might have had a part in the formation of the Floyd Family Legend? Or did he fight as a Confederate and end up in a prisoner of war camp? The nearest one was in Alton, Madison County, which is in the general vicinity of Greene, Jersey, and Scott counties, and I am not taking Scott County as the location where he died as an irrefutable truth. Did he go up to stay with relatives in the area? The interesting thing is that neither the Bible entry nor the article mentions that he fought for either side; perhaps if he was on the Union side or left to avoid having to fight, this was a matter of shame in the family?

Charles Augustus Floyd named his first son Oscar. I have noticed a relevant naming pattern among my ancestors during the period following the Civil War: the oldest surviving brother who had sons born after the war would name them after brothers who died in the war. This pattern appears in the Moore, Lewis, and Floyd branches (no Brinlee brothers died in the war). So whatever Henry Oscar did during the war, he appears to have remained in his family’s affections.

Some day I plan to take a genealogy field trip out to Greene County, Illinois and visit one or two of the adjacent counties while I’m there to do some Floyd and Finley research. I hope that between Footnote (and possibly other online resources) and that field trip I will find out more about Henry Oscar Floyd.

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