Kentucky People
Kentucky People
Kentucky Places
Kentucky Connections
Bicentennial events
Educational resources

Charles Floyd

The Life, Death, and Monument of Charles Floyd: "a young man of much merit"

By James J. Holmberg
Annual Sally Keith Lecture - Beargrass - St. Matthews Historical Society
October 19, 2003

The Lewis and Clark Expedition has been described as the greatest exploring venture in the history of the United States - and Kentucky played an important role in it. The Falls of the Ohio played an important role. It can truly be said that Kentucky was the cradle of the expedition and the Falls of the Ohio its foundation. One-half of the members of the expedition were Kentuckians or had Kentucky ties and almost one-third of them were from the Falls area. One of those Kentuckians was Charles Floyd.

Floyd has several distinctions - one of them very unwanted. As far as can definitely be determined, he was the only member of the Corps of Discovery actually born in Kentucky - born right here in St. Matthews. Secondly, he was one of the first three permanent enlisted members of the Corps, carrying an official enlistment date of August 1, 1803, just two weeks after William Clark accepted Meriwether Lewis's invitation to be co-leader of an expedition to the Pacific and two and one-half months before Lewis reached Louisville. Thirdly, of the three sergeants appointed in the spring of 1804, two of the three were from the Nine Young Men from Kentucky, and from Jefferson County and the Falls area, Charles Floyd and his first cousin, Nathaniel Hale Pryor. Floyd was only about twenty-one at the time. He kept a journal which survives today. And, finally, Charles Floyd was the first U. S. soldier to die in the service of his country west of the Mississippi River, dying at present day Sioux City, Iowa, on August 20, 1804, the only fatality the Corps of Disocvery suffered. (1)

Who was this "young man of much merit," as he was described by Meriwether Lewis after the expedition? (2) Like so many from that time period, we don't know much about Floyd's life before the Lewis and Clark Expedition.

Floyd's Station, 1922.  Photographed by Rogers Clark Ballard Thruston.
The Filson Historical Society

The parents of Charles Floyd were Robert Clark and Lilleyan Hampton Floyd. In September of 1779 they left Amherst County, Virginia, for the Falls of the Ohio. The party was led by Robert's brother, Col. John Floyd. They came by the Cumberland Gap route, following the Wilderness Road to the Falls - a route that Col. Floyd had taken before. It is believed that they settled briefly at Floyd's Station at the mouth of Beargrass creek on the Ohio, where the little village of Louisville had been established the year before. But they soon moved to the middle fork of the Beargrass Creek and the Floyd's Station there. (3) This site is in the present St. Matthews, where the Jamestown apartments are located.

Here the Floyd family lived in pioneer Kentucky, farming and wresting the land from the Indians. They were under the ever present danger of Indian attack. It was into this frontier setting that Charles Floyd was born about 1782 or 1783. Also born at that time, in April 1783, was Charles' first cousin, John Floyd, Jr., the son of John Floyd. As these two Floyds were coming into the world another was leaving it. Col. Floyd was killed by Indians in April 1783.

Nothing is known of Charles Floyd's youth. It would have been typical of many frontier youths of the day. The family lived along Beargrass Creek. They were farmers as well as frontiersmen. Young Charles would have worked in the fields and learned frontier skills. But he also received an education. The expedition journal he left behind proves that while he wasn't highly educated, he could read and write.

Perhaps seeking a better opportunity, Robert Clark Floyd moved across the Ohio to Indiana and Clarksville Township by 1799. By 1806 he had moved back to Kentucky and was living on Pond Creek in southwestern Jefferson County. His brother Charles (sometimes mistakenly identified as the father of Charles of the expedition) also lived on Pond Creek. (4) In 1799 young Charles Floyd was about sixteen years old and continuing to mature into someone destined to join the Lewis and Clark Expedition.

By 1802 Charles, only about twenty years old, was a constable of Clark Township and had the contract to carry the mail between Louisville and Vincennes. His brother-in-law was Thomas Winn, the Louisville postmaster, which might have been an advantage in being awarded the contract; but if young Floyd could not have handled the responsibility, hardship, and danger of the job - remember that he was crossing some one hundred miles of sparsely settled country that was still very much the frontier - he would not have been entrusted with it. Perhaps Charles used the ferry that his father and brother Davis operated from Clarksville to the landing below the Falls downstream from Louisville to carry the mail. (5)

In the spring of 1803 William and George Rogers Clark moved across the river to Clarksville, settling at Point of Rocks - later called Clark's Point. Both brothers knew the Floyd family, and undoubtedly knew Charles prior to 1803. On July 18 William Clark accepted his friend Meriwether Lewis's invitation to join the journey to the Pacific and he also began recruiting men for it. Less than two weeks later, Clark had recruited three men, three very important men - brothers Joseph and Reubin Field and Charles Floyd. The Field brothers lived on Pond Creek in southwestern Jefferson County in the same vicinity as Charles Floyd's uncle Charles. A Floyd family genealogist reported that it was at Pond Creek Settlement that young Charles Floyd joined the party on September 8. That has not been verified. Both his and the Fields's official enlistment date is August 1, 1803. The true nucleus of the Corps of Discovery had begun to form. When Lewis and Clark met in Louisville on October 14, actually joining forces, and when the other six recruits were enlisted at the Falls, the all-important foundation of the Corps was formed. It was this nucleus of the Corps - Lewis, Clark, the Nine Young Men from Kentucky, Clark's slave York, and Lewis's dog Seaman - that pushed off from the Falls of the Ohio on October 26, down the river and into history. (6)

The Corps first winter camp was near the confluence of the Mississippi and Wood Rivers. Their camp was christened Camp River Dubois (French for Wood). It was opposite the mouth of the Missouri River. That fall and over the course of the the winter Charles Floyd demonstrated his value to the party. He was reliable and responsible, and the captains depended on him. Their reliance on and confidence in him were demonstrated on April 1, 1804, when he was officially appointed one of the three sergeants of the Corps. (7) He was one of six men whose journals from the expedition survive. His first entry read "A Journal commenced at River Dubois . . . may 14th 1804 Showery day Capt Clark Set out at 3 oclock P m for the western expidition the party Consisted of 3 Serguntes and 38 working hands which maned the Batteaw and two Perogues we Sailed up the missouria 6 miles and encamped on the N. side of the River." (8)

Floyd reported the basic occurrences of each day, as well as his assessment of the country through which they passed. On May 31, he recorded "one perogue Loaded with Bare Skins and Beav[er] and Deer Skins from the osoge village one osoge woman with them our hunters went out and Kild one Deer we Lay By all this day on acount of the Wind the Land is Good but Broken it rained and Cleard up nothing worth Relating to day."

A week later, on June 7, he wrote "Came 2 miles past Som [s]prings Comes out of Clifte 2 miles past a Creerk on the n Side Called the River of the Big Devil one mile past a rock on the N. Side whare the pictures of the Devil and other things We Kild 3 Rattel Snakes at that Rock 5 miles to Creek on the N Side Called . . . Good woman Creek Strong watter past severall Isd. [islands] George Druer [Drouillard] Kild one Bar encampet at the mouth the Land is Good well timberd, &c.

These are typical entries. Occasionally he reported something that no one else did. He mentioned the illness that would lead to his death three weeks later only once, in his July 31 entry - and then only after Clark mentioned it first, in his entry for July 30. Floyd apparently rallied for awhile in early August but then succumbed to the malady. This might be why his final entries are quite brief. On August 15, Floyd recorded that "Capt. Clark and 10 of his men and my Self went to the Mahas Creek a fishen and Caut 300 and 17 fish of Difernt Coindes ouer men has not Returnd yet." The next day he wrote, "Capt Lewis and 12 of his men went to the Creek a fishen Caut 709 fish Differnt Coindes." The entry for the 17th was even more brief. "Continued Hear for ouer men thay did not Return Last night."

On August 18, 1804, Sergeant Charles Floyd wrote his last entry. Two days later he was dead. "ouer men Returnd and Brot with them the man [the deserter Moses Reed] and Brot with them . . . the Grand Chief of the ottoes and 2 Loer ones and 6 youers [warriors] of thare nathion." (9)

What was recorded by the other journalists about Floyd's illness and death? Let's return to late July and William Clark's entry that mentioned for the first time that Floyd was sick. "Serjt. Floyd verry unwell a bad Cold & c.," Clark wrote on Monday, July 30. On another Monday, August 20, near present day Sioux City, Iowa, Floyd died, gaining the dubious distinction of being the only fatality among the Corps of Discovery during its historic odyssey to the Pacific and back. The "Belious Cholick" that took Floyd's life is believed to have been a ruptured appendix with resultant peritonitis. Medical science of the early nineteenth century did not understand such an ailment and it would not have mattered whether the malady struck him some 950 miles up the Missouri River or in the Philadelphia office of Dr. Benjamin Rush, one of the foremost medical men of the day. (10)

Floyd himself, being the good soldier he was, and apparently not wanting to complain, did not mention his illness until July 31, again, after Clark first mentioned it. Even then, he only recorded that he was "verry Sick and Has ben for Somtime but have Recovered my helth again." Sergeant John Ordway noted in his journal on that same date that Floyd had been "Sick Several days but now is Gitting Some better. (11)

The Corps continued up river unaware that the infection was working its poison on Floyd. On August 19, the journal keepers recorded that Floyd was very ill. Some of the entries are almost identical, providing an example of the men copying from each other's journals. Clark recorded that "Serjeant Floyd is taken verry bad all at onc with a Beliose Chorlick we attempt to relieve him without Success as yet, he gets wordse and we are muc allarmed at his Situation, all attention to him." In his field notes, Clark included the statement that "every man is attentive to him (York prlly [principally or primarily])." (12) This is not surprising. Floyd apparently was liked by his fellow explorers; he was highly thought of by the captains; and he and York undoubtedly knew each other, even before the nucleus of the Corps of Discovery was formed with those young Kentuckians at the Falls of the Ohio.

During that day and night Floyd worsened to the point that Clark feared for his life. He stayed up most of the night with him but could do nothing for the fast sinking sergeant. Clark wrote in his field notes that "I am Dull & heavy been up the greater Part of last night with Serjt. Floyd, who is a[s] bad as he can be to live the [motion?] of his bowels having changed &c. &c. is the Cause of his violent attack &c &c." After recording their course and distance for about twelve miles, Clark recorded the fate of Charles Floyd.

we Came to [to] make a warm bath for Sergt. Floyd hopeing it would brace him a little, before we could get him in to this bath he expired, with a great deel of composure, haveing Said to me before his death that he was going away and wished me to write a letter - we took Buried him to the top of a high round hill over looking the river & Countrey for a great distance Situated just below a Small river without a name to which we name & call Floyds river, the Bluffs Sergts. Floyds Bluff - we buried him with all the honors of War, and fixed a Ceeder post at his head with his name title & Day of the month and year Capt Lewis read the funeral Service over him after paying everry respect to the Body of this desceased man (who had at All times given us proofs of his impatiality Sincurity to oursleves and giid will to Serve his Countrey) we returned to the Boat & proceeded to the Mouth of the little river 30 yd. wide & Camped a butifull evening (13)

It is interesting to compare/contrast this entry from Clark's field notes to that recorded in his fair copy journal.

Sergeant Floyd much weaker and no better. . . . Serjeant Floyd as bad as he can be no pulse & nothing will Stay a moment on his Stomach or bowels-

Passed two Islands on the S. S. [starboard side] and at first Bluff on the S S. Serj.' Floyd Died with a great deel of Composure, before his death he Said to me, "I am going away" ["]I want you to write me a letter" - We buried him on the top of the bluff ˝ Miles below a Small river to which we Gave his name, he was buried with the Honors of War much lamented; a Seeder post with the (1) Name Sergt. C. Floyd died here 20th of August 1804 was fixed at the head of his grave - This Man at all times gave us proofs of his firmness and Deturmined resolution to doe Service to his Countrey and honor to himself after paying all the honor to our Decesed brother we Camped in the mouth of floyds river about 30 yards wide, a butifull evening. - (14)

The other men keeping journals also provided information about Floyd's lamented fate. Ordway and Whitehouse recorded Floyd dying about noon, while they were stopped for dinner. Gass put it at about two o'clock while stopped for dinner. (15)

Ordway, Whitehouse, and Gass also provide some information that Clark did not. Exactly where did Sergeant Charles Floyd die? All three write that after Floyd died they proceeded on to hills on the north side of the river, and there he was buried. He was buried with the "honours of war" and the "usual Serrymony performed (by Capt. Lewis[)] as custommary in a Settlement." In his entry, remember, Clark wrote that they "took" Floyd's body, but then crossed it out and noted the burial ceremony and rites. This would indicate that they did carry Floyd's body from where he actually died, but that Clark decided to relate only the facts of the burial instead. Gass stated they traveled about one mile. Ordway wrote that they put to on the south (or west) side of the river. All three, as already mentioned, recorded proceeding to the north (or east) side to bury him. Clark is not specific about this, but seems to indicate the starboard or north shore of the river as the side Floyd died on. (16) Therefore, it would seem that Charles Floyd actually may have died on the Nebraska side of the Missouri and was carried upstream to the first good hills, which were on the Iowa side, where his grave would be safe from floods and have a commanding view of the countryside.

While not recorded by Clark and the other journal-keepers, Floyd apparently was either placed in a crude coffin or oaks slabs were driven around the inside perimeter of the grave and an oak plank or sawed timber placed on top of that. (17)

On their return down the Missouri in 1806, the party did not forget their fallen comrade. On September 4, Clark recorded that he, Lewis, and several men ascended Floyd's Bluff, as they had christened his burial site, and "found the grave had been opened by the nativs and left half Covered." They filled the grave up again and continued homeward. (18)

In 1810 Clark added a degree of mystery and confusion to Floyd's grave site. In that year, during one of his interviews with Nicholas Biddle concerning the latter's preparation of the captains' journals for publication, he told Biddle that a Sioux chief had opened Floyd's grave and buried his son with the sergeant. His reason for doing so was so his son could accompany the white man to the other world, because the whites' future state was happier than that of the Indians. When this addition of a body to Floyd's grave occurred--if it actually did occur--is uncertain. It would seem that if the Corps had discovered another body in Floyd's grave in 1806 they would have made note of it. They did not. Therefore, a more likely explanation is that sometime between September 1806 and the summer of 1809, when Clark left St. Louis for the East, he heard this information, and subsequently passed it on to Biddle about April 1810. (19)

The grave of the only man to die on the Lewis and Clark Expedition, with its cedar post reaching skyward, became a landmark on the Missouri. It was often remarked upon by travelers keeping written accounts of their journey on the Big Muddy. No known drawing of it was made until 1832. In that year the famous artist George Catlin stopped at the grave and sketched "this solitary cedar-post, which tells a tale of grief." Continuing, he wrote "'Floyd's Grave' is a name given to one of the most lovely and imposing mounds or bluffs on the Missouri River. . . . We encamped a couple of days at its base. I several times ascended it and sat upon the grave, overgrown with grass and the most delicate wild flowers, . . . and beheld from its top, the windings infinite of the Missouri, and its thousand hills and domes of green, vanishing into blue in distance." (20)

Given Catlin's eye for detail and commitment to accuracy, his painting of "Floyd's Grave" most likely can be relied upon as what was seen by those passing it in the first half of the nineteenth century. From the time of his death until the encroachment of the dynamic Missouri, Catlin's visual record of Sergeant Floyd's resting place provides a window into the past that allows us to see the young Kentuckian's grave as Clark, Lewis, Hunt, Lisa, Bridger, and countless others saw it.

In May 1839 the eminent scientific explorer Joseph N. Nicollet, accompanied by young Lt. John C. Frémont, visited Floyd's grave while exploring the area for the U.S. Topographical Engineers. He noted in his expedition report that his men replaced the signal (cedar post) blown down by winds. (21) It is not clear whether they "replaced" it as in reerecting it or putting up a new one. It is likely that they simply put the existing one back up. One also wonders that having stood for some thirty years, if it is possible that vandals rather than wind pushed it over. It is impossible to know whether it was the original post. Six years before Nicollet when Prince Maximilian and party ascended the Missouri, he noted that "a short stick marks the place where he [Floyd] is laid, and has often been renewed by travellers when the fires in the prairie have destroyed it." (22)

Eighteen years after Nicollet's visit Floyd's resting place was forever disturbed by the turbulent waters of the Missouri. In the spring of 1857, during one of its common spring floods, the Missouri undermined Floyd's Bluff, sending it plunging into its waters. The bluff was carried away to the point of Floyd's grave, almost sixty perpendicular feet above the river. The cedar post and a number of bones possibly tumbled into the river and were carried away. M.L. Jones of Smithland, Iowa, stated in 1895 that he was familiar with the grave and passed it frequently in 1854-1855, and that late in the fall of 1856 he noticed that the post, which had been almost intact, had been cut away almost to ground level. Then, in late April 1857, while traveling from Sioux City home to Smithland, he noticed that the flooding river was cutting into the bluff and that the post and grave which had been about one hundred feet from the edge of the bluff appeared gone. A closer examination confirmed the post being gone and revealed bones protruding from the bank. Word was sent to Sioux City and a party secured what was left of the bones the next day. (23)

Other accounts of the 1857 rescue of Floyd's remains offer additional and also contradictory information. Two statements refer to the coffin protruding from the collapsed bank, rather than oaks slabs with a board placed on top over Floyd. Dr. S.P. Yeomans recollected in 1895 that a rope was tied around a man's waist and he was lowered over the edge of the bank to secure a cable to the box so that it could be raised to safety. (24)

Judge Noah Levering recalled that same year, that in March 1857 it was discovered that the grave was being washed away and a rescue committee gathered up the skull and other bones they found for reburial at a safer spot. It was Levering who noted the oak slab construction of the "coffin" and that the "red" cedar post--that he remembered as having been whittled down to walking stick size by souvenir hunters--had slid into the river. Six years later, in May 1901, Levering provided additional information. He recalled that Dr. Sloan of Sergeant Bluff, not M.L. Jones, discovered the danger to the grave, and when the rescue committee visited the site the next day they observed a leg bone protruding from the ground. A young man volunteered to crawl to the edge while the committee held a rope tied around his waist, and using a spade he dug out bones and pieces of the makeshift coffin. Levering carried the bones home, but his wife did not like them about the house, so he gave them to Judge Marshall F. Moore for safekeeping. In May 1857 the remains were placed in a new coffin, carried by the ferry boat Lewis Burns to the bluff, and reinterred in a patriotic and religious ceremony some 600 feet further back on the bluff with head and footboards to mark it. He thought the post that had slid into the river was probably the third one to mark the grave, placed there by Nicollet he surmised. A couple days after recalling these events he stated that no bones were lost to the encroachment of the river. Any bones missing were due to wild animals disturbing the grave, as early visitors had reported. (25)

Almost forty years would pass before the remains of Sergeant Floyd and his grave would again become the focus of attention. Like a phoenix rising from the ashes, it was Floyd's own journal, kept during his fateful journey up the Missouri in 1804, that would provide the spark for a movement that would culminate in a monument honoring him.

James J. Holmberg, ed. Exploring with Lewis and Clark: The 1804 Journal of Charles Floyd. University of Oklahoma Press, 2004.

On February 3, 1893, while examining a pile of notebooks written by that voracious collector of early western manuscripts Lyman C. Draper, Reuben G. Thwaites discovered Floyd's journal. How Draper acquired the journal is uncertain, but once he did it disappeared into his vast collection, there to lay for some forty or fifty years until found by Thwaites. Professor James D. Butler of Madison, Wisconsin, learned of the journal and presented a paper on it to the American Antiquarian Society in April 1894. The American Antiquarian Society subsequently published Floyd's journal. These events, together with the 1893 publication of Elliott Coues's edition of the Lewis and Clark journals, stirred new interest in the expedition. In the Sioux City area in particular, interest was rekindled in Charles Floyd, his death, and his grave. (26)

So how did the monument come about? Area newspapers, especially The Sioux City Journal, carried articles regarding Floyd and his grave, and the possibility of erecting a monument honoring him. There had been discussion of a monument in 1857 at the time of the rescue and reinterment of his remains, but nothing came of it. While building a monument to the young sergeant might never have faded entirely from the minds of those who remembered the 1857 reburial, it was the events of 1893 and 1894 that proved to be the catalyst that achieved results. (27)

An association was proposed by interested Iowans in the Sioux City area in 1895 to finally honor Floyd with a monument. Detailed coverage of the plans by the Journal helped stimulate public interest and support for the endeavor. Some of these articles were picked up by the Associated Press, and together with letters of support in national publications by Elliott Coues the plan for an association was realized. August 20, 1895, was set as the date for a suitable ceremony to again reinter Sergeant Floyd's remains and to incorporate the Floyd Memorial Association. This time, unlike thirty-eight years earlier, a proper marker would be placed over the grave until a more substantial monument could be constructed. (28)

There was one problem. The grave could not be found! In the years since the 1857 reburial, the head and foot markers of the grave had been broken off and their remains were beneath ground level. In the winter of 1867, engineer Mitchell Vincent of Onawa, Iowa, had reported the only visible sign of the grave to be a shallow six inch depression extending perhaps two feet by one foot. Mitchell was conducting railroad work on the bluff and instructed the crew to respect the grave. He recalled that he would have liked to have formed at least a mound over the grave, but the ground being frozen prevented him from doing so. When spring arrived his good intentions were forgotten and Floyd's grave continued a silent, neglected witness to the water, rail, and road traffic passing by. As the years passed less and less remained of the grave to identify it, and by 1895 there was no obvious sign of it left. (29)

An attempt early in 1895 to locate the grave failed. The consternation caused by this situation helped stiffen the resolve of the leaders of the memorial movement. Many of them were early residents of the area. Between themselves and the help of other old settlers, many of whom had attended the 1857 reburial, another attempt was made on Memorial Day, May 30, 1895. This search met with success. Using faded memories, partly confused from the changed appearance of the bluff, and a more scientific method of probing for color differences in the soil, the grave was found. Desiring other witnesses to be on hand for the exhumation, especially those who had been at the 1857 ceremonies, further digging was delayed until June 6. Digging on that day revealed the remains of the oak head and footboards placed there in 1857 several inches below the surface. Going deeper, the moldering wood of the coffin was uncovered. A spade thrust through its rotted top revealed the skull and other bones. The identification was declared successful. Optimism for their monument project was high, and right there on the spot the Floyd Memorial Association was formed.

Upon reflection, the original intention to leave the grave undisturbed was reconsidered, and it was decided to remove the skull to town for safe keeping and then recover the grave. There would be no forgetting Floyd's grave again. The Journal covered the activities and the founding of the Association, and plans immediately were made for reburial ceremonies on the same site for August 20, the ninety-first anniversary of the sergeant's death. (30)

Over the next three months the Association regularly met and made all necessary arrangements. Mitchell Vincent platted the bluff and determined that Floyd's 1804 grave was now 100 feet in the air over the Missouri, and that the 1857 grave was about 360 feet from the solid edge of the railroad cut on the western side of the bluff. When erosion of the bank, the railroad cut, and the present site of the grave all were factored together, Vincent determined that the 1857 grave was southeast from the original one by about 600 feet. (31)

At the Association's June 24 meeting John H. Charles was elected president, a position he would hold until a monument to Floyd towered over the Iowa prairie six years later. A monument was very important to Charles and he worked diligently toward achieving it. Committees were formed at the meeting with the duties of inviting Coues and Butler to be speakers at the August 20 ceremonies; acquiring the land containing the grave for a park; and procuring a suitable receptacle for Floyd's bones and a proper stone to temporarily mark the grave.

On July 6, photographs of Floyd's skull and the vicinity of the original grave were exhibited at a meeting of the executive committee. The photographer, at least of the grave view, was P.C. Waltermire of Sioux City. His services were retained for the reburial and monument exercises. It is thanks to him and his camera that we have photographs of the 1895, 1900, and 1901 ceremonies. Also at this meeting it was decided that a marble slab seven feet by three feet and eight inches thick, properly inscribed, would be ordered at a cost of $40, and that a pottery urn (actually two urns) would be made to hold the bones. Coues's recommendation that Floyd's skull be given to a historical repository was declined, but two plaster casts of it were made, one of which was given to the Iowa Historical Society. (32)

The day for the reburial ceremonies was fast approaching, and all the arrangements were coming together, from the slab to the train to carry the expected crowd. A detailed schedule of the afternoon and evening programs was approved; and articles of incorporation for the Association were drafted and ready for adoption.

August 20, 1895, dawned bright and warm. The train departed for Floyd's Bluff at 1:45, fifteen minutes behind schedule, crowded with some 400 passengers. An additional 100 spectators took other conveyances. From the base of the bluff the procession was led to the top by the General Hancock Post, No. 22, GAR, with fife and drum playing. Old settlers, Association officers, speakers, city and county officials, appropriate others, and the attendees followed in that order. The Association had prepared the grave site prior to August 20. The other bones had been exhumed, and they and the skull placed in two earthenware urns. The urns were viewed by the crowd, and then President Charles, acting as master of ceremonies, opened the program. Judge George W. Wakefield, speaking on behalf of Sioux City, made a brief address. He was followed by Professor James Butler, who delivered the funeral oration. In place of a Bible, Butler held the original Floyd journal. After his address recalling that sad day ninety-one years before, George Perkins representing the Iowa Historical Society, General Hancock Post Commander Eugene Rice, the Reverend H.D. Jenkins, Elliott Coues, and Dr. S.P. Yeomans all delivered short speeches.

The crowd then gathered around the open grave for photographs. The two urns were lowered into the grave, a wreath and flowers were placed on them, and the grave filled in. The inscribed stone was laid over it; the articles of incorporation of the Floyd Memorial Association were signed beside it; and Rev. Jenkins closed the bluff top ceremonies with a benediction.

1895 reburial ceremony for Charles Floyd
The Filson Historical Society

At eight o'clock that night the evening program began at the Sioux City YMCA auditorium. The main speaker was Dr. Coues, and after a few preliminaries, the Lewis and Clark scholar spoke on their expedition. Professor Butler followed, speaking on Charles Floyd and again displaying his original journal. (33)

Now that the immediate goal of a permanent marker for Floyd's grave had been achieved, the Association began looking toward its ultimate goal of erecting a monument to the fallen expedition member. Local residents were the leaders of the Association and formed the majority of the membership, but interested people from across the country also joined. Elliott Coues and James D. Butler belonged for obvious reasons, and even served as vice-presidents. Another four of the fifteen vice-presidents were descendants of William Clark, a son and three grandsons. These tended to be honorary positions, with the exception of Coues, who wrote the excellent 1897 report of the Association. (34)

Over the next several years the board of the Association, and primarily the executive committee, worked toward making a monument to the lone fatality of the Corps of Discovery a reality. At the August 20, 1898, annual meeting of the Association it was reported that one acre of ground surrounding Floyd's grave had been fenced and planted with trees, and that a monument of the type researched (a shaft) would cost $6,000 to $10,000 depending on the material used. (35)

By the time of the 1899 annual meeting a $5,000 appropriation from Congress had been secured; final negotiations were underway for the purchase of twenty-one bluff top acres surrounding Floyd's grave site for a park; and discussions were being held with the Sioux City office of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers regarding the planning and construction of a monument. No definite plan had been decided on, but approval was given to John Charles's motion to proceed with a seventy-five foot shaft of Sioux Falls quartzite, to be ready for dedication on August 20, 1900. (36) This plan proved premature, and discussion continued with the Corps of Engineers.

The end of the century whose beginning had witnessed the Lewis and Clark Expedition, and the dawning of a new century, proved to be the stage upon which a monument to Charles Floyd would become a reality. By May 1900 enough money had been raised to proceed with the monument plans designed by Captain Hiram M. Chittenden of the Corps of Engineers. In April the State of Iowa had matched Congress' appropriation of $5,000 for a monument. At the May 9 meeting of the executive committee, Chittenden's plan was approved. His design was an Egyptian obelisk. His predecessor, Capt. James C. Sanford, had recommended the same style of monument. Chittenden had thoroughly studied the matter upon assuming supervision of the Sioux City office, and reached the same conclusion. In a letter dated January 26, 1900, he stated that the "character of the site, . . . as the purposes of the work, require a monument which shall be imposing in appearance, and visible at a great distance, dominating the entire valley in its vicinity, rather than an example of fine artistic work, whose merits, to be appreciated, must be examined close by." To this end, the Egyptian obelisk was the best choice. He also listed the types of stone--granite, limestone, and sandstone--that could be used. The captain stated that all were suitable, and while granite was the preferred stone, it was likely sandstone would be used due to cost restrictions. Chittenden was correct. A couple of months later Kettle River sandstone from a quarry in Minnesota was selected. While cost conscious, the Association's executive committee and Chittenden insisted that all materials and workmanship be of good quality. The Association's reports and Chittenden's 1901 report to the Chief of Engineers testify to this. (37)

By late May 1900 the plans, finances, and ceremony arrangements were all in place. The next step in the monument project was at hand--the pouring of the foundation, to be followed several months later after that had set, by the obelisk. With the planning and preparation of a military operation, all was in readiness for the morning of May 29. Using labor hired for the day from government workers doing river work and Sioux City street workers, so that he could maintain more direct control over the project, Chittenden assembled 110 men early that morning. They all were briefed on the project and assigned their duties.

The force left the railroad station at seven o'clock, and half an hour later the first concrete was being poured. Everything needed already had been assembled or was hauled in during the day to keep the work progressing. This was of utmost importance because the foundation had to be poured in one day to assure that it would set as one solid mass. And solid mass it was! Measuring twenty-two feet square at the base, fourteen feet square at the top, and eleven feet high, with thirty-two heavy steel rails interlaced through it, the foundation required 138.6 cubic yards of concrete and weighed some 200 tons. The concrete was mixed by hand, a mechanical mixer being deemed unnecessary. As wheelbarrow after wheelbarrow of concrete ran up the ramps and deposited its load in the excavation that would become the foundation, the caisson around the work was built up, the ramps adjusted, and the supplies replenished. Chittenden and his assistant engineer, Bathurst Smith (who the former recognized as supervising much of the work on the project in his 1901 report), kept vigilant eyes on the work's progress. Chittenden had estimated ten hours for the work and he hit his mark almost exactly. The last shovel of concrete was deposited at 5:20, and by six o'clock the workers were headed home. It would now be only a few months before the stones began to rise skyward to memorialize Sergeant Floyd. (38)

Following its tradition, the Association chose August 20 to lay the cornerstone of the monument. It had been decided to transfer the sergeant's remains into the monument for permanent entombment there. Accordingly, they were exhumed yet again the morning of August 20 and placed in the center of the foundation, ready to be covered with concrete during the afternoon ceremonies.

Just as it had done on August 20, 1895, the Association and citizens of Sioux City planned suitable ceremonies for the event. The heat and blazing sun caused some of the activities to be abandoned, but the main event--the laying of the cornerstone--would be accomplished.

The parade in town to the station was abbreviated. The railroad cars, loaded with some 250 people, pulled out for the bluff just behind schedule. Those passengers were joined by hundreds of others, and while the Fourth Regiment Band, better known as Reed's Band, played a quickstep two companies of guardsmen led a scattered procession up the hill.

The Reverend J.C. McClintock offered a blessing on the proceedings just after two o'clock. He was followed by George Perkins, speaking on behalf of the Iowa Historical Society. Perkins spoke on Floyd, his grave, and the Association. The Association's board of trustees was unanimously reelected--to take care of some necessary business--and then the mayor of Sioux City, A.H. Burton, placed a time capsule beside the urns in the center of the monument's base. Some sort of structure apparently housed these items, because a concrete top was then placed over them.

In a mixed military-religious ceremony conducted by the GAR Post and guardsmen, the cornerstone was laid. A final address was given and the band played "America." Three volleys were fired in salute to the fallen soldier and the mournful sound of taps drifted from the bluff to end the ceremony. (39)

Following the laying of the cornerstone the Kettle River sandstone blocks were laid as they were delivered. The core of the monument was filled with concrete as new courses were laid. Delivery was slow, and by the end of October only sixteen courses had been laid and Chittenden expressed doubts as to whether the work could be completed before cold weather arrived.

On November 18, the Minnesota Sandstone Company delivered the last of the stone, but by then work had been suspended for the season. At the time work was suspended on November 14, the monument had risen to a height of fifty-five feet, just over half-way to its planned one hundred feet. The unused stone was carefully housed to wait for spring.

Meanwhile, plans for the completion of the monument in the spring proceeded during the cold prairie winter. Contracts and work for the steel fence around the obelisk, the two bronze tablets to be set in the shaft, and grading, paving and road work around the monument all were awarded or done. (40)

Work on the monument resumed on March 28, 1901, and proceeded as rapidly as possible. The obelisk quickly rose higher despite delays caused by high winds. On April 22, the capstone of the obelisk was laid, completing the work on the shaft itself. Its final dimensions were: height 100.174 feet; base 9.42 feet square; and weight 278 tons. Six blocks were used in each course. The shaft decreased by one-third from base to top.

Masons putting the finishing touches on the top of the Floyd Monument, 22 April 1901.
The Filson Historical Society

Related work continued after April 22. The paving work around the monument, the placement of the tablets on the east and west faces of the shaft, the roadway from the public highway to the monument, and the steel fence all were completed by late May in time for the Memorial Day dedication on May 30. The paving work was nearly completed. (41)

Memorial Day, 1901, in the Sioux City area was a most memorable one. The Floyd Memorial Association planned the ceremonies meticulously, wanting this day that would witness the culmination of years of effort to go perfectly. And perfect it was. The graves of Sioux City's soldiers were decorated with flags and flowers early that morning. At 10:15 a special train left for the monument. Once there its passengers joined those who already had arrived by other means.

Reminiscent of the scene that had been played out twice before, the participants and spectators gathered around the grave of Sergeant Floyd. New faces and old were among the crowd. President Charles, James D. Butler, carrying the precious journal as he had six years earlier, Noah Levering, who had played such an important role in the 1857 rescue of the remains and who had journeyed from Los Angeles for the occasion, the daughter of William Bratton, one of the "Nine Young Men from Kentucky," and many others were in attendance. The crowd was estimated at 2,000. Patriotic airs filled the countryside courtesy of Reed's Band while the dignitaries took seats and the crowd settled down in anticipation of the start of the hour long ceremonies.

An invocation began the dedication, followed by a musical selection, and then Captain Chittenden reviewed the facts of the project that had resulted in this almost $20,000 monument surrounded by a twenty-one acre park. He then officially offered the monument to the Floyd Memorial Association. John Charles and vice-president George Wakefield accepted the monument with appropriate remarks. The bronze tablets were unveiled, and a descendant of Thomas Jefferson spoke. The General Hancock Post then assumed control of the ceremonies and dedicated the monument to the memory of Sergeant Charles Floyd. Professor Butler offered a few remarks and displayed Floyd's journal, comparing it to the monument, saying it was the obelisk Floyd had erected and his own enduring monument. A bugler then blew retreat, a three volley salute from twenty-four guns was given, and taps sounded from the bluff as the crowd dispersed shortly before noon.

Dedication of the Floyd Monument, 30 May 1901.  James Butler holding Floyd journal in foreground.
The Filson Historical Society

Afternoon ceremonies got underway at two o'clock with a parade by Civil War veterans, Sioux City companies of the Iowa National Guard, representatives of civic societies, and city officials. It terminated at the Opera House, where the program began at three o'clock. American flags and bunting decorated the interior of the Opera House and Reed's band was again on hand to play patriotic songs. Other musical groups also participated during the program, singing songs suitable for a day set aside to honor America's warriors. After the invocation, a musical selection, and a reading of the Gettysburg Address, the Grand Army of the Republic's memorial service for the dead was performed. A tribute to President Charles moved the "well loved old man" to tears. The main speaker was John A. Kasson, an Iowan and well known orator of the day, who spoke for about an hour on the Louisiana Purchase, Lewis and Clark, Floyd, the monument, and what it all signified. Missing among the dignataries and speakers was Coues, who had died in 1899. "America" closed the afternoon program. (42)

The celebration of the day and dedication of the monument to Floyd drew to a close that night at the Court House auditorium. There Butler delivered the evening's address. Again displaying the journal, he recounted its importance and history, the Corps' and especially the captains' love for Floyd, a story of the sergeant's hatchet, and likened the journal to "the acorn from which an obelisk grander than any oak has grown." Long time area resident and Association officer S.P. Yeomans spoke next, focusing on the monument, its significance, and its symbolism concerning U.S. history. Noah Levering was recognized for his role in rescuing Floyd's remains, and took the opportunity to correct an error concerning the state of those remains in 1857. Patriotic music was played and sung during the program, and that favorite "America" closed the proceedings of this eventful Memorial Day. (43)

All that remained to totally complete the monument was some paving around it and the inevitable cleanup. Both were accomplished by late June, and on June 30, Chittenden settled accounts and resigned as engineer for the Association. (44)

Thus was completed the dream of an enduring memorial to the only member of the Corps of Discovery to die on the expedition. The Floyd Memorial Association accomplished the erection of a monument larger and more impressive than any constructed for any other member of the Corps, including Lewis and Clark. It has rescued Floyd from the near anonymity that has been the fate of most of the expedition's members. Ninety-seven years after a cedar post was erected to mark the grave of Sergeant Charles Floyd, a stone obelisk soared above the Missouri and surrounding prairie to mark his grave; a fitting monument indeed to this "young man of much merit."

Recently completed Floyd Monument seen from opposite bank of the Missouri River in Nebraska, 1901.
The Filson Historical Society

The May 30, 1901, edition of the Sioux City Tribune carried a poem by Will Reed Dunroy in honor of Charles Floyd and his monument. (45)

He sleeps beneath the stately shaft
    Beside the winding river,
Where prairie grasses clothe the sod
    And stunted willows quiver;
The waters murmur as they flow
In a requiem, softly, faintly low,
    And the west winds sigh and shiver.

No word can reach his earth-stopt ears
    However loudly spoken;
To words of praise, to words of blame
    His dust can give no token;
He holds his vigil on the hill,
In endless quiet, deep and still,
    In dignity unbroken.

Above his solemn resting place
    The meadowlarks are singing;
Around the stately obelisk
    The butterflies are winging;
With reverence and peace draw near
The grave of the sleeping pioneer
    While paeans of praise are ringing.

His restless feet have turned to dust,
    His wanderings are ended;
But still his spirit bides with us
    With courage high and splendid;
His strong example paved the way
For all the triumphs of today-
    His hopes on us descended.

He sleeps beneath the stately shaft
    Enwrapped in solemn glory;
Eternal hills lift up their heads
    About him, old and hoary;
And like a finger, pointing high,
The shaft lifts upward to the sky
    And tells its deathless story.


1. This paper is based on the article "Monument to a 'Young Man of Much Merit,'" by James J. Holmberg, that appeared in the August 1996 issue of the Lewis and Clark Trail Heritage Foundation magazine We Proceeded On (vol. 22 no. 3). It has been expanded from the original article to include information on Floyd's life. The footnotes have been retained and revised as appropriate.; James J. Holmberg, ed., Dear Brother: Letters of William Clark to Jonathan Clark (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2002), pp. 75-76; George H. Yater, "Nine Young Men From Kentucky," in Nine Young Men From Kentucky by Yater and Carolyn Denton (Great Falls, Mont.: Lewis and Clark Trail Heritage Foundation, 1992), pp. 4-6.

2. Donald Jackson, ed. Letters of the Lewis and Clark Expedition 2 vols., second edition (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1978), 1:366.

3. James C. Mordy, "The Paternity of Sgt. Charles Floyd of the Lewis and Clark Expedition and the Children of Robert Clark Floyd (1752-1807) and Charles Floyd (1760-1828)," unpublished manuscript, pp. 3, 13-18, 28-29; John Kleber, ed. "John Floyd," The Kentucky Encyclopedia (Lexington: Univeristy Press of Kentucky, 1992), p. 330; Yater, pp. 4-5. Floyd family descendant Anna Margaret Cartlidge researched and wrote an unpublished manuscript in 1966 entitled "Children and Grandchildren of William and Abadiah (Davis) Floyd." Mordy (also a Floyd family descendant) used it as a major source for his paper. The documentation cited by Cartlidge, Mordy, and other historians in recent years clearly establish Charles Floyd's father to be Robert and not Charles Floyd (who is actually his uncle) as is generally cited in Lewis and Clark histories. Other speculation has centered on whether the Clarks and Floyds were related, since Robert bore the middle name of Clark. No familial connection has been determined but both lived in Albemarle County, Virginia, at the same time. It is quite possible that the families were neighbors and friends. At the very least they would have known each other. Both Robert Floyd and George Rogers Clark were born in Albemarle in 1752. Perhaps Robert received his middle name as a mark of friendship between the families.

4. Mordy, pp. 3, 13; Yater, pp. 4-5.

5. Mordy, p. 3. Charles Floyd's contract paid $600 annually. This was $50 more than the standard contract due to the hardship and danger of the route.

6. Jackson, 1:110-13, 117-18, 2:378; Mordy, p. 3; Yater, pp. 3-6; James J. Holmberg, "Kentucky and the Lewis & Clark Expedition," Lewis & Clark - Corps of Discovery, 1803-1806 (Clay City, Ky.: Back Home in Kentucky, 2003), pp. 8, 10-14.

7. Gary E. Moulton, ed. The Journals of the Lewis & Clark Expedition, 13 vols. (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1983-2001), 2:188-89.

8. Moulton, 9:373.

9. Moulton, 9:373-96. Floyd's entire journal is edited in volume nine of the Moulton edition of the expedition journals. Forthcoming from the University of Oklahoma Press (fall 2004) is a facsimile edition of Floyd's journal, edited by James Holmberg.

10. Moulton, 2:429, 492, 496; David J. Peck, Or Perish in the Attempt: Wilderness Medicine in the Lewis & Clark Expedition (Helena, Mont.: Farcountry Press, 2002), pp. 102-06. Peck discusses Floyd's death and its possible causes, including appendicitus. Other books that discuss Floyd's illness and death are Bruce C. Paton in Lewis & Clark: Doctors in the Wilderness (Golden, Colo.: Fulcrum Publishing, 2001) and Eldon G. Chuinard, Only One Man Died: The Medical Aspects of the Lewis and Clark Expedition (Glendale, Calif.: Arthur H. Clark, 1979).

11. Moulton, 9:32-33, 391. These are the Ordway and Floyd journals, respectively.

12. Moulton, 2:492-93.

13. Moulton, 2:494-95.

14. Moulton, 2:495.

15. Moulton, 9:41, 10:29, 11:58.

16. Moulton, 2:494-96, 9:41, 10:29, 11:58. The party often camped and stopped on the south or west side of the river, so there is nothing unusual about them stopping on that side on the afternoon of August 20. Also, Ordway, in his journal, consistently refers to the S.S. (south side) and N.S. (north side) of the river. He does not appear to use S. to refer to starboard or right side as does Lewis and Clark often. Therefore, if Ordway is interpreted correctly, Floyd actually died on the Nebraska side and was buried about one mile (according to Gass) upstream on the Iowa side inside the present city limits of Sioux City, Woodbury Co.

17. Elliott Coues, Report of the Floyd Memorial Association (Sioux City, Iowa: Floyd Memorial Association, 1897), pp. 14-16; George D. Perkins, et. al. Second Report of the Floyd Memorial Association (Sioux City, Iowa: Floyd Memorial Association, 1901), p. 103.

18. Moulton, 8:349.

19. Moulton, 8:349-50; Jackson, 2:541-42.

20. Coues, pp. 12-13; George Catlin, Letters and Notes on the Manners, Customs, and Conditions of the North American Indians, vol. 2 (New York: Dover Publications, 1973 reprint), pp. 3-5. The illustration of "Floyd's Grave" is opposite p. 3. While Catlin's prose is rather florid, he still provides a good first hand account of Floyd's grave. The original edition of Catlin's Letters was published in 1841 and went through a number of editions. "Floyd's Grave" is Plate 118 in the original edition.

21. Coues, pp. 13-14; Reuben G. Thwaites, ed., Early Western Travels, 1748-1846, 32 vols. (Cleveland: Arthur H. Clark Company, 1904-1907), 22:278. For a full report of Nicollet's expedition see Senate Document No. 237, 26th Congress, 2nd Session (February 1841) and House Document No. 52, 28th Congress, 2nd Session (January 11, 1845). They were published in 1843 and 1845, respectively. Nicollet also was known as Jean rather than Joseph.

22. Coues, pp. 14-15.

23. Coues, pp. 15-16.

24. Coues, pp. 15-16.

25. Coues, pp. 16-18. Floyd Memorial Association, pp. 90, 103-04; The Sioux City Sunday Journal, 26 November 1950, p. 1. There are a number of contradictions in the accounts of the 1857 rescue. The account of Noah Levering, who initially was involved with the project, appears to be the most reliable. However, he does not mention certain facts and makes some contradictory statements. The bones of the lower body were recovered indicating that Floyd was buried with his head to the river. If the post and upper bones of the body were washed away, why not the skull? Coues surmised in his report that the skull, collarbone, and some rib fragments were gathered later from where they had been scattered down the bluff. Levering states that he gave a piece of the original "coffin" to the Iowa Historical Society. He also states in his 1901 letter that be believes the cedar post washed away in 1857 was not the one erected by the Corps of Discovery, but rather the third one and that it probably was placed there when Nicollet visited in 1839. He thinks Nicollet did not know exactly where the body lay and placed the post at Floyd's feet. Levering is apparently mistaken in believing this. A post at Floyd's feet would seemingly mean that the lower bones of the body rather than the upper ones would have fallen down the bank.

26. James Davie Butler, "The New Found Journal of Charles Floyd, a Sergeant Under Captains Lewis and Clark," Proceedings of the American Antiquarian Society, vol. 9 (April 1894) pp. 229-231; "The Floyd Obelisk," The Nation, vol. 72, no. 1876 (June 13, 1901) pp. 471-72. Lyman C. Draper was the long time Secretary of the State Historical Society of Wisconsin. Thwaites was his successor. Butler had an interest in the trans-Missouri West and by his own account had known Draper for some forty years. Draper "scoured every corner of Kentucky . . . to beg, borrow, buy or steal ancient documents," Butler remembered, but once he had them locked behind the iron door of his fire-proof building he lost interest in them, focusing instead on new collections to acquire. He collected in Kentucky, Tennessee, Virginia, Missouri, and other states for some fifty years, with his most successful period being the 1840s and 1850s. Butler is correct concerning Draper's method of collecting documents, though he perhaps did not outright "steal" papers. He often would "borrow" those documents he could not buy or be given, and then fail to return them. When families sought the return of their family papers he generally avoided them, delayed, or simply did not answer their letters (which is how most families requested their return). Families today still refer to that "pirate" Draper making off with their loaned family papers and refusing to return them. While it is not certain how Draper acquired Floyd's journal there are several possibilities. Reuben T. Durrett, founder of The Filson Club (The Filson Historical Society) and a noted collector himself, theorized that Draper got it from the Floyd family or possibly the William Croghan family, both of the Louisville area, the latter being William Clark's brother-in-law. Butler and Coues apparently subscribed to this theory. Another possibility is that the journal was contained in the papers that Draper borrowed from Jonathan Clark's son Isaac and never returned. The materials being sent to Louisville in the spring of 1805 were sent to Clark's oldest brother Jonathan. They included Clark's famous "Field Notes." If William never retrieved the journal from Jonathan's papers it may have been included in the batch of Jonathan, George Rogers, and William Clark papers that Isaac lent to Draper. The journal's complete provenance might never be known, but the most likely source for Draper was either Dr. John Croghan, Isaac Clark, or perhaps a son of William Clark, either George Rogers Hancock Clark or Jefferson K. Clark.

27. The Nation, 72:471; Coues, pp. 21-22. George Perkins was a board member and officer of the Floyd Memorial Association and publisher of the Journal. It is easily seen therefore why such extensive coverage was given the Association and its activities in the pages of that paper.

28. Coues, pp. 22-24.

29. Coues, pp. 23-24; The Sioux City Journal, August 21, 1895, p. 5; The Sioux City Sunday Journal, section 3, November 26, 1950, p. 1.

30. Coues, pp. 24-32.

31. Coues, pp. 26-27; The Sioux City Journal, August 21, 1895, p. 1.

32. Coues, pp. 27-29. Waltermire was paid $15 for his services in 1895 (Perkins, pp. 95-96). He does not appear again in the financial accounts re: the 1900 and 1901 ceremonies because he was hired by The Sioux City Journal to take photographs. Perkins apparently included the expense as part of the Journal's coverage of the Floyd monument project. No complete set of monument related photographs for the this time period have been located as of yet. When the Journal changed ownership in the early 1970s many of the old records were discarded. Assuming that the newspaper must have had a set of Waltermire's photographs of the monument project, it is possible that they were included in this house cleaning. A query to the Iowa Historical Society met with no success re: such photographs in its collection. It is possible that papers of some of the prominent individuals involved may contain them, and if extant be found under those titles. Therefore, at this time, the photographs in the collections of The Filson Historical Society and Sioux City Public Museum are the only known views of the 1895, 1900, and 1901 activities concerning the Floyd reburial and monument. The Filson has ten photographs regarding the Floyd grave site and monument, and the Sioux City Public Museum nine. The institutions have some of the same views, but there are eleven different views between them. The Journal published six photos (three of which the SCPM does not have, but the Filson does) in its 1950 article. In addition, notes on the back of some of the photos in the SCPM collection (and not in the 1950 article) indicate they have been published. If they actually were and if so in what is not known. It would also seem that additional views than those at these two institutions were taken. The records of the ceremonies state that at least one view was taken for which neither institution has a photo.

33. Coues, pp. 29-53; The Sioux City Journal, August 21, 1895, pp. 1-2, 5. A second urn was acquired because upon preparing the grave site and remaining bones for the ceremony it was discovered that the one intended to hold all the bones was not tall enough to hold the leg bones. The remains reburied were: the skull with lower jaw; right femur, 18" long; a tibia, 15" long; a fibula, 14.75" long; part of the other fibula; one vertebra; one clavicle; and portions of several ribs. The inscription on the urn made by Holman Brothers especially for the remains read: "Sgt Charles Floyd/Died Aug 20th 1804./Reinterred May 28, 1857./Memorial Services August 20, 1895. The marble slab, made by M.C. Carlstrom, was inscribed: Sergeant/CHARLES FLOYD/DIED/Aug. 20. 1804./Remains removed from 600/Feet West and Reburied at/This Place May 28. 1857./This Stone Placed/Aug. 20. 1895. The 1901 report of the Association only mentions discussion about a suitable disposition of the slab. No mention is made of what was done with it. Iowa Historical does not have the marble marker or cast of Floyd's skull in its collection. It seems rather shocking today that the original Floyd journal was placed at risk by allowing Butler to take to Sioux City, but at that time the attitudes regarding this kind of material were different and allowed for such actions. Butler also carried it to the monument dedication in 1901.

34. Coues, pp. 55-56. The records state four grandsons, but actually it was three grandsons and one son. They were his son Jefferson Kearney Clark (1824-1900) of St. Louis and grandsons Col. William Hancock Clark (1839-1922), of Detroit, Col. Meriwether Lewis Clark, Jr. (1846-1899), of Louisville, and Maj. John O'Fallon Clark (1844-1916), of St. Louis. William and M. Lewis were sons of Meriwether Lewis Clark, and John of George Rogers Hancock Clark. By 1899 only William H. Clark was still on the board and he does not appear after that year.

35. Floyd Memorial Association, pp. 13-16.

36. Floyd Memorial Association, pp. 13-16.

37. Floyd Memorial Association, pp. 16-18, 30-36; Hiram M. Chittenden, "Erection of a Monument to Sergeant Charles Floyd," Annual Reports of the War Department: Report of the Chief of Engineers, Appendix JJJ (Washington: Government Printing Office, 1901), pp. 3827-3833. Chittenden had replaced Sanford as superintendent of the Sioux City Corps office in October 1899.

38. Floyd Memorial Association, pp. 30-36; Chittenden, p. 3831. The proportion of the concrete was: 1 part "Atlas" cement, 2.37 parts bank sand from Waterbury, Neb., and 4.37 parts crushed rock from the Sioux Falls granite quarries. Eleven huge vats of water were used in mixing the materials into concrete. The Journal differed slightly regarding a few specifics. It put the work as lasting ten hours and thirty-five minutes, instead of Chittenden's nine hours and fifty minutes; and 143 cubic yards of concrete being used rather than 138.6. Since Chittenden was the director of the project I have generally used his data. At this time it had not yet been decided whether or not to exhume the sergeant's remains yet again and deposit them in the monument.

39. Floyd Memorial Association, pp. 38-46; Chittenden, pp. 3831-32. The Journal reports one urn being used, but two had been used in 1895. It is possible that another urn was made for the occasion, but it is more likely that both the 1895 urns were deposited in the monument. The copper box "time capsule" contained documents and printed works concerning the monument, Association, Lewis and Clark Expedition, Iowa laws, Sioux City, newspapers, U.S. coins and postage stamps, GAR button, and a photograph of Association president Charles. The ceremony ended at 3:15. The cornerstone was laid at the northeast corner of the monument. On the north side was inscribed: "August 20, A.D. 1900, Madison B. Davis, Commander, Department of Iowa, Grand Army of the Republic; and on the east side "H.M. Chittenden, Captain, Corps of Engineers, U.S.A., Engineer and Architect."

40. Floyd Memorial Association, pp. 49-51; Chittenden, pp. 3832. Hansen Brothers of Sioux City had been awarded the contract for erecting the monument and doing the paving around the base. Hermann & Savage of Sioux City received the contract for the steel fence that was to surround the monument. The two bronze tablets to be set in the monument were manufactured by the Gorham Manufacturing Company of New York. One tablet was for Floyd and the shaft, and the other commemorated the Louisiana Purchase and the Lewis and Clark Expedition.

41. Chittenden, pp. 687, 3829-30, 3832-33. The steel fence was seven and one-half feet high. The vertical bars were one inch square, bent outward at the top and sharpened. By May 30 only a little paving around the monument remained to be done.

42. Floyd Memorial Association, pp. 55-81; The Sioux City Journal, May 30, 1901, pp. 1, 6-7 and May 31, 1901, pp. 1, 6-7. Coues had died on Christmas Day 1899. The length of Kasson's speech was quite common for the day and would have been expected by his audience, especially regarding such an occasion.

43. Floyd Memorial Association, pp. 81-85; The Sioux City Journal, May 31, 1901, p. 6.

44. Chittenden, p. 3833.

45. Floyd Memorial Association, p. 93. This poem appeared in the May 30, 1901, edition of The Sioux City Tribune, together with an editorial regarding the monument.

About us   |   Contact us   |   Get involved   |   Credits

Falls of the Ohio Ohio River Locust Grove Ohio River Mulberry Hill