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Floyd County and Floydada, Texas

23 Jun

There are 254 counties in Texas and 11 of them are named for Alamo defenders: Bailey, Bowie, Cochran, Cottle, Crockett, Dickens, Floyd, King, Lynn, Taylor and Travis counties.  Floyd County is one such county.  It was named for Dolphin Ward Floyd who is believed to have died on his birthday, March 6, 1836, in Santa Anna’s attack on the Alamo.  Ward Floyd was born in North Carolina in 1804 and later moved near Gonzales where he worked as a farmer.  In 1832, he married the recently widowed Esther Berry House, a mother of three by her first husband Isaac House, who also lived in Texas.

Ward and Esther had one son, John Washington Floyd, and Esther was very pregnant with their only daughter, Elizabeth Whitfield Floyd born in April, 1836, when Ward left with others from the Gonzales militia to defend to the Alamo.  They arrived about March 1, 1836.  We know that except for a handful of women, children and one slave named Joe, all of the individuals there were killed in the siege and  battle that followed

In the weeks following the fall of the Alamo and Presidio La Bahia in Goliad, area residents were uneasy and many of them fled the expected invasion by Santa Anna’s troops.  Floyd’s wife and children were leaving the area when a wagon accident occurred in which Esther and the children were flung into the Brazos River during an attempted crossing.  The newly born Elizabeth also fell into the river but was saved.  She survived the incident and grew up, later to marry William Kilpatrick Hargis.  However, Elizabeth died in childbirth at about age 18, along with the infant which would have been their first child.  Her brother John Washington Floyd was only two years old when his father died, but he would go on to marry and have a large family, carrying on the Floyd family name.  Ward Floyd’s wife Esther married a third time to John C. Clark and lived the remainder of her life in the Gonzales area.

Floyd County sits between Matador to the east and Plainview to the west and is located near the southern end of the Texas Panhandle.  It was created in 1876 and is home to Floydada, Lockney and Dougherty along with several smaller communities.

With regard to the naming of Floydada, the county seat, it seems that you can take your pick of at least three stories.  The town was originally named Floyd City and the land for it consisted of 640 acres donated by James B. and Carolyn Price of Missouri.  One story is that a request was made to Washington that it be named Floydalia but that a mixup there resulted in the name Floydada being approved.  A second story is that the name is a combination of the county name and and Ada, James C. Price’s mother.  A final story is that the name was a combination of Carolyn Price’s parents names, her father Floyd and her mother, also named Ada.

The area was long ago inhabited by the Apache and Comanche Indians before the Anglo settlement took hold.  Nearby natural landmarks include Quitaque Peaks and Blanco Canyon.  It includes the site of a major camp of the ill-fated Santa Fe Expedition.  From time to time, some of its ranch land has been owned by Charles Goodnight and the Matador Ranch.  Its economy is derived from farming, oil and cattle production and more recently, wind energy.

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