Civil War Union Brevet Brigadier General. DeLancey Floyd-Jones was born on January 20, 1826, the fourth son of Major General Henry O. Floyd-Jones of the prominent South Oyster Bay family. As a young man of fifteen, he entered the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, graduating in 1846 in a class that contained such military luminaries as George B. McClellan, Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson, A.P. Hill, and George S. Pickett. During his long army career, Floyd-Jones fought gallantly in two wars, as well as protecting the borders of the American frontier from the Atlantic to the Pacific coasts and everything inbetween. At the outbreak of the Mexican War, Floyd-Jones was brevetted to the rank of Second Lieutenant in the 7th Infantry, and fought in the Siege of Vera Cruz, the battles of Cerro Gordo and Molino Del Rey, after which he was brevetted First Lieutenant, and participated in the assault and capture of Mexico City. Soon after the army was established there, he helped found The Aztec Club of 1847, an early "networking" organization for veterans, whose distinguished membership grew to include many Congressmen and three presidents. Returning to the United States in 1848, he was assigned to the 4th Infantry, acting as an aide-de-camp in a Mississippi garrison and as an aide to General Hugh Brady in Detroit, Michigan, then moved to recruiting service in 1851. In 1852 he married Laura Jane Whitney, daughter of a prominent Rochester, New York, lawyer, two weeks before he was shipped out to the frontier for duty in California. Tragically she died less than six months after their marriage while he was still away. The 4th Infantry, whose ranks included fledgling officers U. S. Grant and Phil Sheridan, was scattered between the newly established forts in the undeveloped Northwest Territory. From 1852 through 1855, Floyd-Jones scouted along Indian trails in Oregon and Washington Territory, and traveled by river and pack mule to help find passage for future travelers to those remote outposts of civilization. In 1854, he was promoted to Captain. After 1856 he was involved in various actions against small Indian uprisings, most notably the Rogue River wars in Oregon Territory. In the late 1850s through 1861, Floyd-Jones returned to recruitment service in Kansas, Philadelphia, and New York, as well as working in Washington, D. C. as an advocate for soldier's rights, before returning to the Northwest and participating in the government's Oregon Recruit Expedition, which supervised the construction of a military road from the Midwest to the Pacific through the Rocky Mountains. Recalled back east for service during the Civil War, he was promoted to Major, and assigned to the 11th Infantry, 2nd Brigade, 2nd Division, Fifth Corps. of the Army of the Potomac, to assist in training the raw recruits in tactics and regulations. Finally, in 1862, he joined in the fighting, commanding his battalion in all the major Virginia and northern Peninsula area campaigns, including the Siege of Yorktown, and the battles of Mechanicsville, Second Bull Run, Antietam, Chancellorsville, and Gettysburg. Floyd-Jones was brevetted Lieutenant Colonel for meritorious service in the Peninsular Campaign in Virginia, and brevetted Colonel after Gettysburg, after which time he was assigned as Lieutenant Colonel, 19th Infantry, in command of the fortifications of Fort Independence, Massachusetts, and Boston Harbor, where he remained for the duration of the war. He was brevetted Brigadier-General on March 13, 1865. After 1865, Floyd-Jones became the "go-to guy" for the Army, commanding barracks in Michigan and Kentucky, acting as Asst. Inspector-General and Judge Advocate in Arkansas, and again employing his free time in advocating for soldier's rights. He was promoted to Colonel and assigned to the 6th Infantry in 1867 as commander of Fort Gibson, Indian Territory, transferring in 1869 to act as Superintendent of Indian Affairs in Idaho Territory. In 1871 he was assigned to the 3rd Infantry, in which he remained for the rest of his army career, commanding regiments in the many and varied forts that were scattered across the plains during the settling of the western frontier. Throughout his time with the 3rd Infantry, he was stationed in Kansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Montana, and in addition to military skill, received much praise for his improvement and promotion of the regiment's army orchestra. In 1878, he married Minnie Oglesby, a "belle" of New Orleans thirty years younger than himself, and retired from the army a year later, after thirty-three distinguished years of service. Floyd-Jones traveled around the world many times, during leaves from the army and after his retirement in 1879. He documented these journeys in letters home, and frequently had his observations and descriptions of these faraway places published in local Long Island, New York newspapers such as The South Side Signal and The Hempstead Inquirer. He also published a well-reviewed book about his travels to India, China, and Japan in the late 1880s, entitled "Letters From The Far East." His writing exhibits an unabashed enthusiasm for exploration, whether he was sailing up the Nile or down the Danube, watching reindeer frolic in the Midnight Sun (which, he noted, looked exactly the same to him at 11:50 p.m. and 12:10 a.m.), or enjoying a glass of brew in a biergarten in Prussia. No matter the destination, he sought out and met with a variety of inhabitants from emperors and kings (while in London in 1890, he was presented to the Prince of Wales by Robert T. Lincoln) to tradesmen and fishwives. After retirement, he became more involved in the many social and military organizations he had joined over the years. In 1885, he was elected treasurer of The Aztec Club of 1847; in 1892 he presented the club with a silver centerpiece manufactured by Tiffany's representing an ancient Aztec Teocali. The centerpiece is still used at their annual meetings to this day. In 1894 he was elected vice president of the club, and succeeded to the presidency the following year, while also remaining treasurer. He was also an active member of the South Side Sportsman's Club, The St. Nicholas Society, the Loyal Legion of the United States, and was a lifetime member of the Sons of the Revolution. In 1892, he was one of eight table hosts at a New Year's dinner hosted by Mrs. Astor at Madison Square Garden. In 1896, on land purchased from his nephew-in-law Coleman Williams, Floyd-Jones erected the DeLancey Floyd-Jones Free Library, the first public library in the Massapequas, which is maintained by an endowment from the giver and additional State aid. Along with the Old Grace Church and Floyd-Jones Servant Cottage, the library was added to the Registrar of Historic Places in 1983 and given Town of Oyster Bay Landmark status in 1999. The small, homey library still services the community to this day, and contains a valuable collection of 19th Century literature and historical reference books, several of which were written by Floyd-Jones family members, and many contributed from Floyd-Jones's own collection. Colonel DeLancey Floyd-Jones died of heart failure and pneumonia at the Park Avenue Hotel in New York City the day before his 76th birthday, January 19th, 1902.
Bio by: Jody Revenson