By | Aug 20, 2012

In the early afternoon hours of August 20, 1804 Charles Floyd died. His death wasn’t lost in history though since he was a member of the Lewis and Clark Expedition and was the only member to die.

In his journals Lewis wrote that, “We buried him on the top of the bluff Mile below a Small river to which we Gave his name, he was buried with the Honors of War, much lamented.” His grave was marked with a cedar post with the inscription “Sergt. C. Floyd died here 20th of August 1804.” The location of his burial spot was called Floyd’s Bluff.

Charles Floyd was one of the first men to join the expedition. He was a was a cousin of another expedition member, Sergeant Nathaniel Pryor, and may also have been related to William Clark. He served as the expedition’s quartermaster.

Towards the end of July 1804, Floyd became sick. After a brief recovery he fell ill again. It’s a common conclusion that he probably died of a rupture Appendix. If this was the cause, even if he had not been on the expedition he would have died since there was no known medical cure for a ruptured Appendix at that time.

The 92 mile Floyd River located in northwestern Iowa and flows into the Missouri River near Sioux City, Iowa is named after Charles Floyd.

Today there is a 100-foot obelisk that commemorates the place of Floyd’s burial. It was dedicated on May 30, 1901. The Floyd Monument is located within a 23 acre park with the remains of Charles Floyd lying in rest nearby.


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