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Iowa History Daily: August 20 - T

Iowa History Daily: On August 20, 1804, Sergeant Charles Floyd of the far-famed Lewis & Clark Expedition died in Iowa. The only member of the Corps of Discovery to perish in the attempt to reach the Pacific, Floyd finds remembrance in the Sergeant Floyd Monument (US National Historic Landmark) in Sioux City.

Born during 1872 in Kentucky, Floyd found relation to Virginia Governor John Floyd and even possibly William Clark. Floyd, a non-commissioned officer in the United States Army served as quartermaster as the Corps of Discovery left St. Louis in May of 1804.

Ascending the Missouri River in a keelboat and two pirogues, around forty men under the direction of Merriweather Lewis struck out on a mission to gather intelligence about the Louisiana Purchase. Over the early summer the expedition slowly made their way past the future sites of Kansas City, Missouri, and Omaha, Nebraska.

During late July Floyd took ill. On the 31st he wrote in his journal: “I am very sick and have been for sometime but have recovered my health again.” The short-lived recovery of the quartermaster did not last, and he died on August 20 of an apparent appendix rupture. Although no doctor accompanied the expedition, there was no known cure for appendicitis in 1804.

The Corps of Discovery buried Floyd on a Bluff named in his honor overlooking the Missouri, which today stands within the city limits of Sioux City. In 1857 the grave site became partially exposed due to erosion, and locals reburied the Sergeant at a different location on the bluff. The remains moved again in 1895, and yet once more to the foot of the 100-foot tall sandstone obelisk built to honor him in 1901. #IowaHistoryDaily #IowaOTD #IowaHistoryCalendar


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