Ann Floyd

I wish I knew more about Ann Floyd. A young women who died 169 years ago.

She was one of my “serendipity” discoveries. Someone I found while looking for somebody else.
Unfortunately I discovered her at the end of her life while I was transcribing George G. Rice’s diary.

Reverend George G. Rice’s Diary, December 26, 1854:
Sudden death. Today Miss Ann Floyd was riding on horseback while passing through the town. She fainted and fell from her horse and was taken up a lifeless corpse. Last night she was in the ballroom, buoyant and gay (as I am told). Today the spirit has fled.

The Council Bluffs Chronotype, December 27, 1854:
Lamentable Occurrence. An accident of a painful nature occurred in this city, on yesterday afternoon, which has cast a gloom over our place, and adds a confirming proof to the venerable axiom, that “in the midst of life, we are in death.” While enjoying a horseback excursion, with several other ladies, Miss Ann Floyd fell from her horse, and was instantly killed. Whether she was killed by the fall, or dropped dead from the horse, we are unable to learn.
The funeral service will take place to-morrow (Thursday) at 1 o’clock, at the M. E. Church. The friends and relatives of the deceased, and the family of Mr. Mitchell, are respectfully requested to be present.

Reverend George G. Rice’s Diary, December 28, 1854:
Today Miss Floyd’s remains were consigned to the grave. I am told she was attired in her ballroom dress with all her gay ornaments. Probably the design of it was to divert the attention from the sad scene, but it must have been a sad spectacle to see a corpse attired as for a ball and should deeply impress us with the vanity of earthly pleasures. Tonight the Mormons have a ball. From the ballroom to the grave and from the grave to the ballroom.

The following week there was a description of a Young People’s Ball in the Chronotype:
We looked in upon this party, at the Atlantic House, on Monday evening last and found there one of the most brilliant congregations of youth, beauty, and gay dancers, that we have seen for many a day. At an early hour they began to assemble in the dancing hall, and the inspiring strains of music, by Messrs. Russel & Orton, soon put quicksilver into the heels of the company, and the beautiful winding of the figures of the mazy dance, gave us the idea of a huge bed of animated tulips, and the bright, bewitching smiles of the ladies, reminded us that we had better “Shun danger and fly” which we accordingly done, and altho’ we do not claim to possess the cap of invisibility, we flatter ourselves, that we walked through the brilliant crowd, entirely unsuspected of any design of reproducing in dull ink, even a shadow of the fairy-like scene — therefore we won’t undertake it.

When I searched for Ann Floyd in Ancestry I discovered the Mr. Mitchell who was mentioned in her death notice. The information in Ancestry stated that Ann was born around 1833 in Halifax, Nova Scotia and she was the adoptive daughter of James and Eliza Mitchell. How Ann arrived in Council Bluffs or how she came to be adopted by James and Eliza I’ll never know.

James and Eliza Mitchell came to Council Bluffs in the early 1850s, by 1854 they had moved to Nebraska Territory where they helped found the town of Florence.

I ran across Ann again while doing research for another project.

Daily Nonpareil November 28, 1883:
Ghastly Spectacles. Human Bones Being Removed and Allowed to Remain Exposed to View at the Ancient Grave Yard on Pierce Street – A Disgrace to the City. Several days ago mention was made in these columns of the exhuming of several coffins, containing the bones of human beings, the same having been found by workmen engaged in excavating at the bluffs near Pierce street between First and Second streets at the old M. E. graveyard. … The bluff now being excavated on Pierce street was used as a graveyard from 1854 to about 1865. A small M. E. church stood on the hill-side. In 1866 the ground was sold to John Hammer and several other citizens, and the grave-yard was virtually abandoned. Some fifteen or twenty persons were interred in the same. Among these were the bodies of Miss Ann Floyd, who fell from a horse and broke her neck on New Years day, 1855, while riding up Broadway, and also that of Mrs. Milton, a highly esteemed lady who died in 1862. The remains of Miss Floyd were removed to Florence, Neb., a few years after her death.

One last mention of Ann Floyd was found in the History of Pottawattamie County, Iowa by Field & Reed, 1907:
The winter of 1854-55 was a remarkably mild one, much of the time like Indian Summer, so much so that on Christmas a party of young people were starting out from the Robinson House for a horseback ride, when it came to a sad end by one of the young ladies being thrown from her horse, which resulted in her death in a few hours. Years afterward, old timers, in speaking of the mild winters, would refer to this as the Ann Floyd winter, that being the name of the lady.

As you can see the facts of the story have changed over time. Perhaps it was her youth, but Ann Floyd possessed something that caused her to be remembered more that 50 years after her death.