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“…prominent in his devotion to the cause of human freedom…” An Appreciation of James Floy

On November 16, 1863 a memorial service was held for the Reverend James Floy, D.D. at the Seventh Street M.E. Church in New York City. In the Mather Homestead attic are two copies of this memorial which include addresses by four leading Methodist ministers of the time. In the addresses and in the introduction to the book, Dr. Floy’s devotion to the cause of human freedom is highlighted.

James Floy was the grandfather of Jane Thacker Floy, the wife of Stephen T. Mather. Jane was named for her grandmother, Jane Thacker, who married James Floy on April 27, 1829.

He was firmly against slavery and was suspended by the Methodist Conference in 1838 for his outspoken stance. The final speaker at the memorial noted, “he identified himself with a great question of humanity and reform at a time when it was very unpopular to do so, and that he never seceded from the position he then took.”

Floy rose to prominence in the Conference. His last appointment was to the Beekman Hill Methodist Church on 50thStreet in New York City. He is also noted for his literary contributions, including the posthumously published Old Testament Characters Delineated and Illustrated and earlier for Harry Budd, Or the History of An Orphan Boy, a juvenile title used in Sunday Schools.

James Floy and Jane Thacker had four children, two of whom died in infancy. Jane Floy Mather’s father, James Floy Jr. was born in 1833. In the 1855 NYS Census, both James and Jane are shown aged 49. The household includes a “niece” Emma J. Yates, aged 20. Following Jane’s death in 1859, Rev. Floy married Emma Yates in November 1860. Emma died on 20 August 1863, two days after giving birth to a daughter, Effie. Effie died 17 September of that year. Less than a month later, on 14 October, 1863, the Rev. Floy died of a cerebral hemorrhage.

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