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County’s Elisha Floyd, early Houston Hotel Proprietor

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In the spring of 1837, Tennessean Elisha Floyd along with his elder brother, William, arrived in the newly founded city of Houston.

Elisha, who later became an early Grimes County settler, quickly joined up with another early Texan, Thomas Scott, to purchase the only hotel/tavern in the new Houston. On June 8, 1837, Elisha Floyd and Thomas Scott paid $25,000 to Major Ben Fort Smith of the county of Harrisburg in the Republic of Texas on the first part and Thomas Scott and Elisha Floyd of the County and Republic aforesaid of the second part.

According to that deed, the structure was still under construction and the buyers were obligated to finish the hotel/ tavern. Three promissory notes, payable to Smith for $8,333 and 1/3 cents payable on the succeeding January firsts would convey property ownership. The deed described collateral as several slaves.

The property is described as “lots numbered four and five in block numbered sixteen according to the original survey of said town as made by Messrs. G. H. Borden and described in Deeds made by (Houston founders) Messrs. A. C. & J. K. Allen.” Today, that is at the corner of Franklin and Travis.

Within three months, Elisha Floyd became the sole owner as the partnership was ‘dissolved’, with Floyd “undertaking to perform all of Thomas Scott’s part of the purchase contract.”

The following spring, on April 14, 1838, the San Jacinto Ball was held at the Floyd Hotel commemorating the Battle of San Jacinto. Those attending included prominent General Mirabeau B. Lamar, Lorenzo de Zavala, F. R. Lubbock, General T. J. Rush, J. Temple Doswell, H. P. Bee as well as P. Halpin and J. W. Cruger, the latter being the new owner of Gail Borden’s Telegraph newspaper. Several ads are found in the 1838 issues of the Telegraph newspaper referring to the Floyd Hotel.

But a year later, in 1839, Elisha and his older brother, William Floyd, were driving wagons northwest out of Houston to relocate. William died enroute from causes unknown to be apparently buried along the route. Elisha, along with William’s widow and their three sons continued to what then was known as the Alta Mira community.

William’s widow, Joyce Violet Bostic, married Joshua Hadley in Anderson, and they had three sons before his death in 1845. She then married Samuel McGuffin before her death in 1855.

Elisha became a respected citizen of Anderson and Grimes County. He served as the County’s Tax Assessor-Collector from 1850 to 1852. (Early Texan W. P. Zuber respected Elisha without fault to serve as his agent for family matters when Zuber was away serving the Confederacy.)

Elisha married Emmeline Banks in late December 1839 to father two sons and a daughter before her death in 1850. He then married Rhoda Ann McCleney in April 1852. Nine children were born in this marriage.

Today, the Floyd brothers have many descendants living in the Grimes County region.

Over time, Houston’s Floyd Hotel became known as the City Hotel. A recent City Hotel history, well researched and documented, was published by wordpress. com, whatarestreetsfor. It stated that another partnership had acquired the City Hotel and was operating it in April of 1839. That coincides with the Floyd’s trek that became Anderson. The City Hotel stood until 1855 when, it was said to have “fallen in from age and decay.”

(Written by Betty Dunn, Two Rivers Heritage Foundation. Visit www.tworiversheritagefoundation.org for more information or to become a member).