Historical Marker #817 in Prestonsburg remembers the life of Captain John Floyd, for whom Floyd County is named.
Floyd County, located in the eastern part of the state, was the fortieth county established. Named for John Floyd, a Virginia surveyor and military figure, the county was named in December 1799, but not formally established until the summer of 1800. It was created from portions of Fleming, Montgomery, and Mason counties.
Floyd, born in 1750 in Amherst, Virginia, led a group of explorers to Kentucky in 1774 to study the terrain and survey land claims. At this time Kentucky was still part of Virginia. Many veterans from the Revolutionary War were awarded land claims in Kentucky for their service. After he moved to Kentucky, the surveyor founded Floyd's Station in Jefferson County. Floyd was mortally wounded in a Native American attack in 1783. From 1806 to 1884, all or parts of fifteen other Kentucky counties were formed from Floyd's original tract of land.
During the Civil War, the Floyd County seat, Prestonsburg, changed hands a number of times. Floyd County was the site of two Union victories. The Battle of Ivy Mountain fought in November 1861, and the Battle of Middle Creek fought in January 1862, in which future president James Garfield defeated Confederate General Humphrey Marshall.