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“Nearly 150 years ago, a woman named Mary Faith Floyd wrote a story that spans Savannah, GA, New York, Blount County, TN—and the area of town in Clinton, TN, known as Eagle Bend. It was published in serial form in a newspaper, and then …Lost. Until now.
Mary Faith Floyd’s writing style is lavish “but very readable.” The writing brings to mind novels by Anthony Trollope and even Thomas Hardy in its description of the natural world and human interactions.”
– Crystal Huskey, the Clinton Courier-News, May, 2019
It’s not just any story, and she was not just any woman–and yes, her middle name was Defiance. A granddaughter of General John Floyd, a brigadier general in the Georgia Militia during the War of 1812, Mary Faith Floyd was a twice-married progressive and suffragist who wrote under her maiden name. Writing book reviews, poems, essays and her first novel, The Nereid, from her home in Milledgeville, GA during Reconstruction, her essay about equal pay for women was published in southern newspapers in 1873, and later, her essay about child abuse appeared in her own literary journal in Knoxville, TN in 1885.
A Woman Named Defiance is an anthology of some of Mary Faith Floyd’s poetry, essays, short stories, and her second book, Eagle Bend, a fiction novel that celebrates the raw nobility of 19th century life in southern Appalachia, the culture and norms of Savannah society, and the hopes and aspirations of Floyd’s protagonist, Minona Dearing, a young woman seeking to become a published author in Savannah, New York, and Boston in the years immediately following the Reconstruction period.
Mary Faith Floyd’s daughter, Laura McAdoo Gagey became a noted Parisian solonierre, hosting salons about the role of women and blacks in the southern U.S. and tragically helping novelist Anatole France while he wrote The Gods Will Have Blood. Floyd’s son, William Gibbs McAdoo, Jr. became U.S. Treasury Secretary and ran for president in 1920 and 1924. Her husband, William Gibbs McAdoo, was a professor at the University of Tennessee.
Storyhaus Media’s Douglas McDaniel searched for 14 years for Floyd’s long lost novel, Eagle Bend, before finding it on microfilm at the University of Georgia Library in Athens in January, 2019. It was first published as a twelve-part serial in the Savannah Morning News in 1883.