Early life


Victoria California Claflin was born on September 23, 1838 in the rural town of Homer, Ohio to Reuben “Buck” Buckman Claflin and his wife Roxanna “Anna” Hummel Claflin. She was the sixth of ten children, seven of whom survived infancy. Woodhull’s younger sister, Tennessee Celeste Claflin, was also born in Homer. Tennessee joined Victoria in New York City in 1868 where the two stepped onto the world’s stage.

Read more about these key topics during Victoria's early life...


The family business

A New political scene


Cast of Characters


Rueben Buckman Claflin
(born 1796-19 Nov 1885)

Roxanna "Anna" (Hummel) Claflin
(born about 1804-10 June 1889)

Victoria's Spouses

Canning Woodhull
(born 1828-7 April 1872)

Colonel James H. Blood
(29 December 1833-29 December 1885)


Byron Woodhull
(31 December 1854-17 January 1932)

Zulu (Zula) Maud Woodhull
(28 April 1861-12 September 1940)

Tennessee's First Marriage

John James Bartle (Bortle)
(born 1839-22 June 1899)



Margaret Ann (Claflin) (Miles) O’Halloran
(2 February 1827-11 May 1904)

Delia Claflin
(1829-died infancy)

Hester Ann Claflin
(died infancy)

Mary (Claflin) (Burns) Sparr
(6 January 1831-16 March 1924)

Malden Claflin
(1832-December 1864)

Hebern Claflin
(27 August 1835-26 April 1917)

Victoria California (Claflin) Woodhull (Blood) Martin
(23 September 1838-9 June 1927) 

Utica Vantitia Claflin (Kelley) (Brooker)
(born about 1842-9 July 1873)

Tennessee Celeste Claflin (Bartle) (Greene) Cook
(26 October 1845-18 January 1923)

Odessa Maldiva Claflin
(1849-died shortly after 12 October 1850)

Early Life Timeline 1838-1868

23 September 1838

Victoria California Claflin was born in Homer, Ohio.

1 October 1838

Buck Claflin purchased a 1/4 acre part of lot #37 from Crandall Rosecrans in Homer, Ohio, for $50. [Licking County Deeds GG:285]. The property was the site of the family home.

13 January 1839

Buck Claflin mortgaged his home lot for $25 to Nathan B. Seymour [Licking County Deeds GG:286].

1 June 1840

US Federal Census of Homer, Burlington Township, Licking County, Ohio. Buck is listed by name as the head of the household, but in 1840 the census only listed the rest of the family in terms of age and gender.  Knowing this, it fits that the following lived there: Buck, Anna, Margaret, Mary, Victoria, Malden, and Hebern. Enumerated in the household are a male and female aged 15-19 who may be Buck's recently married brother Amos and his wife. It is known from later documents that Amos and Ruth Claflin lived in Buck's Homer home, and that two of their children were born there (Helen in 1841 and Thankful in 1844). [Letter from Thankful Claflin to Zula M. Woodhull, Victoria Woodhull Martin Papers, Southern Illinois University Special Collections (hereafter VWM-SIU), Box 3 folder 20; also Correspondence with neighbor of Thankful Claflin, 1927. Emanie (Nahm) Sachs Airling Philips Papers, Western Kentucky University, MSS 317 (hereafter Sachs WKU), Box 5, Folder ].

17 December 1840

An execution was levied against Buck by Crandall Wilcox for an unpaid debt. The court attached personal property and advertised it for auction on 24 April 1841, the sale was held 26 June 1841, but the property (four horses, harness, and a wagon) were not sold for want of bidders. [Execution Dockets, Licking County Records and Archives (hereafter LCR&A), Case 124, E:122; and Newark (Ohio) Advocate 24 April 1841.] The execution may be related to the mortgage Wilcox held on Buck’s gristmill property [see Licking County Deeds, 62:448.]

30 January 1841-31 December 1841

An execution was levied against Buck by Nathan Seymour and Stan Baldwin for an unpaid debt, including interest of $129.48 through 5 November 1840. The sheriff reported that no goods or chattels, lands or tenements were found to levy. The sheriff made another unsuccessful attempt to collect on 31 December 1841 [Execution Dockets, LCR&A, Case 293, E:163 and Case 120, E:223]. Nathan Seymour held the mortgage on Buck’s home [Deeds GG:286 and 66:177] dating from January 1839.

4 March 1841 - 4 April 1841

Whig William Henry Harrison sworn in as President, becomes ill at inauguration and dies a month later. He was replaced by Whig John Tyler.

Between 1841 and 1843

Utica Vantitia Claflin was born in Homer, Ohio. Like her younger sister, Tennessee, there is no vital record giving her actual date of birth. Wight simply says "1843." Her 1873 death certificate recorded her age as 31, or a birth year of 1842; the 1850 census gave her age as 9, or 1841; and the 1860 census gave her age as 17, or 1843. 

4-5 August 1843

On the 4th, Buck mortgaged his sawmill property to Henry B. Curtis for $1200 [Licking County Deeds NN:490]. On the 5th, the same property was transferred to Buck with his payment of $3300 to Crandall Wilcox and his wife [Licking County Deeds 62:448]. Presumably the money he received from Curtis enabled him to meet the purchase price of the property.

16 May 1844

Buck took out a further mortgage on the sawmill from Henry B. Curtis in the amount of $750 [Licking County Deeds OO:404].

4 July 1844

Margaret Claflin married Enos Miles in Newark, Licking County, Ohio. [Charles Henry Wight, The Genealogy of the Claflin Family, New York: Press of William Green, 1903, p. 255. Hereafter Wight.] Miles was the son of one of the pioneer founders of Chesterville, Ohio, and a businessman in Mt. Gilead. 

1 July 1844-18 October 1845

Buck served as postmaster of Homer, Licking County, Ohio. He was preceded and succeeded in the post by Charles M. Condict, and filed no returns. [Register of all Officers and Agents, Civil, Military, and Naval, in the Service of the United States on the Thirtieth September 1845, US Department of State, Washington, J. & G.S. Gideon, Printers, 1845].

August-September 1844

Buck brought suit against his neighbor Charles M. Condict for trespass, with damages of $5000. The summons was issued on 16 August. In September 1845 the judgment was settled against the defendant for costs, with the fieri fascias issued 16 February 1846 [LCR&A Common Pleas, Case 43, 1843-45:45].

4 March 1845

Democrat James K. Polk sworn in as President.

October 1845

Tennessee Celeste Claflin was born [Wight, p. 125]. Tennessee was unclear as to the actual date. Incoming passenger lists from Ellis Island record the date variously as she reported it to them.

9 December 1845

Buck took out a third mortgage on the mill property from Henry B. Curtis in the amount of $1650 [Licking County Deeds TT:113].

Spring Term 1847-March Term 1848

Buck brought suit and was sued by T. Richmond, Benjamin Quick, John Stonely, and Charles M. Condict in separate cases. Judgments of execution were levied in all the cases, and in all but one of the cases against Buck, no property was found to levy. [Execution Dockets, LCR&A H:49, H:52, H:53, H:87, H:101, H:108, H:127, H:165, H:210, H:216, H:222; 1850:5, 1850:226, 1850:268, 1850:274, 1850:285]. John Stonely [H:127, H:165] did manage to collect from Buck on 23 November 1853, when the case was transferred to Cuhahoga County. Buck’s case against Charles M. Condict was settled at the cost of the defendant, but Buck was unable to collect due to no property being found [Execution Dockets, LCR&A 1850:185, 1850:226].

January 1849

Licking County, OH court documents record that Buck was indicted for petit larceny on 13 October 1848 for the a January 1846 incident in which he was accused that “with force of arms at the Twp of Burlington… one man’s saddle of the value of 5 dollars of the personal property goods and chattels of one Chamberlin M. Cunningham then and there…feloniously did steal, take and carry away.”  This case was sent to a Grand Jury and on 16 October 1848. Buck plead not guilty.  He was acquitted in January 1849. [Licking County Court Journals, January Term 1849, pp. 367-8.]

4 March 1849

Whig Zachary Taylor sworn in as President.

2 February 1850

Mary Claflin married Ross Burns, in Mt. Gilead, Morrow County, Ohio. [Wight, op cit., p. 255.] Burns was the village's sheriff. 

25 October 1849

Buck borrowed $161.50 from his father-in-law, Johannes Hummel. [Execution Dockets, LCR&A, 1850:11]. Hummel brought suit in 1850 to recover the debt. The sheriff attempted to levy a fieri facias execution, but finding no goods or chattels to levy, he attached the suit al vendi to Buck’s gristmill property. The property was appraised by ‘three disinterested resident freeholders of said Licking County’ at $1500. The case was settled 22 October 1853.

9 July 1850

President Zachary Taylor dies in office; Whig Millard Fillmore sworn in as President.

15 August 1850

Buck's old friend and business associate, John Snyder of Selinsgrove, Pennsylvania died. Snyder's will was written 9 May 1846, and in it he alluded to their past dealings by saying "I hope all difficulties in settlement of my unsettled accounts with Buckman Claflin, Homer, Licking County, Ohio, will pay more than my debts. His agreement will show our relations. For the land on the Sinnamahoning, about one thousand acres, I have no deeds. Mr. Claflin is honest and will account for store debts, land and all." [Sachs (WKU), Box 5, Folder 5].

18 August 1850

Canning Woodhull was enumerated on the US Federal Census in the Town of Webster, Monroe County, New York [house 298, line 8]. He was 22, a farmer, and was living with his father and siblings.

5 September 1850

Malden Claflin was enumerated on the US Federal Census in Mt. Gilead, Morrow County, Ohio [house 2309, line 4]. His age was given as 18, and he was living with his eldest sister Margaret Claflin Miles, her husband, and their daughter. Both Margaret and Malden gave their place of birth as Pennsylvania.

Mary Claflin Burns was also enumerated in the US Federal Census in Mt. Gilead [house 2245, line 32] with her husband Ross Burns, the town’s sheriff.

12 October 1850

Buck Claflin, calling himself a lawyer, aged 50, was enumerated on the US Federal Census of the Town of Homer, Burlington Township, Licking County, Ohio [family 1636, line 42]. Also on the same census are Anna, age 43, "Malvern," age 17, Hebern, age 15, Victoria C., age 12, Utica, age 9, Tennessee, age 6, and Odessa, age 1.


Malden Claflin married his first cousin Corintha Claflin, the daughter of Buck's twin brother Samuel Carrington Claflin. [Wight, op cit. p. 255.]

28 January 1851

A levy of fieri facias was issued to the sheriff of Licking County against Buck after a judgement in favor of his son-in-law, Enos Miles. The original debt was $703.94 with all fees assessed. No goods or chattels were found and “for want thereof I levied on the following described lands and tenements” (describing Buck’s gristmill property on Lot 31 in Homer), with the notice that the “foregoing levy is made subject to a former levy in favor of John S. Hummel.” The lands were appraised and on 23 April 1851 the property was advertised for sale, with no bidders. Attempts to collect were again made on 31 December 1851, 7 June 1852, 31 December 1852, and 30 November 1853, each time with no bidders. [Execution Dockets, LCR&A, 1850:330].

7 August 1852

Nathan and Martha Seymour released Buck from the mortgage on the Claflin home after receiving payment of $25 [Licking County Deeds 66:177] and Buck and Anna quitclaimed the property (including the 1/4 acre lot) to John Chouner for $25 [ Licking County Deeds 66:178].

17 August 1852

Henry B. Curtis released Buck from the mortgages he held on the sawmill property "for Satisfactory reasons and considerations other than acknowledgement of the payment of the debt or debts named in the papers below mentioned do hereby fully release and discharge all & Every lien or incumbrances on the Mill Seat and premises of Buckman Claflin." However,  he did not release Buck from the debts owed: "And full Cancellation and release of Said Mortgages is hereby authorized to be made, So that no longer the Same shall constitute any lien or incumbrance of Said land and premises. But this paper Shall not be construed as in anywise prejudicing my rights or interest in the Notes or debts mentioned in Said Mortgages and intended thereby to be secured So far as the Same may be otherwise Collected from the Said B. Claflin personally or from other Collateral securities." [Licking County Deeds 61:492]

On the same day, Buck and Anna sold or mortgaged the same property to William Mitchell and William Smith for $1800. [Licking County Deeds 62:446]. At the time of this transaction the land was described in detail with added statement: "supposed to contain Ten acres of land be the same more or less together with the race and dam now constructed through said Lot No 31 for the use and benefit of the Mills now situated on the above mentioned premises." The land was not entirely free of debt: "and that the same are free and clear from all incumbrances except a Judgment of seven hundred and some dollars now of record against him the said Claflin and in favour of Enos Miles or at last way so entered with the interest thereon to this doth which this deed is taken subject to it and costs and is to be cancelled by them the said Smith and Mitchel."

The family moved to Mt. Gilead, Morrow County, Ohio, some 32 miles northwest of Homer, where their daughters Margaret Miles and Mary Burns were living.

3 September 1852

Enos Miles was in Yuba County, California. He was a 33-year-old gold miner. [1852 California State Census of the County of Yuba, p. 66, line 39.] Miles' son, J. Euclid was in later years a prosperous real estate agent in Santa Monica, California. In a biological sketch, he noted that his father had gone to California in 1849 by crossing the plains with an ox team. Enos then settled in Marysville, Yuba County, before returning home to Mt. Gilead. Miles returned to California in 1852, journeying by way of the Isthmus. [James Miller Quinn, A History of California and an Extended History of its Southern Coast Counties, also Containing Biographies of Well-Known Citizens of the Past and Present, Vol. 2, Los Angeles, Historic Record Company, 1907, p. 1578-9]

End of 1852 or early 1853

Victoria met Canning H. Woodhull.

4 March 1853

Democrat Franklin Pierce sworn in as President.

22 October 1853

Johannes Hummel signed off on receiving settlement of Buck’s debt when he was paid by William Smith: “Received Oct 22 a.d. 1853 full satisfaction of this Judgement of William Smith. J.S. Hummell.” Smith also paid the clerk and sheriff fees. [Execution Dockets, LCR&A, 1850:11]

20 November 1853

Victoria Claflin married Dr. Canning Woodhull, Cleveland, Ohio. The license was dated 19 November and signed by “Channing” Woodhull. [1853 marriages, Probate Court, Cuyahoga County, Ohio.]

23 November 1853-22 December 1853

John Stonely collected on the fieri facias execution against Buck which had been transferred to Cuyahoga County. The execution was transferred on 23 November (presumably when Buck accompanied his daughter to Cleveland for her marriage} and the levy made 22 December. [Execution Dockets, LCR&A, H:165].

31 December 1854

Victoria and Canning's son Bryon was born in Chicago. [Victoria Woodhull Martin Papers, Southern Illinois University, Carbondale, Illinois, here after VWM, SIU]

22 February 1855

Enos Miles made a final attempt to collect on the debt Buck owed when the Licking County case was transferred to the sheriff of Morrow County. After an attempt to levy goods and chattels, the sheriff levied the “following lands and tenements situated in the State of Ohio, to wit, Lot number Thirty Eight in the town of Mt. Gilead, Morrow County, Ohio,” but the property was never advertised “for want of printers’ fees” [Execution Dockets, LCR&A, 1850:330].

21 June 1855

Victoria (age 18), Canning (age 22, occupation sailor), and Byron (age 3 months, born Illinois) were enumerated in the State Census of New York. They were living with his parents, in Webster, New York. [1855 New York State Census of the Town of Webster, Monroe County, New York, dwelling 233, family 241.]

2 October 1855

James H. Blood married Mary Harrington, Framingham, Massachusetts. He gave his residence  as Moline, Illinois. [Marriages Registered in the Town of Framingham, Massachusetts for the year 1855, Framingham Town Clerk, marriage 24.]

1855-about 1860

Canning Woodhull, Victoria and son Byron were in San Francisco. Victoria's sister Utica was also in San Francisco at the same time. 

1 October 1856

Hebern Claflin married Mary Ann Edwards, Elford, Henry County, Illinois. [Register of Marriages, Henry County, Illinois, p. 24, license no. 118.]

22 October 1856

Enos Miles opened the Hewitt & Miles Drug Store, across the street from his American Hotel. [Mt. Gilead Democratic Messenger.]

4 March 1857

Democrat James Buchanan sworn in as President.

January 1858

James H. Blood elected secretary of the St. Louis Society of Spiritualists. [Emma Hardinge Britten, Modern American Spiritualism, New York: 1870, p. 376.]

June 1858

Ross Burns was in Linn, Kansas, having deserted his wife Mary. [Emporia Weekly News, 6 July 1882, p. 4, col. 3.]


 Tennessee Claflin advertised as a clairvoyant but not a magnetic healer in Williamsport, Pennsylvania. 

Tennessee, Anna and Utica stopped for a time in Williamsport, Pennsylvania. [Williamsport Sun, quoted in the Clearfield Republican, 11 December 1872.] "About ten or twelve years ago, Tennie and another sister whose name we do not now remember, together with their mother, domiciled in the vicinity of Fourth and Penn Streets. . .The Woodhull was at that time in the West, and the father, Buck, though not formerally [sic] separated from his family, only visited them occasionally; and his visits were brief."

October 1859 through November 1860

Advertisements appeared in the Cincinnati Daily Press, Cincinnati Penny Press, the Mt. Gilead Messenger, and Columbus, Ohio, papers for the "Wonderful Child" with the "Clairvoyant Eye." For a few weeks in 1859 the family was at the United States Hotel in Columbus before joining Malden in Cincinnati. 

5 June 1860

Buck, Anna, Tennessee and Utica were enumerated in the 1860 US Federal Census at the 13th Ward, Cincinnati, Hamilton County, Ohio. Their son, Malden, and daughter-in-law and their four children  were enumerated with them. Their surname was recorded as "Clifflin," and Buck was employed as a "shoe man." Malden was a grocer. [p. 55, lines 39-40, and p. 56, lines 1-7.]

On the same day, Buck, Anna and Tennessee were enumerated in the same census as being at Anderson, Madison County, Indiana. Buck called himself a lawyer and said he had $2000 in real estate. Anna, too, said she had $2000 in real estate. [p. 17, lines 6-8.]

Of note for the dual entries, Mary Burns' son, Ross Burns, Jr., died of consumption in Indianapolis on June 8th at the age of two. The child was buried in Cincinnati on June 17th. [Spring Hill Cemetery Burial Records, Cincinnati, Ohio, card 8636.] If this death was the cause of Buck and family to be enumerated twice, it must also be noted that Mary and her three surviving children have not been found in the 1860 census.

5 May - 2 June 1860

“Miss Ella E. Gibson will lecture during the month of May next, in St. Louis, Mo. Those in the west and north west, who wish her services, after May, will please address her at St. Louis, care of James H. Blood, Post Office box 3391.” [“Announcements,” The Spiritual Eclectic, 5, 12, 26 May and 2 June 1860.]

15 June 1860

Enos and Margaret Miles, together with their surviving children, were enumerated in the 1860 US Federal Census at Mt. Gilead, Morrow County, Ohio. The family were living in a hotel, Enos was a teacher with $600 in personal property [p. 37, house no. 274, lines 9-13].

13 December 1860

Mary Claflin Burns married Benjamin Franklin Sparr in Cincinnati, Hamilton County, Ohio. [Hamilton County Courthouse, Register of Marriages, 1860, p. 304.] Mary later said she believed Ross Burns was dead ["Known by Two Names," New York Daily Tribune, 26 October 1886, p. 3, col. 1]. He was not, and neither of them had filed for a divorce.

18 December 1860-21 March 1861

Tennessee, Buck, Anna and Utica were in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, where Tennessee was working out of the Scott House.  [Pittsburgh Daily Post, 18 December 1860.] At the time, Tennessee was also advertised as the 'Wonderful Child' in Mt. Gilead local papers.

4 March 1861

Liberal Republican Abraham Lincoln sworn in as President.

21 March 1861

Tennessee, Buck, Anna and Utica were all arrested for "humbuggery." ["A Natural Clairvoyant in Trouble," Baltimore Sun, 20 March 1861, p. 1.]

28 March 1861

An ad in the Lewistown Gazette, (Lewistown, Mifflin County, Pennsylvania) appeared announcing that the 'Wonderful Child' was at the Lewistown House, second floor, and could be seen on or after the first of April with her parents. Anna's family resided in Mifflin County and the Hummel family had recently been bereaved by the deaths of Anna's brother-in-law, Abraham Kline, and brother John Hummel.

12 April 1861

With the firing on Ft. Sumter, the Civil War began.

28 April 1861

Zulu (Zula) Maud Woodhull was born at 53 Bond Street, New York, New York. In the City Directory of New York for the same year, Canning Woodhull was listed as a physician from the same address.

1 June 1861

James H Blood organized the Sixth Missouri Infantry Volunteers and becomes its Lieutenant Colonel. [Compiled Service Records of Volunteer Union Soldiers Who Served in Organizations from the State of Missouri, National Archives and Record Administration, 6th Missouri Infantry Volunteers, microcopy 405, roll 428. Here after SR, NARA.]

1 July 1861

A list of unclaimed letters appeared in the Lewistown Gazette, saying that Tennessee, Anna and Utica all had mail waiting for them.

July 1861

Lt. Col. James H. Blood was struck on his head from behind while on a scouting patrol near Pilot Knob, Missouri. Unconscious for nearly 24 hours, he suffered from headaches and insomnia for the rest of his life. [J.H. Blood, Pension Records, NARA, file #459.314 and #362.422]

30 September 1861

Tennessee, who had run away from her parents' control, was in Syracuse, De Kalb County, Illinois, where she married John James Bartle (also known as Bortle and other phonetic variations on the name). [De Kalb County Clerk's Office, Returns of Marriages, 30 September 1861.] She was fifteen. Bartle was a 'sporting man' and bartender, she was supporting herself as a clairvoyant. ["Tennie Was His Bride," The Inter-Ocean (Chicago, Illinois), 2 July 1899, p. 33; True Republican (Sycamore, Illinois), 24 May 1871.] 

The newlyweds were joined by Victoria Woodhull, calling herself Victoria Claflin and a man who was most likely Canning Woodhull, then calling himself "John Claflin,' and the four went on a gambling spree. ["Tennie Was His Bride," op cit., True Republican (Sycamore, Illinois, 24 May 1871.]

Before 28 February 1862

Tennessee and James Bartle agreed to separate prior to his being mustered into the 2nd Illinois Light Artillery or "Bolton's Battery." He enlisted as a private, gave his residence as Chicago, age as 24, and marital status as "married." [Civil War Detail Report, Illinois Civil War Muster and Descriptive Rolls, Illinois State Archives]. He deserted Bolton's Battery from La Grange, Tennessee, "in the face of the enemy," on 10 November 1862 {John James Bartle Pension Records, National Archives and Records Administration, [hereafter name, NARA Pension Records] #945.832 for invalid pension, #701.516 for widow's pension.] It is not clear if the couple bothered with the formality of a divorce -- both said they did, but blamed the 1871 Chicago Fire for the destruction of proof. He remarried prior to the 1865 New York State Census in which his new wife and infant son are enumerated with his family. Interestingly, in this census he said it was his first marriage. [1865 Census of Elmira, Chemung County, New York, p. 25, line 10.]

6-7 April 1862

The Battle of Shiloh, Pittsburgh Landing, Tennessee. The Union suffered 13,047 casualties, the Confederacy, 10,699, though it was a Union victory. It was the costliest battle in American history up to that time. 

16 July 1862

General Ulysses S. Grant was appointed to head the Army of the Tennessee, General William T. Sherman was assigned to replace Grant as Commander of the District of West Tennessee and reassigned to headquarters at Memphis. The Sixth Missouri, with Lt. Col. James H. Blood as acting colonel, followed Sherman to Memphis. [6th Missouri Inf. Vols, SR, NARA, roll 428.]

August 1862

While on parade duty in Memphis, Tennessee, James H. Blood was injured when his horse stumbled and he was violently thrown against the pommel of his saddle. He was injured in the perineum and "surrounding parts." He would suffer from the effects of this injury for the rest of his life. [J.H. Blood, Pension Records, NARA, op cit.].

18 August 1862

Dr. Canning Woodhull had unclaimed mail at the post office in Chicago. ["Gentlemen's List," Chicago Tribune, 18 August 1862, p. 3.]

9 October 1862

Tennessee was working as a clairvoyant healer from 10 Harrison Street (between Wabash and Michigan Avenues) in Chicago, Illinois [Chicago Tribune, 9 October 1862, p. 4]. 

1 December 1862

Miss Tennessee Claflin, while traveling in Clifford County, Iowa, was assessed a $10 tax on her income. This was the first income tax assessed by the Federal Government in an attempt to raise money for the War effort [NARA, Record Group 58 of the Internal Revenue Service, Assessment Lists, microfilm M766].

22 December 1862

James H. Blood's commanding officer, Peter E. Bland, after being recommissioned by Governor Gamble of Missouri, was dishonorably discharged by a Special Order of the War Department after a review of his service records was ordered by President Lincoln. [P. E. Bland, SR, NARA, roll 428]. James H. Blood was promoted to the rank of Colonel and assigned to Bland's position at the head of the 6th Missouri Infantry Volunteers. Blood's subordinate officers, and his superiors up through the chain of command (Generals G.A. Smith, David Stuart, William T. Sherman and U.S. Grant) all endorsed the promotion. Governor Gamble reluctantly agreed, saying at the time "I have no faith in this man." [J.H. Blood, Pension Records, NARA, op cit.]

29 December 1862

The Battle of Chickasaw Bayou, Mississippi. Blood was wounded: "On the 29th day of December 1862 I was wounded in the left breast, just below the Collar Bone by a Minnie Bullet which perforated all my clothing, also a large Pocket Book filled with papers, knocked me down, and, flattened out to the size of a half dollar, imbedded itself in the tissues injuring the Brachial Plexus of Nerves and paralyzing and rendering useless the left arm. . .This wound was received while leading the regiment in a charge against the enemy at the battle of Chickasaw Bayou—Genl. Sherman’s first attack on Vicksburg. . . From the day [of] this injury to the present I have never for a moment been free from a pain or numbness in the left arm and hand. [J.H. Blood Pension Records, NARA, op cit.]


Enos Miles went blind.

1 January 1863

Abraham Lincoln signs the Emancipation Proclamation which declared that all persons held as slaves within the Rebellious States are, and henceforward, shall be free. Because it was issued under the President’s war powers, it excluded all slaves still held in states that were loyal to the Union.

7 February 1863

Dr. Canning H. Woodhull, analytic and magnetic physician, established his residence and office at 10 Harrison Street, Chicago -- the same address from which Tennessee had been working in the previous October. In his advertisement, he claimed he discovered "many remedies in his travels in South America, California and other countries." [Chicago Tribune, 7 February 1863].

15 February 1863

Dr. C.H. Woodhull was at Revere House, Chicago, Illinois where a patient related "I placed myself under his treatment, and in 24 hours after the application of the Doctor's Turkish Cancer Salve, the cancer was dead" [Testimonial of Rev. A.C. Hunter, The Quincy Daily Whig, 30 May 1863, 6, 13, 17 June 1863, 4, 15, 22, 29 August 1863, 5 September 1863, and 17 October 1863].

16 April 1863

Dr. C.H. Woodhull, the great Cancer and Chronic Disease doctor, arrived in Springfield, and was stopping at the St. Nicholas Hotel. "The Doctor's practice is founded on truth of 17 years standing, and differs from all others" ["Local Notices," Daily Illinois State Journal, 16 April 1863, p. 3].

May-June 1863

"Dr. Hebern," American Cancer Champion, was at the Bramble House, Lafayette, Indiana. [Indianapolis Star, 19 May 1863, p. 3; 24 June 1863, p. 3]

May-July 1863

Dr. C.H. Woodhull was at Quincy House, Quincy, Illinois. [The Quincy Whig, 23 May, 1863; 30 May 1863, 6 June 1863; 13 June 1863; 27 June 1863. The Quincy Herald, 30 July 1863]

27 June 1863

"Dr. R.B. Claflin", American King of Cancers was available for consultation from the home of M.D. Calkins in South Ottawa, Illinois. [Ottawa Free Trader, 27 June 1863]. M.D. Calkins had married Buck's sister, Corintha, and the couple had settled in Ottawa.

4 July 1863

The surrender of Vicksburg. The Mississippi River was now entirely under Union Control.

18 July 1863

Advertisement announced that Tennessee, the great magnetic doctress and clairvoyant physician, was in Ottawa and was prepared to take patients [Ottawa Free Trader, 18 July 1863].

6 August 1863

Dr. C.H. Woodhull, king of cancer and chronic diseases, and Dr. Hebern Claflin, American Cancer Champion, were located at 41 Fourth Street, near Elm, St. Louis, Missouri. [The Missouri Republican -- Saint Louis, 6 August 1863, p. 3; 9 August 1863, p. 3; 12 August 1863, p. 3; 19 August 1863, p. 3, The Quincy Daily Whig, 4 August 1863; 15 August 1863; 22 August 1863]. By August 19, only Woodhull was advertising, Hebern having apparently left.

5 September 1863

Tennessee was working from the Geiger House, Ottawa, Illinois. An ill Malden Claflin was at the Mansion House in Ottawa, being cared for by Anna. [Ottawa Free Trader, 5 September and 12 September 1863]. She continued her practice at the Geiger House until March 1864, when she moved to the Fox River House Hotel.

Dr. C.H. Woodhull was at 41 Fourth Street, St. Louis, Missouri [The Quincy Whig, 5 September 1863, 19 September 1863; 26 September 1863; 3 October 1863; 10 October 1863; 15 October 1863; 31 October 1863].

7 November 1863

After spending a few weeks in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Hebern relocated his business to 65 Wabash Avenue, Chicago, Illinois. [Milwaukee News, 7 November 1863].

12 November 1863

Dr. Canning Woodhull was practicing from 86 East Washington Street, Chicago, Illinois. By 21 December he was at 65 Wabash Avenue where he still was in January 1864. He placed ads in Iowa and Indiana at this time. [Weekly Journal (Muscatine, Iowa), 25 December 1863; Quad City Times (Davenport, Iowa) 21 December 1863; Marshall County Republican (Indiana), 28 January, 1864].

23-26 November 1863

The Battle of Missionary Ridge and Relief of Knoxville, which effectively ended Blood's military career. Blood was temporarily in command of the 1st Brigade of the 2nd Division of Sherman's army, replacing Gen. Giles A. Smith who had been wounded. "In the fall of 1863 the above difficulties together with the severe campaign of the 15th Army Corps, that culminated in the battle of Mission Ridge and the forced march to Knoxville to relieve General Burnside reduced me so much, that when the army returned to Chattanooga and the 15th Corps, went into camp at Larkinsville Ala., where I was in command of our Brigade (the 1st of the 2nd Div.) I was compelled to ask for leave of absence on sick furlough. I left for St Louis December 31, 1863. My furlough was extended from time to time on account of my health until my regiment came home on veterans furlough. During this furlough I tendered my resignation as Colonel of the regiment and it was accepted by General Rosecranz. [sic] I did not resign because I wanted to leave the service, but because my family physician Dr. Duncan MacRae advised me to do so; and especially because Gov. Hall, the then “Copperhead” Governor of Missouri utterly repudiated my recommendations for promotions in my regiment, and insisted on appointing civilians to the vacant line offices over my experienced Sergeants & Corporals. This insult to the regiment and to one I would endorse and so wrote General Sherman in explanation of my resignation." [J.H. Blood SR and Pension Records, NARA, op cit.]

5 December 1863

Dr. C.H. Woodhull was at 41 South Fourth Street, St. Louis, Missouri [The Quincy Whig, 5 December 1863].

21 December 1863

Dr. C.H. Woodhull's residence and office was at 65 Wabash Avenue, Chicago, Illinois [Quad City Times (Davenport, Iowa), 21 December 1863; Muscatine (Iowa) Weekly, 25 December 1863].

28 January 1864

"The greatest discovery of the age, is Dr. Woodhull's Great Turkish Cancer Remedy." Dr. C.H. Woodhull "will be at Plymouth, at the Edwards House, on the 1st of February, 1864, and he plans to remain 3 or 4 days." [Marshall County (Indiana) Republican, 28 January 1864].

27 February 1864

Enos Miles became the proprietor of the Fox River House Hotel in Ottawa, Illinois. [Ottawa Free Trader, 27 February 1864].

28 February 1864

V. Woodhull had unclaimed mail at the Chicago post office, mistakenly reported under the Gentleman's List ["Gentleman's List," Chicago Tribune, 28 and 29 February 1864].

1 March 1864

Dr. C.H. Woodhull, Cancer King, was listed in the St. Louis, Missouri, City Directory, at 41 South Fourth Street [Richard Edwards, publisher, 1 March 1864]. Col. James H. Blood, US Army, was at 453 Pine Street, with his brothers George and Nathaniel.

8 March 1864

Hebern moved his practice to Quincy, Illinois. [Chicago Tribune, 8 March 1864.]

26 March 1864

C.H. Woodhull had unclaimed letters at the St. Louis, Missouri Post Office. [Daily Missouri Republican, 26 March 1864, p. 1]

2 April 1864

Col. James Harvey Blood resigned his commission while on furlough in St. Louis, Missouri. [J.H. Blood SR and Pension Records, NARA, op cit.]

7 June 1864

Tennessee's patient, Rebecca Howe, died of breast cancer in Ottawa after placing a card in the Free Trader denouncing Tennessee as a fraud. 

24 June 1864

Indictment against Tennessee filed for "cheating" John R. Dodge out of $83 for failing to heal him.

9 July 1864

Tennessee opened an infirmary in at 422 West Fifth Street (near Mound), Cincinnati, Ohio, "after breaking up her infirmary in this city rather suddenly, leaving several patients in rather bad condition and escaped several legal processes which the rumor said were in the preparation for her benefit in consequence of her successful practices on the gullibility of believers in the marvelous." [Ottawa Republican, 9 July 1864, also Ottawa Free Trader, 9 July 1864].

4 September 1864

Dr. C.H. Woodhull, Cancer King, was at 41 Fourth Street, St. Louis [St. Louis Democrat, 4 September 1864].

Also on this date, Malden's daughter, Mary Ellen Claflin died of typhoid fever in Cincinnati. She was buried in Spring Grove Cemetery on 10 September 1864. She was eleven years old. [Spring Grove Cemetery Records, card #13888].

December 1864

Malden Claflin died in Chicago. On authorization from "Miss Claflin," his body was transported to Cincinnati and he was buried 12 March 1865 in Spring Grove Cemetery. Interred on the same date, also moved from Chicago on Tennessee's authority, was Jefferson Claflin. He was Malden's wife's brother, Thomas J. Claflin. At the time, all other Claflin family members were re-interred in the plot Tennessee had purchased [Spring Grove Cemetery Records, card #14371 and 14370].

5 January 1865

Blood's former commander, Brigadier General Giles A. Smith, wrote a letter of recommendation for Blood saying: "serving in my 1st Brigade, 2nd Division 15th Army Corps commanded his regiment with rare ability during his term of service and by his gallantry on several battlefields, won the commendations of all his superiors as well as his command. His ability as an executive officer is also of a superior character, eminently fitting him for the duties of any Office for which he may apply." Major General Frank P. Blair enthusiastically endorsed Smith's recommendation [J.H. Blood, Pension Records, NARA, op cit.].

21 February 1865

Dr. J.A. Harvey, magnetic and clairvoyant physician advertised his services from 99 Washington Avenue, between 4th and 5th Streets, St. Louis. [Leavenworth, KS, Times]

1 March 1865

Dr. J.A. Harvey, physician, was at 99 Washington Avenue, St. Louis, Missouri. James H. Blood was at 453 Pine Street, President, St. Louis Railroad Company and City Auditor [Edwards St. Louis City Directory for 1865].

9 April 1865

Confederate General Robert E. Lee surrendered to General Ulysses S. Grant at Appomattox Court House.

15 April 1865

President Abraham Lincoln assassinated by John Wilkes Booth, Andrew Johnson became President.

26 April 1865

Confederate General Joseph E. Johnston surrendered to General William T. Sherman at the Bennett Farm in North Carolina, turning over nearly 90,000 Confederate troops.

9 May 1865

The Civil War ended by proclamation of President Johnson. Jefferson Davis was captured the following day.

19 June 1865

Tennessee was at 422 West Fifth Street, Cincinnati, Ohio, practicing as a clairvoyant healer [Cincinnati Enquirer, 19 June 1865].

1 July 1865

James H. Blood married "Victoria Chaflin" in Cincinnati, Hamilton County, Ohio. [Returns of Marriages, Hamilton County Probate Court, Cincinnati, Ohio].

3 July 1865

Hebern enumerated in the 1865 Illinois State Census at Quincy, Adams County, Illinois [p. 248, line 16]. With him are two females over the age of 10 but under the age of 20, possibly Utica and Tennessee.

15 February 1866

Tennessee took out an ad announcing her return to Cincinnati. On the 15th she said that because of her extensive practice, the services of Madame Baker and Dr. C.H. Woodhull have been acquired. She had also begun marketing "Miss Tennessee's Magnetic Life Elixir" which was to be used to "cleanse the blood and beautify the complexion [Cincinnati Enquirer, 13 February 1866; Richmond Weekly Palladium, 15 February 1866; Chicago Tribune, 22 March 1866; 

1 March 1866

"Mrs. Dr. B.F. Sparr,"physician, was listed at 44 South Fifth Street, St. Louis [Edwards St. Louis City Directory].

James H. Blood, City Auditor, was boarding at Washington Avenue, SW corner of 15th. He was also recorded as the President of the St. Louis Railroad Company, offices at 12 South Fifth Street. He was no longer listed as J.A. Harvey [Edwards St. Louis City Directory].

10 May 1866

After over a year advertising himself as Prof. J. A. Harvey, Blood's last ad was placed giving his business and residence at 99 Washington Avenue in St. Louis [Weekly Atchison Champion, 10 May 1866].

15 May 1866

Margaret Miles was at Cincinnati, Hamilton County, Ohio, where she swore an affidavit that Benjamin Franklin Sparr, aided by his wife Mary Burns Sparr, were attempting to blackmail James H. Blood on account of his bigamous marriage to Victoria Woodhull [reprinted in "Female Financiers' Feuds," The Brooklyn Eagle, 8 May 1871]

25 June 1866

An article appeared in the Daily Missouri Republican (St. Louis) called "Sudden Departure of the City Auditor for South America -- Romantic Incidents Connected Therewith." The article relates Bloods entanglement with an enchantress caused him to request a leave of absence, at which time he departed. "Some years ago he married a lady from Massachusetts, with whom, however, he does not appear to have lived in that quiet serenity which should characterize the matrimonial state, and his conjugal infelicity appears to have terminated in final separation. Some time ago he formed a close intimacy with a Madam Holland, a lady of no ordinary attractions, and gifted with weird power of clairvoyance. . . it is reported that he married this woman although no public acknowledgement was made of this fact. . . Col. Blood was well known in this city, and was a prompt and energetic businessman. . . He was also, and this is probably the cause of all his troubles, an ardent spiritualist, and was president of a spiritual society. " The article did mention that all his professional accounts were in perfect order. Blood resigned as president of the St. Louis Society of Spiritualists on July 1st.

10 July 1866

Mary A.C. Harrington Blood divorced James H. Blood, Chicago, Cook County, Illinois. The grounds were adultery ["Law Intelligence," Chicago Tribune, 10 July 1866].

14 July 1866

James H. Blood and Victoria Claflin filed for a marriage license in Dayton, Montgomery County, Ohio [Return of Marriages, Probate Court, Montgomery County, Ohio, #518]. The minister never filed his return, so the marriage was legally not valid. However, a review of the four previous and subsequent pages of the document show that a majority of the marriages in the same time-frame (before and after theirs) also had no returns filed with the licence.

1 August 1866-December 1866

Tennessee was operating her business from 365 Wabash Avenue, Chicago, Illinois. [Chicago Tribune, 1 August 1866; 1 December 1866].

18 November 1866

Utica Claflin Kelley married Thomas H. B. Brooker, of Quincy, in Chicago, Illinois. ["Married," Chicago Tribune, 1 December 1866]. Who Utica's first husband was, and when they married is unknown. She had met Brooker while living with her brother Hebern in Quincy.

28 November 1866

Ross Burns and Mary Burns Sparr's eldest daughter, Zilpha Ann Burns Johnson, aged 17, died in St. Louis of consumption and was buried in Spring Grove Cemetery, Cincinnati, on 30 November 1866. She was buried in the plot owned by Tennessee Claflin and the burial was ordered by Corintha Claflin [Spring Grove Cemetery Records, card #17001].

1 December 1866

As "Dr. Hebern," President of the Northwestern Institute and Infirmary, of Quincy, Illinois, Hebern traveled to New Orleans, Louisiana, and offered consultations and "perfect cures." He planned to stay three months [New Orleans Picayune, 27 November 1866].

24 December 1866

As "Madame Victoria" and "Prof. J.A. Harvey," Victoria and James H. Blood were at 63 Esplanade Street (corner of Royal) in New Orleans, Louisiana, "for the special treatment of so-called incurable diseases" [New Orleans Times-Democrat, 24 December 1866, p. 7].

4 January 1867

An advertisement announced that Mrs. Dr. Harvey and Prof. J.A. Harvey had arrived in Memphis, Tennessee, and had taken rooms for the season at the Overton Hotel, office, room 20. Mrs. Dr. Harvey was available for consultations on all matters of life and health [Memphis Public Ledger, 4 January 1867 and New Orleans Times Democrat, 6 January 1867].

25-29 January 1867

Though still advertised as being in Memphis, on the 25-29 of January personal notices appeared in the New York Herald saying: To Tennie C.--N.--Your sister V. wishes to learn where she can see you. Address A.LR., room 306 St. Nicholas Hotel. 

1 March 1867

Benjamin F. and Mrs. Mary Sparr were located at 205 South Fifth Street, Saint Louis [Edwards St. Louis Directory].

16 March 1867

Tennessee, "who has established her infirmary at 365 Wabash Avenue, Chicago," was at the Meyer House in Janesville, Wisconsin and making consultations [Janesville (Wisconsin) Daily Gazette, 16 March 1867, p. 2].

24 April 1867

Tennessee was again in Janesville, this time at the Schuyler House, and would remain until the 27th, when she would return to her infirmary at 365 Wabash Avenue, Chicago [Janesville (Wisconsin) Daily Gazette, 24 April 1867, p. 1]

5 May 1867

Madame Blood of the Magnetic Healing Institute, 112 North 6th Street, Saint Louis, was advertised to arrive at the Planter House, Leavenworth, Kansas, on May 11th. She was to be assisted by Doctors Blood and Woodhull, of the same Institute, and were planning to stay six to eight weeks. [Leavenworth Times, 5 May 1867, p. 1].

21 May 1867

Notice appeared in the Leavenworth Times that: "We regret to learn, as we do from a letter received today, that Drs. Blood and Woodhull, of the St. Louis Magnetic Healing Institute, owing to sickness in their families will be unable to pay our city a visit at present."

24 June 1867

Margaret Claflin Miles divorced Enos Miles on grounds of extreme and repeated cruelty [Chicago Republican, 24 June 1867].

8 August 1867

"Madame Victoria and Miss Tennessee" the "great Magnetic Doctresses and Clairvoyants," from the Magnetic Healing Institute 365 Wabash Ave., Chicago, and 112 North 6th St., St. Louis had arrived at the Beaumont House, Green Bay, Wisconsin, on the 15th of August and would be seeing patients for the next two weeks [Green Bay Weekly Gazette, 17 August 1867, p. 3 and advertisement, p. 4].

23 October 1867

Miss Tennessee and her Sister were 'permanently' located at 365 Wabash Avenue, Chicago [Chicago Tribune, 23 October 1867].

30 October 1867

Hebern sold his home in Quincy, Illinois and moved to Chicago.

10 February 1868

Victoria C. Blood vs. James H. Blood- Bill for divorce on the ground of adultery, filed on the 6th instant, and referred on a written appearance by defendant on the same day. The main witness in the case was Bernard Claflin, the father of complainant. The complainant in taking her decree asked, however, to retain her maiden name of Woodhull [Chicago Tribune, 10 February 1868, p. 4, col. 3].

November 1868

Letter to Julia Grant, from her husband Ulysses S., written while Grant was in Galena awaiting election returns: "Mrs. Blood has made a pilgrimage to Galena to secure for her husband the position of private secretary to me when I am President." [Meissner Collection, Washington University, St. Louis, Mo., Box 2, Folder 94. Reprinted in John Y. Simon, ed., The Papers of Ulysses S. Grant, Vol. 19: July 1, 1868-October 31, 1869. Carbondale, Southern Illinois University Press, 1995, notes, pp. 63-64]

14 December 1868

An article appeared in the Buffalo Daily Courier (on p. 1) extolling the virtues of The Magnetic Healing Institute located at 17 Great Jones Street in New York City.  "This institution is upon a magnificent scale. It is at No. 17 Great Jones Street, and presided over by one surgeon, two physicians, and two sisters, who are the professors of the above mentioned science.
     “They claim to diagnose all apparent or mysterious diseases, and prescribe so as to secure a perfect restoration, whether the disease be acute or chronic. We have seen one of the clairvoyants, and she is beautiful enough to cure anybody. She is young and childish in her manners, with Titian hair, which falls in rich masses about her head, blue eyes which wear an honest steadfast look, a symmetrical figure which is costumed in excellent taste and a pretty hand which sparkles with gems. Now we can’t see why a chronic case of heart disease should be cured at all, with such a healing medium. This lady’s name is Miss Tennessee Claflin, and while we admit that there is some power in this art of healing, we confess that we know nothing only that hopeless people go there, and after a brief stay of days or weeks, return home cured.
     “The other lady is said to be quite as charming as Miss Tennessee, and is her sister and the wife of the presiding physician, whose name is Dr. C. H. Woodhull. . . Perhaps of all the healing spots of the city, this is the most interesting to the curious speculator in mysterious things, and is the prettiest hospital in New York. Their patronage is very extensive, and men and women who would deny their belief in the supernatural go slyly to Miss Tennessee to listen to her weird talk, and to look into her lovely eyes."

4 March 1869

Republican war hero Ulysses S. Grant sworn in as president.

8-10 October 1871

The Great Chicago Fire. The conflagration allegedly destroyed the records of Tennessee's first marriage and divorce, the divorce of Canning and Victoria Woodhull, as well as the records of the third marriage of James Harvey Blood and Victoria Woodhull.