A letter to Henry Blood Esq (New York)

27 June 1870

Henry Blood Esq

New York
Dr Sir

Your favor 23rd at hand this a.m. The eighteen deeds for Pottawatamie lands reached me the 25th and were acknowledged & forwarded–What do you pay the commissioner for acknowledgements? On the first five deeds I paid one dollar each, on the last lot 66 ⅔ cents each–the price seems to me extravagant–but I could do no better–

Mr. Peter left here on Friday for Saint Louis, thence to Kansas. The last of our iron, to finish to Emporia, must have reached Saint Louis on Tuesday of last week, and if it can be got through without much delay, Peter says the road can be completed by the 15th July–He wants a meeting of the Ex.Comm. at Topeka or Emporia as soon thereafter as possible, about which he has written to Mr. Keyes.

Please send me a copy of the paper in reference to sale of bonds, that was to have been prepared by [Misters?] Opdyke Ellis & yourself.

Yours truly Tho. Sherlock

Henry Blood was born in Norwich in 1811. Blood was a “planter,” land speculator, and businessman. He became a shipping agent in New Orleans and then moved to Nashville where he met and married Laura Shelby, daughter of a plantation owner. The 1850 census lists him as a Planter, residing in Brazoria, Texas, with 15 enslaved workers. Henry moved with his family back to Norwich around 1859 and managed a Tennessee plantation inherited by his wife from Norwich.

During and after the Civil War, Blood became involved in land speculation in connection with the construction of railroads in the west. He was the director and vice-president of the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railway between 1870 and 1872 and deeply involved with the dispersal of the Potawatamie lands in Kansas Territory. Just a month after this letter was written, on July 20, the rails did indeed reach Emporia. This location proved to be a lucrative location transporting cattle.

Henry Blood, Collection Kansas Memory

NHS has in its collection dozens of letters concerning the dispersal of the Potawatomie lands.The Treaty of 1867 certified the purchase of allotments and surplus lands by the railroad in exchange for approximately $150,000. The Potawatomi used the funds to acquire a reservation in Indian Territory, and the government sold the Kansas allotments to the railroad. Unfortunately no money was alloted for resettlement and for over 20 years, Potawatomi families made their way from Kansas to Oklahoma.

Chief Crane, Potawatomi, delegation to Washington, 1855-65
Library of Congress


Henry Blood lived in this house on Main Street during the Civil War from where he managed his interests in the South. Blood died in 1885 and is buried in Fairview Cemetery.

Thanks to Dan Bornstein for narrating this letter.