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.