Like her sisters, Clara Stoddard was an early pioneer in California. Born in West Cornwall to a farmer, Clara married Edwin Prentice of Canaan in 1851. The couple moved to Sacramento soon after, joining Clara’s sisters, Elizabeth Huntington and Hannah Hammond.
Clara Prentice hosted a meeting at which the Central Pacific Rail Road was formed: Collis Huntington, Mark Hopkins, Edwin Prentice, T.D. Judah, and William Stoddard (Clara’s brother) gathered at the Prentice home on K Street in Sacramento to found the railroad.
Edwin died following a flood in 1862. Clara, newly widowed and with five young children, was overwhelmed. She agreed to let her sister Elizabeth, who had no children of her own, adopt her youngest child, Clara Prentice, born only the year before. As the daughter of Collis P. Huntington, young Clara led a priviliged life. She married Prince Francis Hatzfeldt of Wittenberg in 1889 and moved to England.
Clara’s oldest daughter, Mary Alice Prentice, married Collis’ nephew and heir, Henry E. Huntington, in 1873. Their marriage ended in divorce in 1910, allowing Henry to marry Collis’ second wife and widow, Arabella Huntington.