The Stoddard Family
Elizabeth was close to her younger siblings and brought them to visit her and travel with her regularly. Although they had grown up on a West Cornwall farm with few prospects beyond farming, the Stoddards became sophisticated travelers, thanks to Elizabeth. She also ensured that they had the best opportunities available. Her sister’s husbands were all given important positions in Huntington’s hardware and railroad businesses, allowing them to build their own fortunes.
Although they have been overlooked by historians, the Stoddard family played vital roles in the building of the Huntington empire, from hosting business meetings in their living rooms to joining the fire brigade when Huntington’s first store in Sacramento burned down. The Huntington empire was a family business, and the Stoddards were connected to nearly every part of the business.
Elizabeth’s older sister, Minerva Stoddard Seaton (1820-1907), spent most of her married life in Hartford, Connecticut. Her son, Horace Seaton, Jr. (1842-1889) moved to California to work at the Huntington & Hopkins store, becoming a partner in 1864. At the time of his death, he lived in Oakland, California, and had built a massive fortune by investing in real estate.
Clara Stoddard Prentice (1824-1912), one of Elizabeth’s younger sisters, moved to Sacramento with her husband, Edwin Prentice, in 1858. The Central Pacific railroad was founded at a meeting in the Prentice home on K Street, with William Stoddard, Collis Huntington, Edwin Prentice, Mark Hopkins, and T.D. Judah present. When Edwin died in 1861, Clara arranged for her youngest child, Clara Elizabeth Prentice (1860-1928), to be adopted by Elizabeth and Collis Huntington.
Hannah Stoddard (1826-1919) moved to San Francisco in 1851 with her husband, Daniel Hammond, who became a partner with Huntington & Hopkins.
William Moses Stoddard (1828-1917), Elizabeth’s younger brother, moved to Sacramento and worked as a hardware merchant. He was a founding member of Collis Huntington’s Central Pacific railroad. In 1886, William established a camp for tourists at Stoddard Canyon in San Bernardino County, California. Stoddard’s Camp was a popular recreation facility for residents of surrounding towns during the early 1900s.
The youngest Stoddard sibling was Mary Jane Stoddard Emmons (1831-1916). Her husband, Delos W. Emmons, was appointed General Superintendant of the Chesapeake and Ohio Railroad by Collis Huntington and created the town of Huntington, West Virginia for the railroad.