Uprooted: Victoria Woodhull

Uprooted: Victoria Woodhull

A trivial look at famous family trees.

Rocking the Vote

Quick: Who was the first woman to run for president of the United States? If you’re drawing a blank, don’t fret. Even those of you who paid close attention in civics class probably won’t recall Victoria Woodhull, the Equal Rights Party candidate who ran against the likes of Ulysses S. Grant and Horace Greeley way back in 1872 (move over, Hillary Clinton). Despite her absence from history textbooks, Woodhull was wildly famous in her day as an advocate for women’s rights, free love and labor reforms — a platform so radical it led her opponents to dub her “Wicked Woodhull.” The historic election bid brought Woodhull a long way from her humble origins in the Licking County, Ohio, town of Homer, where she was born Sept. 23, 1838. To lack off the 2008 election year, we cast our vote for Woodhull’s family tree.

1 By 1661, Woodhull’s fourth-great-grandfather Robert Mackclothan had come to Wenham, Mass., from

a. Boston

b. Virginia c Scotland

d. Chiefland, Fla.

2 Woodhull’s third-great-grandfather Daniel Woodhull was

a. a selectman in 1727 and treasurer of Hopkinton, Mass., in 1729

b. also a candidate for the presidency

c. the White House janitor

d. a staunch Republican

3 Woodhull had a sister named after which US state?

a. Oklahoma

b. Tennessee

c. Florida

4 Which oil is also the name of one of Woodhull’s aunts?

a. Olive

b. Canola

c. 10W40

d. Partially Hydrogenated

5 How long did Woodhull’s great-grandfather Abner Claflin serve in the Revolutionary War?

a. the duration of the conflict

b. nine months

c. one year

d. eight days

6 Victoria named her daughter after

a. her mother, Anna

b. an African tribe, Zulu

c. her Equal Rights Party (Erp)

d. herself

7 Woodhull was married

a. four times

b. once

c. three times

d. never — she believed in free love

8 Woodhull couldn’t become president because

a. she was under the constitutionally mandated age of 35

b. women weren’t allowed to vote in national elections

c. a and b

d. none of the above

9 After Woodhull lost the election and moved to England, she

a. ran for queen

b. married a prince

c. published a magazine

d. became a recluse with 20 cats

10 Woodhull died in 1927 and was cremated. Her ashes were scattered

a. over Pennsylvania Avenue by Air Force One

b. at sea

c. on Grant’s Tomb

d. in the White House rose garden

e. in Homer, Ohio


1. c. Mackclothan’s arrival date is uncertain, but according to the 1903 Genealogy of the Claflin Family by Charles Henry Wight, he’s believed to be a Scottish soldier who was captured by Cromwell at the Battle of Dunbar, then sent to New England.

2. a.

3. b. Tennessee Celeste Claflin

4. a. Olive Claflin was the sister of Woodhull’s father.

5. d.

6. b. Zulu Maude Woodhull (also known as Zula)

7. c. Woodhull married Channing Woodhull, James H. Blood and John Biddulph Martin. Although she did believe in “free love,” the concept had a different meaning in the 1870s — that a couple had the right to divorce if they wanted to, and that love should be dictated by the heart, not by law.

8. c. In the election, Woodhull didn’t receive any electoral votes, but she did receive some popular votes.

9. c. She published the Humanitarian from 1892 to 1901.

10. b.


Number of correct answers:

8-10 Celebrity Savvy

6-7 Notably Knowledgeable

4-5 Star Crossed

0-3 Infamously Ignorant