Volume 8, Number 6, Winter 1984
"Land Ho!", came the cry. Excitement filled the passengers as they rushed to the rail, straining to catch their first glimpse of the "new" world. There, far in the northern distance, could be seen a thin line of green coast. Soon now, they would be entering Massachusetts Bay and would be able to see the thriving little colonies which were clustered along the shore.
It would feel good to set foot on solid earth once again. It had been a long and wearying journey. They had left the Port of London more than 95 days before. The date was 17 July, 1638.
Among the passengers, aboard the little sailing ship, "Susan and Ellen," that day, was one Joseph Loomis, his wife Mary, and their eight children: Joseph Jr. 23, Sarah 21, Elizabeth 19, John 16, Thomas 14, Nathaniel 12, and Samuel 10.
Back "home", in Essex County, England, Joseph had been a woolen draper--one who buys and sells cloth goods. There, in the village of Braintree, he had been a respected and influential member of the community and a leader in the church.
And now here he was, near the age of 50, about to begin a whole new kind of existence--far from all the comforts he had previously known.
By the year 1638, migration to America was just coming into full swing. By this early date, there was still probably less than 15,000 white people along the entire eastern coast of America. The largest group of colonists was in Virginia; the second largest group was in the Massachusetts Bay Colonies.
One of these Bay Colonies was Dorchester, and it was here that Joseph and his family settled and spent the first winter.
During his stay there, Joseph heard stories of the beautiful Connecticut Valley, lying to the west and south of Dorchester. He also learned of the three new settlements located there-Hartford, Whethersfield and Windsor. Early in 1639, he learned that these three towns had met in convention and agreed to govern themselves according to a written constitution. By this act they had united themselves into a Republic, and thus became what is believed to be the first state in the world created by a written constitution. (It is interesting to note: this constitution later became the inspiration upon which was written the United States Constitution almost 150 years later).
Sometime in 1639, Joseph gathered his family together and led them westward to the Connecticut River, thence southward along this river to the little settlement of Windsor, located near the merging of the Farmington and Connecticut Rivers. Here, in 1640, he was given 21 acres of land from the settlement. He then purchased considerable additional acreage lying along both sides of the Farmington River.
It was here at Windsor, that Joseph built his home, and it was here that the children later married. It was also here that wife, Mary, died 23 August, 1652 and that Joseph followed in death 25 November, 1658. (No monuments exist today for either--the oldest Loomis monument in America today being that of their son John who died 1 September, 1688 and is buried in the Windsor Burial Ground).
The home that Joseph built there, at Windsor, still stands today, although it has been incorporated into a much larger structure. This ancestral home has been in continual possession of the Loomis family since that early day. Loomis families occupied this home up until about the end of the nineteenth century when a group of Loomises, all of whom had lost their children, purchased the property and turned it over the "Loomis Institute." The Loomis Institute was uncorporated to serve two main purposes: 1) To insure possession of the ancestral home, and its accompanying property, throughout the foreseeable
future, and 2) to provide the primary funding for the establishment of an educational institution in which Loomis descendants would have first priority.
Today, on this property, stands the Loomis/Chaffee Schools. Not one, but two schools. One for boys and one for girls.
Loomis descendants will always be grateful to those who created the Loomis Institute, for they have insured--hopefully forever more--the preservation of this, our most cherished Loomis site--the homestead.
There are today, many Loomis families living in the southwestern counties of Missouri. Virtually all of these families are descended from Joseph Loomis through William G. Loomis who came to this area in about 1874-75.
William G. Loomiss direct line of descent from Joseph and the travels of those families were as follows:
Generation No. 2-Deacon John born in Essex County, England; came with his parents to America in 1638; died at Windsor.
Generation No. 4-John, born at Windsor 28 March, 1692; moved with his father to Lebanon, Connecticut; died in Connecticut-date and place unknown.
Generation No. 5-John, born at Lebanon, Connecticut 1712; died at Lebanon December, 1755.
Generation No. 6-David, born Lebanon, Connecticut 9 April, 1738; left Lebanon while still young for some other town in Connecticut; left Connecticut about 1787; went up the Hudson River to the Mohawk Valley, Montgomery County, New York; moved to near what is now Auburn, New York in about 1793-94. .He was one of the first settlers there; here he died 2 May, 1806.
Generation No. 7-Samuel, born Connecticut 19 August, 1765; moved with his father to Mohawk Valley and then to near what is now Auburn, New York; there he died 23 September, 1807.
Generation No. 8-David, born probably in the Mohawk Valley, New York 26 December, 1790; near Auburn, with his father; married Celia Grover 29 March, 1814; moved to Springwater, New York sometime before 1820; resided there until about 1832 when he moved to Conneaut, Ohio; after the death of Celia in 1841-43, David moved to Huron County, Ohio where he died 1844.
Generation No. 9-William G., born at Springwater, New York, 27 February, 1820; moved with his father to Conneaut, Ohio about 1832; married Emiline/Katherine Stevens at, or near Conneaut, 1 January, 1841; they later lived in Erie and Ottawa Counties, Ohio where were born their seven children: Morgan, Charles, Hiram, H. (?), Mary Jane, Cecillia and Arretta/Annetta. The family then lived for a short time at Benton County, Iowa and then on to Stone County, Missouri in 1874-75. All of William and Emilines children are believed to have come to Stone County with them.
William and Emilines descendants, the family having now lived for well over 100 years in this area-are greatly inter related with other family groups who came, both early and late, to Southwestern Missouri.
When one studies the history of the Loomis family in America, it at once is apparent--the history of the Loomis family is, at the very same time, the history of a great nation in the making.
It was estimated, in 1908, that those who could trace their ancestry, in a direct line, back to Joseph and Mary Loomis of Windsor, Connecticut numbered well over three and one half million persons.
And now 75 years and more than three generations later, who (?) can say what that number might be? It is certain, that a very significant percentage, of the total United States population can now trace their lineage back through this single pioneer couple.
During the course of my research into the descendants of William and Emiline, I have been continually frustrated by the seemingly, total lack of interest shown by family members. Dozens of letters have been sent out, without a single response. it is my hope, and desire,
that the above brief family history will demonstrate to those family members-both known and unknown-that this is a family of whom we can be extremely proud. In order to become a part of this familys recorded history-we first must have individual family member histories. You can have your Loomis family con nection made a permanent part of the record by writing: Clyde Loomis, P. O. Box 17, Denair, CA 95316.
The surname Loomis, is of Saxon Extraction. The Saxon place name, from which the original surname came, originated sometime around the 11th century. The site of its origin, was near the village of Bolton, located in Lancaster County, England.
The name, as originally used, was "Lumhaulgh." It described a specific area of low lying, level ground, next to a deep pool of water, and also near a bend, in the River Tange.
It is fairly certain that members of the Loomis family lived in this area, even at that early time. However, it was not until the 12th or 13th century that surnames became firmly enough attached to individuals so that the name could be used to identify specific family groups.
The surname, Loomis, is an American Modernization of Lomas, the original form of which was "Lumhalgh," "Lumhaulgh," "Del Lumhalgh," "Lumhales"-pronounced without sounding the letters "H" or "G".
The reader will be reminded in these early times (and indeed, somewhat at least, right up to the present time) the spelling of names was under constant fluctuation. The Loomis family was no exception.
As a matter of fact, the surname Loomis has been spelled 421 different ways just since 1600.
Today in England, there are two distinct branches of the family-one spelling the name "Lomas," and one spelling it "Lomax."
Today in America--although there were at least four different early Loomis migrants-the name is most usually spelled "Loomis." Some specific family lines, do use variations of this spelling.
Copyright Ó White River Valley Historical Quarterly
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