LOOMIS, Joseph - I31150

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Joseph Loomis Headstone, pioneer family
Loomis is a name signifying a place in an open field, being taken from the Welsh lom, bare, naked, exposed, and maes, a field. As a surname, first used in Lancashire, England, it was taken from Lomax, in the parish of Bury, that county.[1] The home of the Loomis family in England was at Braintree, once known as Branetre, and also as Rayne-Magna. It is situated in County Essex, forty miles northeast of London, on the main highway to the counties of Suffolk and Norfolk. This locality is on the rising ground beside the Blackwater River, and was the scene of Roman and British occupancy, with medieval ruins abounding in the locality.
A quaint old English custom, established in 1111 at Dunmow, five or six miles west of Braintree, is of interest. It is called the "Dunmow Flitch", tradition having it that

"any person from any part of England, going to Dunmow, in Essex, and humbly kneeling on two stones at the church door, may claim a gammon of bacon, - in other words, a smoked ham - if he can swear that for twelve months and a day he has not had a household brawl, or wished himself unmarried. The Dunmow flitch is said to be still occasionally awarded, though one might suppose it would be rather hard to prove eligibility."[2]

Early in the 13th century Braintree was a market town, a stopping place for thousands of pilgrims on their way to various shrines, especially those of Saint Edmond, at Bury, and Our Lady, at Watsingham. When in the early part of Elizabeth's reign, persecution drove many weavers from the Netherlands, they came to Braintree, and introduced many new methods of manufacturing woolen cloth, especially baize, or "bocking". The town became an important center for this industry, which received the interested approval of and consistent encouragement from the Kings Edward I and II.

When reformation spread throughout England, and dissent and nonconformity to existing ecclesiastical rulings became frequent, persecution came to Braintree, as to many other places. Within its borders much privation and suffering was endured, and even martyrdom was witnessed. In January, 1556, a certain John Lomas, a young man of Tenterden, Kent, was examined and burned for heresy at Canterbury. What kin he was to us we do not know, but that hew was the grandfather or the great uncle of Joseph Loomis, the immigrant, is not improbable.

The account of his trial for heresy, given in Fox's Book of Martyrs, shows certain family traits. When asked if he believed in the Catholic Church or not, he answered that he believed so much as is contained in God's Book, and no more. Seven days later he was again examined as to whether he should be confessed of a priest or not, and he answered that he found it not written that he should be confessed by any priest, neither would he be confessed unless he were accused of some man, of sin. When asked if he believed in the Catholic Church, and would be content to be a member of the same, he again answered that he believed so much as was written in God's Book; other answer than that he refused to give.

On the last of the month he and four women, the husband of one of whom had already been burned, "were burned at two stakes, and one fire together, who, when the fire was flaming about their ears, did sing psalms. We reat the good knight Sir John Norton, being there present, wept bitterly at the sight thereof."[3] After tribulations such as these, when rumors became prevalent of the wonderful land across the seas, where one could worship God according to his own conscience, a place of wealth, fertility, natural resources, timbers, fisheries, opportunity, they made strong appeal to the industrious people of Braintree and its locality, and emigration in large numbers followed. Some came, perhaps, in deep religious fervor to convert the natives to the true faith, while others, doubtless, were attracted by the lure of wealth.

I. Joseph LOOMIS was born about 1590, at Braintree, County Essex, England. He was the son of John Lummys, baptized at Thaxted, same county, 29 January 1562; died 1619; who in 1583 married Agnes LYNGWOOD, daughter of John LYNGWOOD. John Lummys was son of Edward LUMMYS. Agnes Lyngwood's mother was Jane Marlar, and these three families are traced back for many generations in England.

Joseph Loomis was a woolen-draper [i.e.] a merchant, which was a position a little above that of his father, who was a weaver. "It may be that by the death of John Loomis, the martyr, the family dropped into a lower condition than formerly," surmises the writer, Harriet E. B. Loomis. Some were gardeners, an avocation which seems to have marked many generations of the family. Joseph, as merchant, seems to have been successful in improving his social and financial standing, and he was, also, not slow to perceive the advantages of the new continent to the westward, to which so many of his compatriots were removing.

In the will of John Hawkins, dated and proved in the Autumn of 1633, he is spoken of as "a loving friend and neighbor." His name appears on a Braintree tax list of 1 March 1636, "to build a ship at Portsmouth." It has been established that he embarked with his family and that of his brother-in-law, John Porter, on the Susan and Ellen, which sailed from London 11 April 1638 and arrived in Boston 17 of July of that year.[4] Preceding them several years, had come the Whites, Prestons , and Pengellys, and perhaps others of his brothers and sisters and "in-laws," so that it seems likely nearly all the descendants of John Loomis came to America , so that Joseph neither left his kin nor came among strangers.[5]

He settled at Windsor, attracted no doubt by the liberality of the Hartford constitution. The right to vote without church restriction, to take part in the making of laws for the good of all, to bow to no authority outside their own and their Maker's, - that first constitution of a republic, - what civilized man could resist it, even though it took him to the frontier and its perils? Harriet Loomis

Joseph Loomis was granted land at Windsor, 2 February 1640 - a lot of twenty-five acres, thirty-five rods wide - he having arrived, it is thought with Reverend Ephraim Huet's company the year before.[6] He built his house near the mouth of the Farmington River, on the "the Island," so called because at every freshet it became temporarily an island by the overflow of the Connecticut River.

It is claimed that the Loomis family is the oldest one in America to still hold in family possession their ancestral home, that of Joseph Loomis. The house, built by him probably prior to
Joseph Loomis Homestead
1653, and certainly prior to 1658, forms the south ell of the "Loomis House", which may be seen there today. Originally it was of six rooms and a rear porch enclosed on three sides. What is now the larger part of the house was added prior to 1688 by Deacon John Loomis, son of the immigrant, who inherited the homestead. "The house contains a large amount of furniture, china, luster, pewter, candlesticks, bedspreads, linen, and the like, used by the Loomis family, some of it as far back as the seventeenth century. Upon the wall hangs an original deed containing the signature of Joseph Loomis, pioneer, as a witness, dated 17 April 1652."

There was in the house for many years an iron fireback, brought from one of the old fireplaces of England by either Joseph Loomis or some other early settler of Windsor, which had emblazoned on it the royal coat-of-arms and the letters M. R. Regina, showing it was mad during the reign of Mary I, Queen of England 1533-1558. It is now in "Founder's Hall," the next building to the "House", forming a part of the Loomis Institute. The original house had two fireplaces, and as remodeled prior to 1688, six, besides the oven in the dining-room. The house and land on which it stands, together with the original plot, have not been out of the Loomis family since 1640, until, in 1901, it became the property of the Loomis Institute, a school founded and endowed by members of the Loomis family[7]

This school was established in 1874, in honor of Joseph Loomis, and gives gratuitous education to worthy boys over twelve years of age. Colonel John Mason Loomis, of Chicago, left this Institute an endowment of one million two hundred thousand dollars, in presenting which he said, in part

Hoping to leave some mark for good upon our race and time, we present to the Loomis Family this, their Hearthstone, and endow it with all we have, inviting them to rally around the shrine, from which their boys and girls shall take the highest inspirations for better and grander lives from the best of the race who have gone before, and, like them, ever keep the banner of human progress, honor and manhood to the front.</span[8]</blockquote>) This old homestead is situated on the elevated ground on the west bank of the Connecticut River, and commands an uncommonly fine view of the river and valley. It had indeed become a shrine to the descendants of the man who first built there his pioneer home, - those descendants numbering by actual count, 5,270,540 {recorded in 1923}.

Joseph Loomis married at Shalford, Essex, England 30 June 1614, Mary, daughter of Robert WHITE and Bridget ALLGAR, of Messing, Essex, England. She was born 24 August 1590, and died in Windsor, Connecticut, 23 August 1652. Near her, in her New England home, had lived her sisters - Anna, wife of John Porter, and Elizabeth, wife of William Goodwin - and her brother, the Elder John White, of Hartford, Connecticut.([9] Six years after the death of his wife, Joseph Loomis passed to his reward, 25, November 1658. On 2 December 1658, an agreement of equal division of his estate was signed by all his children.

Loomis Coat of Arms


  1. Joseph, born in England about 1616; married first to Sarah Hill on 17 September 1646, She bore two sons and two daughters, and died 23 August 1653. He married, again, on the 28 June 1659, Mary Chauncey, and had five sons and two daughters. He was made a freeman in 1654, and died 26 June 1687.
  2. Sarah born 1617; married Captain Nicholas OLMSTED.
  3. Elizabeth; married 20 May 1641, Josiah, son of George and Thamzen Hull, of Dorchester; moved to Killingworth. He was born 5 November 1620, and was deputy to General Court. They had five sons and six daughters. She was living in 1665; he died 16 November 1675.
  4. John, born in England 1622; resided a while at Farmington; was a deacon; admitted to Windsor church 11 October 1640. He married 3 February 1649, Elizabeth, born 1625, daughter of Thomas Scott, of Hartford. On 3 May 1643, he received grant of 40 acres from the Plantation. He lived a while, eight years, in Farmington, returning to Windsor in 1660. Was deputy to General Court 1666-7, 1675-1687. He died 1 September 1688. There is a monument to his memory in the Windsor burying ground. His will, sighed John Loomys, is preserved in Probate Office at Hartford, It was dated 27 August 1688, and mentions land on both sides the river. His wife survived him. They were the parents of eleven sons and two daughters.
  5. Thomas, born in England; married the first time to Hannah Fox on 12 November 1653. She bore two sons and two daughters and died 25 April 1662. He married, again, 1 January 1663 to Mary, daughter of Thomas Judd. She became the mother of two sons and five daughters, and died 8 August 1684. He was freeman 1654; owned a farm in East Windsor. He died 28 August 1689.
  6. Nathaniel, born in England; married 24 November 1653, Elizabeth, born 1638, daughter of John Moore. He was made freeman 1654. He was an early settler on the east side of the Great River. He was admitted to the church 3 May 1663. He died 19 August 1688. His will, dated 17 August 1688, and signed Nathaniel Loomys, is still preserved at Hartford. His wife died 23 July 1728. they had seven sons and five daughters between 1655 and 1680.
  7. Mary, married a first time to John Skinner who died in 1650. She remarried 13 November 1651, to Owen Tudor. They had two sons and three daughters. She died 19 August 1680, and he died 30 October 1690, at Windsor.
  8. Samuel, married on 27 December 1653, Elizabeth, daughter of Thomas Judd. He was a lieutenant; freeman 1654; admitted to church 26 November 1661. Between 1672 and 1675 he removed to Westfield, Massachusetts, selling his house in Windsor in 1679. He died 1 October 1689, and his widow died 7 May 1696. They had two sons and three daughters born between 1660 and 1670.


II. Sarah LOOMIS, born 1617 in England, married 28 September 1640 to Captain Nicholas OLMSTED.

See the Olmsted sketch for continuation of that family line.

SOURCE: The Ancestry & Posterity of Joseph Smith and Emma Hale by Audentia Smith Anderson (1926


  1. (Directory of Ancestral Heads of New England Families, Holmes,)
  2. (Article by Harriett E. B. Loomis)
  3. (Ibid.)
  4. (Encyclopedia of Biography, Samuel Hart, 175.)
  5. (Harriet Loomis)
  6. (Genealogy of Loomis Family, Elizabeth Loomis, 25.)
  7. .(Ibid.)
  8. >(Journal of American History 4:284
  9. New England Historical and Genealogical Register 55:22-31)