HON. EDWARD LOOMIS, M.D., a widely known citizen of Oneida, held in much respect for professional skill, for his active interest in matters pertaining to the public good, and for sterling traits of character, one of the early Abolitionists, was born in Westmoreland, Oneida County, November 8, 1806. While his remote ancestors were English, his father, Erastus Loomis, and his grandfather, Nathaniel Loomis, were natives of Connecticut, where they lived until 1796. In that year the elder Loomis, a shoemaker by trade, accompanied by his wife and children, came to New York, making the journey overland with two pairs of oxen and a horse, bringing provisions, and cooking and camping by the
way. Oneida was then included in Herkimer County, and Whitestown and New Hartford were small villages, while Utica had not yet begun to exist. There was no post-office between Whitestown and Cazenovia. Postage-stamps had not come into use, and twelve and a half cents were charged for the delivery of each letter. Buying a tract of land in this wooded wilderness, Nathaniel Loomis built
a small log house for immediate occupancy, and proceeded by the usual process of cutting and burning to clear the land for cultivation. In the course of time the primitive log structure was replaced by more elaborate buildings better adapted to the needs of the household; and here the parents made their home during the remainder of their lives.
Erastus Loomis, a youth of nineteen at the time of the family removal, was far from robust, and unable to do much hard labor, although bred to farm work. There was a newspaper printed at Whitestown; and he carried the mail and papers from Whitestown to Cazenovia, a distance of thirty miles, making the trip on horseback, and delivering them along the route. This was just prior to his erection of a paper mill in the town of Westmoreland, the first one built west of Troy; and he was engaged in the manufacture of paper until he reached the age of sixty years, when he sold the mill, and, going back to the old homestead, which in the mean time he had acquired by purchase, again turned his attention to farming. Here he died at the age of seventy-seven years. He married Lucy
Demming, a native of Massachusetts, and daughter of Jonathan Demming. She became
the mother of five children--Clark D., James B.,
Edward, Henry, and Lucy A.
Edward Loomis received a district-school education. At the ages of nineteen and
twenty years he taught school during the winter season, and the rest of the year worked on the farm. Soon after attaining his majority he began the study of medicine at Manlius Four Corners, now Fayetteville. He was graduated from Fairfield College in 1830, and directly entered on the duties of his profession at Lowell. After a few months in that village he removed to Westmoreland, where
he was in active practice until 1862, when he joined the United States army, as Surgeon of the One Hundred and Seventeenth New York Infantry. Indefatigable in the discharge of his duties, while holding this position he examined fully three-fourths of the men in the regiment. In May, 1863, he resigned his commission, and, returning to New York, on the 10th of June settled in Oneida. Mainly to his philanthropic foresight and business enterprise was due the
organization in 1866 of the Oneida Savings Bank, which, like other similar institutions honestly conducted, has proved of great benefit to the community in promoting habits of economy and thrift. He continues to fill the responsible position of Treasurer, to which he was elected in the beginning.
Dr. Loomis married in 1831 Charlotte Buell, who was born in Westmoreland, a
daughter of Benjamin Buell. Some time after her death, December 13, 1843, he married for his second wife Miss A. Jane Meeker, a native of Fairfield, Conn., and born December 11, 1812. He has had eight children, four by each marriage, all now deceased. He has five
daughters living. A Whig in his early manhood, the Doctor cast his first Presidential vote for John Quincy Adams.
Early impressed with the iniquities of the slave-holding system, he became an ardent Abolitionist, and was for many years a coworker of Gerrit Smith and other prominent anti-slavery agitators. His experience as a delegate to the Utica convention that was broken up by a mob and adjourned to Peterboro shows that in those days it took men with strung convictions of duty and with something of the martyr spirit to espouse an unpopular cause, however just. The Doctor and a companion started from Vernon to drive to Peterboro to attend the convention. The object of their journey being known to people who did not approve of it, they were frequently hooted at along the route, and at length found their course obstructed by a pole placed across the road about ten inches from the ground. Driving over this without much difficulty, they were pursued by a shower of rotten eggs, with which their carriage was soon besmeared. Nothing daunted,
they kept on their way, and took part in the proceedings of the convention, their ardor in the good cause not in the least cooled by this sort of treatment. The Doctor never cleansed his carriage, but drove over the country in the pursuit of his duties as a physician, carrying without fear the colors that had been given him by his enemies. Safe to say, no one of those early agitators lived to regret the part he took in arousing public sentiment against the perpetuation of African slavery in America. Happy those who, having put their hands to the plough, looked not back till the field was furrowed, the good seed sown, and Freedom's harvest assured.
The subject of this sketch was one of the organizers of the Republican party, and has continued a stanch supporter of its principles. He served as a Member of the Assembly in 1858 and 1859, and has since acceptably filled various public offices of trust. The Doctor is a fine example of what true manhood, temperate habits, and upright character can impart to a man. This brief record of his life, accompanied by his portrait, showing him at the age of fourscore, will be appreciated by his many friends.
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