Biography of Harvey James Loomis

Harvey James Loomis. During his long residence within the borders of Wabaunsee County, the late Harvey James Loomis worked out an admirable destiny, and from small beginnings drew around him for the comfort and happiness of his later years such substantial compensations as wealth, the affectionate devotion of his well established children, the eredit for having contributed largely to the general development of the community, and the confidence and good will of his business and social assocates.

Mr. Loomis was born on a farm near Wadsworth, Modina County, Ohio, February 18, 1828, the second son of the four children born to James and Lodemia Loomis, who were farming people all their lives. The progenitor of the family came to America from England, shortly after the arrival of the Mayflower, and for years the family was well and favorably known in agriculture, in business and in the professions in New England, but, with the westward tide of civilization, gradually drifted toward the West. Harvey James Loomis received his edueation in the distriet schools of Medina, and, like other farmer’s sons in Ohio at that day, helped his father on the home place during the summer months. He remained on the homestead until his marriage to Miss Sarah A. Reasnor, a native of Pennsylvania, of whose parents little is known as she was left an orphan early and from young girlhood had cared for herself. Five children were born to this union: Gaylord, who is deceased; Loia, who is now Mrs. T. P. Babst, of Wabannses County; Ralph J., who is retired and resided at Topeka; Carrle, who is now Mrs. J. R. Tomson, of Dover, Kansas; and Joseph H. of Elk Ridge, Kansas.

In 1857 Harvey J. Loomis and his wife came to Kansas, making the journey down the Ohio and up the Mississippi River by boat to Saint Louis, then going to Leavenworth, Kansas, and completing their journey by ox team to Wabaunsee County. Mr. Loomis located a claim of 160 acres and built a log house, in which they lived until he completed a stone house on Mission Creek. During his early years Mr. Loomis experienced the hardships and inconveniences which are incident to the career of the settler on the frontier. His land was broken with an ox team and primitive plow, and it was necessary for him to go to Leavenworth for his provisions and mail, a journey which consumed a week. When the Civil war broke out he enlisted in the Kansas State Militia and served during the expected raid of Price, and was thus exempt from service in the regular army. Later, when the mail was brought by stage from Leavenworth and Council Grove, he, as one of the leading men of his community, was made postmaster and established his office in the basement of his home. He rapidly assumed a position of importance among the early settlers of his loeality, and was elected the first county assessor of Wabaunsee County. He took an active part in the campaigns and after serving for many years as township trustee, member of the school board and justice of the peace, was finally sent as representative of Wabaunsee County to the Kansas Legislature. During his candidacy for the Legislature on the republican ticket he rode horseback all over the county.

During the early days Mr. Loomis was a tower of strenght in his communlty. Respected and esteemed, he always held out a helping hand to those in misfortune and his charities were many. During the time he was justice of the peace it was ever his aim to settle all matters amicably, without recourse to the law, and a large number of the cases brought before him were settled out of court, many interesting stories still being told to this effect. On one occasion, when a man of his neighborhood had thrown a pitchfork at a cow belonging to a neighbor with whom he had quarreled, Judge Loomis advised a peaceable settlement, and, when he found that the defendant had no money, lent him a sum out of his own pocket and the ineident was happily closed. For many years he affiliated with the Masons and few men had a wider circle of friends in that body. He was a charter member of the Congregational Church at Dover, which he supported generously. In 1872 he became a partner of George W. Daily, in a general store business, which was practically wiped out two years later when the grasshoppers came to Wabaunsee County, but he made a fresh start and through energy and perseverance made a success of his undertakings. Mr. Loomis’ death occurred at Topeka, where he had lived in retirement for two years, September 26, 1914, at which time there passed away one who had taken an active part in the building of Kansas and its institntions. He is still remembered with affection by those among whom he lived and labored for so many years, and who had always found him a kind, generous and helpful friend. Mrs. Loomis, who died August 26, 1896, was a gentle, lovable woman, yet courageous and untiring, a faithful helpmate to her husband and a woman who had the affection of a wide circle of friends.


Connelley, William E. A Standard History of Kansas and Kansans. Chicago : Lewis, 1918. 5v. Biographies can be accessed from this page: Kansas and Kansans Biographies.

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