Judge THADDEUS L. LOOMIS - The preserved genealogy of the Loomis family begins with Joseph Loomis, one of the original settlers of Windsor, Connecticut. He was a native of Braintree, Essex County, England, and emigrated to America in the year 1638. In the family have been men who, in the past and present, have distinguished themselves in science, literature, and in the councils of the state and nation. The family living in this county are but a few removes from Professor Loomis, of Yale College.
Horace Loomis, the father of the subject of the present sketch ,was born in Connecticut. He removed to New York, and in 1838, came west with his family to Illinois, and settled in what is now known as Chesterfield township, where he engaged in farming, stock-raising, and dairying. He remained thus employed until his death, which occurred in 1850.He married Julia Tuttles, who was also a native of Connecticut, but was a resident of New York at the time of her marriage. There were three children born to them, all boys. Two of them are living. The subject of our sketch is the eldest; William B. died in Minnesota, and Horace J. still resides upon the old homestead in Chesterfield township.
Thaddeus, in his youth, in his native state attended the common schools. When he reached the age of twelve years, his father came to Illinois, and here he continued his education during the winter months, and worked upon the farm the remainder of the year. In his nineteenth year he entered the Illinois College at Jacksonville, remained for one year, when he returned home, and one year later entered the law department of the university of Kentucky at Louisville, remained there two years, taking a thorough course, and graduating March, 1849. He returned home, and remained a short time. His health failing , he concluded to make a trip to California by the overland route. He therefore, in company with eight others, among whom was Richard J. Oglesby, late United States Senator from Illinois, made all the necessary arrangements, purchasing their mules, wagons, and provisions, and in the summer of 1849 left St. Joseph, Missouri, and after ninety days of extreme fatigue and hardships reached the "Golden State". Mr. Loomis remained in California for five years, and in that time was principally engaged in mining, hunting and exploring the country. In 1854 he returned home by way of the Isthmus of Panama and West India islands.The 13th of December of the same witnessed his marriage to Miss Sarah, daughter of William and Frances Duckels. She was born in England. Her parents emigrated to America, and settled in Chesterfield township in 1835. Five children have been born to hallow and bless this union, all of whom are yet beneath the parental roof, except George D., the eldest son, who, at this writing, is in the auditor's office of the Kansas and Pacific railroad. Mr. Loomis, after this marriage, purchased land in Carlinville township, and commenced farming. In 1857 he sold out his farm, purchased land near Carlinville, to which place he removed his family, and where he at present resides. From the time above-mentioned until 1861 he was engaged in farming, saw-milling, and furnishing large quantities of the ties and timber for the Chicago and Alton railroad. He also about this time purchased more land lying in close proximity to Carlinville, and laid out an addition to the town, which is known as Loomis' addition.
In 1861 he received the nomination for the office of county judge at the hands of the democratic party, and at the ensuing election in November following was elected by a handsome majority. When Judge Loomis came into office he found county orders and the county's credit below par. This condition of affairs had existed ever since the organization of the county. His first step was to bring the credit of the county up to par, where he maintained it during his entire term of office, which lasted over a period of eight years. At the expiration of his term of office in 1865, he was again nominated and elected. One of his first acts under his second administration was to levy, collect, and pay off the county debt, which amounted to two hundred thousand dollars.In the convention which met in 1865 to nominate candidates for county judge it was understood that the nomination and endorsement of Judge Loomis, carried with it the consent of a majority of the voters of the county to build the courthouse and his defeat by his opponent was equivalent to saying the people were opposed to the building of a Courthouse. That seemed to be the issue, and it was clearly defined. Loomis was nominated, and in the election that followed the proceedings and endorsements of the convention were ratified by a majority of the legal voters of the county. In 1867 the building was commenced, and under the guidance and management of Judge Loomis was completed in the winter of 1869-70. He as the central figure in the building of the new Courthouse which now adorns the county seat. He started upon his mission to build the Courthouse, and he built it; and it stands today a monument to his indomitable courage and will that brooked all defiance and set at naught every will opposed to him. He set his hand to the plow, so to speak, and would not turn back; and time, the great leveler which makes all things even, is slowly but surely applauding him for his courage and constancy in doing what he then youth, and yet thinks, was for the best interests of the whole county. And let it be here said to his credit, that in all the transactions and handing of immense sums of money necessary in that undertaking he came out of it without a stain upon his personal integrity. Of the many who opposed him, none have charged him with official corruption or dishonest.
During all of his business life, Mr. Loomis had been an active, energetic man, full of push and enterprise. Probably no man in the county or town had done more to build up the city of Carlinville, or added to the material wealth of the county than he has. That splendid hostelry which bears his name, the Loomis House, and adorns the northeast corner of the public square of Carlinville, was built by him in 1869.He has been particularly active in railroad matters, and in 1867 organized a company to build a road from Litchfield to Mississippi, but from various caused the work was discontinued, but not certainly abandoned. In 1869 he was mainly instrumental in securing a charter for the "Farmers' Railroad," the terminal points of which were to Jacksonville and Staunton in this county. He hopes at no distant day to revive these enterprises and complete the roads. At present he is engaged in mining coal, shipping considerable coal to other points as well as supplying the home market.
In politics Judge Loomis is a staunch democrat, and has been for many years recognized as one of the leaders of the party. In his manners he is courteous and gentlemanly, and is one of those rare kind of men, who, if once your friend, is always your friend. He is plain and outspoken upon all subjects, and consequently his position upon any question is never left in doubt. When he takes a position and believes he is right, he is as unyielding and firm as a rock. He is a man who attracts to himself strong personal friends. Notwithstanding the great outcry made against him a few years ago, it is doubtful whether any other man possesses more friends in the county than Judge Thaddeus L. Loomis.