I grew up in upstate New York around the Saratoga area. I had heard a little bit about the Loomis Gang from my family growing up but never really learned much about their story until I was twelve when my dad purchased Dr. E. Fuller Torrey’s book Ride With The Loomis Gang (1997). I dove into the book and was enthralled with their story. However, it would not be until my mid-twenties that I would re-engage with the gang again.
In my early twenties, I moved from Saratoga to Chicago for work and being separated from my home and family; I felt disconnected. One way that helped reconnect with my family was to research a little bit about the Loomis ancestry. My dad and I mapped out our family history back to Joseph Loomis (of the Massachusetts Bay colony), and I also mapped out the lengthy distance between the Loomis Gang and us. We are distantly related to the outlaws, but it was fun nonetheless to recall the gang and learn a little bit about my family history as well.
A few years later, while in Chicago, I went back to school, and as an undergraduate at Loyola University of Chicago, I took a class titled Heroism, Banditry, and Manhood in the fall 2018 semester. We studied “Robin Hood and Guy of Gisborne” from Reliques of Ancient poetry (1765), Rolf Boldrewood’s Robbery Underarms, and Peter Carey’s True History of the Kelly Gang. The context of the class brought forth a new passion in me to share the story of the Loomis Gang in ways it had not yet been shared. There has been a handful of books and accounts of the Loomis Gang printed over the years, all of them excellent, some fiction some historic, but there was no place online yet that collected these materials and cohesively presented the gang’s story. I dwelled on this until the following year.
As a master’s student in the fall 2019 semester, I took a class on Textual Criticism. In this class, I was drawn to archival and spatial narrative theories, and as a result, the idea of TheLoomisGang.org was born as my seminar project. On November 25th, 2019, I collected my research and began to work on the website.
This website is still very much in its infancy and will be a work in progress for what I hope is a lifelong endeavor. My goal for the site is to create an archive, map, and timeline of the Loomis Gang that will grow over time in its comprehensiveness and will be used as a starting point for other scholars and researchers to study the gang and the system of frontier justice that prevailed in upstate New York during the mid-1800s. Collaboration will remain a fundamental goal of this website, and anyone who would like to share research or offer suggestions, please feel free to contact me with your ideas on the contact page. Also, in the future, I would like to add a component to the website that will promote the growth of a community of researchers that are interested in discussing the Loomis Gang.