Andrew J. Loomis

Andrew Jackson Loomis, Lester Loomis' father, was a direct descendant of Joseph Loomis, who was born in Essex county, England, in 1590, and sailed from London in 1638 for America and settled on land at Windsor, Connecticut.

Andrew Loomis and his family were true western pioneers. Andrew was born in a log cabin near the town of Hillsboro, Missouri, on April 24, 1833. His father went for the doctor and left his Grandma Miller with his Mother. A raging, roaring thunder storm came up, and his father lost his way. The doctor did not arrive until long after Andrew did. The family remained there about 11 months. When the Blackhawk War was over, the family went to Fort Clark, Illinois, which is now Peoria, where they lived for thirty years.

In 1855 Andrew married Miss Ellen C. Smith, of Peoria. The couple had eight children, three boys and five girls. Lester Grant Loomis was born on August 3, 1863, in Peoria, Illinois, the fifth of the couple's children.

Andrew Loomis answered President Lincoln's first call for Civil War volunteers, and enlisted in Peoria in 1861. In 1863, the year of Lester's birth, he traveled from Illinois to California, sailing from New York by way of the Isthmus of Panama. In 1864 he returned from California and then moved his family to Omaha, Nebraska territory, where he was in the mercantile business.

In 1874 he moved with his family to San Francisco and then to Los Angeles, and later had mining interests at Reno, Nevada, where he resided for several years.

Andrew Loomis ran a general merchandise store in Milford, California, for a time before moving to Blaine, Washington, in 1883, very close to the border with Canada. He homesteaded 160 acres near Haynie, about 10 miles southeast of Blaine, and spent the remainder of his life in the Blaine area. He died in Blaine on June 3, 1915, and is buried in the family tomb in Blaine Cemetery.

Lester's mother, affectionately called Katie by his father, died in 1876 Santa Clara, California, when Lester was only thirteen years old.

Andrew's younger brother Henry Loomis also lived in Blaine. Henry was known for his political views, and in 1892 was rumored to be the next people's party candidate for president. His presence in the area is memorialized by the Loomis Trail Road which he built, and is still maintained today. The road takes travelers past historic farms and the beautiful Loomis Trail Golf Club

Lester's older brother, Charles Almeron Loomis, was born in Peoria in 1856. He, like his father, was a businessman and had businesses in Reno, Milford, and Blaine, He ran a store in Reno, and a sawmill in Milford. In 1890 he moved to Blaine where he ran the Arlington restaurant. He is remembered for constructing a turn-of-the-century structure at 288 Martin Street in Blaine. Recently remodeled and now known as the Loomis Hall, it was earlier called the Loomis Opera House. The grand opening, reported January 8, 1904, by the Blaine Journal, was a gala event.

Charles was appointed a police judge on July 19, 1896. He ran a business in Seattle for awhile, before eventually returning to Blaine after the death of his father. Charles died November 26, 1937 at age 81. He is buried in the Blaine cemetery. His wife, Edith Vallaincourt Loomis, predeceased him by six years. Edith is entombed with Andrew Jackson, Charles and Edith's daughter Iola, and grandson Burdette.

Andrew Loomis' daughter Effie Kate also settled in Blaine, and spent several years caring for her father during the final period in his life.

Flora Loomis was close to her bother Lester and, unlike most others in the family, did not settle in Washington state. She spent most of her life in the Reno and Los Angeles areas. She died in 1909 and is buried with her husband Farquhar "Frank" McRae next to Lester and Grace in Inglewood Park Cemetery in Los Angeles.

Ira W. Loomis, Lester's younger brother, also lived near him in Los Angeles, and with Lester used to search the local mountains for gold. In the late 1880s he worked as a ticket taker at the Chinese Theater in Los Angeles (not to be confused with Grauman's Chinese Theater, which was not built until 1927), and in 1889 he was appointed a special officer in the LAPD assigned to the Theater. He died in 1900 at the age of thirty.

[Initial Version: 02/01/07]
[Sources: A.J. Loomis obituary, A.J. Loomis diary, Blaine Journal extracts, Census Records, Lester Loomis Journals]