Colonel John Mason Loomis
5 January 1825 – 2 August 1900
Mary Jane Hunt Loomis
15 August 1829 – 7 October 1910
Mary Hunt Loomis
16 June 1855 – 5 January 1861
John was born in Windsor, Connecticut in 1825 to a prosperous family. His father was an officer in the state militia and a successful businessman and mill-owner. Mary was born in Sherburn, New York in 1829. They married in 1849 in New York, before returning to Chicago where John had established himself. According to Mary’s 1900 census response, the couple only had two children, and as only little Mary is memorialized on the family monument or mentioned in her father’s obituary, I presume the other child died in infancy and had a less elaborate burial.
John had been an officer in the Chicago Light Guard and at the outbreak of the Civil War was appointed Colonel of the 26th Regiment of the Illinois Infantry Volunteers (which he’d helped organize) by the governor. Their daughter died just three months before the start of the war, and that’s likely a factor in why not only John joined up but also why Mary volunteered to run a company of Red Cross nurses, joining her husband at the front.
John died in 1900 after a long illness and was interred with his daughter. Mary lived another decade and was well-known for her charitable works. When she died in 1910, there were no direct heirs to inherit the fortune. After her father’s death, her mother lived with her for many years, and it’s likely she was an only child.
Instead, the entirety of her estate was left to the Loomis Institute in Windsor, Connecticut, which was founded by her parents-in-law as a way to leave a lasting legacy. Tragically it was not just John and Mary but all of John’s adult siblings who had lost all their own children in childhood. To quote the Loomis Chaffee school’s website, “Their grief found expression through an extraordinary act of trust and selfless generosity in the founding of a school for “all persons of the age of twelve years and upwards to twenty.’” Though she is not mentioned, Mary’s fortune’s contribution to the school’s endowment cannot have had a small impact on its long-term survival.
RIP Loomis Family
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