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Meet the Loomises: 1939

Meet the Loomises: 1939

        Social Distancing 1.0 -- no matter how close you get, these folks are always at least six feet away.

October 1939. "Graveyard, Shaftsbury Center, Bennington County, Vermont." You can exhume the hi-res Loomises by clicking here. Acetate negative by John Vachon. View full size.


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Illicit Loomis branch

One branch of New England Loomises drifted West to Madison County, New York, and for several generations were known as the “Loomis Gang,” operating out of the Nine-Mile Swamp, not far from Utica. They alternated horse theft with other larcenies, and were adept at escaping raids by the local sheriff. Witnesses to their offenses were often stricken with amnesia around the time the cases reached the court docket. Only the eventual deaths of the key figures brought an end to the Gang’s colorful adventures.

Interesting Icon

Here's my take. The tree is a symbol of Jesus and the cross in a lot of Christian communities worldwide. A fruit (or acorn) bearing tree would be a symbol of spiritual rebirth and to family. The chain and the caption of "United above, divided below" represents the passing away of a loved one who will be reunited with family again in heaven. Now tell me I'm wrong.

Ah, the Loomis clan.

Fairly prolific bunch of New England settler folk. Among their many descendants are such luminaries (Loomis-naries?) as Doodles Weaver and his niece Sigourney.

Got a Loomis in my own family tree, too—the same one on both sides, as a matter of fact. She's the reason my parents were seventh cousins, and the reason an ex and I (who met by chance a quarter of a world away, on another continent entirely) are eleventh cousins on both sides of our families.

New England genealogy, the source of endless amusement.

Clarrisa, Clarissa

Anyone else notice that Clarissa's name is misspelled on her headstone?

[Or if her name is Clarrisa, the typo is on her son's headstone. - Dave]

Never mind the acorn

The more important part of the carving is the broken chain, symbolizing an ended life. This can also refer to the "divided below," meaning the family circle which is now broken, while "united above" refers to the deceased reunited with God in Heaven.

Forests in New England come full circle

Much of New England was clear cut of timber in the pre-Revolutionary days to create farmland. However, once the Erie Canal, and later, the railroads, came in and opened up the fertile (and flatter) lands of the Midwest to farming, most of the agricultural lands were abandoned, and the forests regrew. It took a couple of hundred-odd years, but now the forests are more verdant than before.


Thank you for that, Archivist. But what does the oak signify in this context? I must confess I’m a bit adrift here. I get that the chain is united above and divided below (whatever that really means), but does it also refer to the family – united in life, divided in death? I’m puzzled.

Not much has changed

Except for more trees. It's always interesting to see how many more trees exist today than in America of the early 20th century.

An acorn?

If it is a giant acorn, it is a clumsy image, given its disproportion to the tree. But a tree by itself, or an acorn by itself, might not convey anything, and an acorn proportional to the tree would not be noticed. It brings to my mind the verse from the gospel of John, "Unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit." It might be difficult to portray the fall of a grain of wheat in sculpture, but a tree and an acorn seem readily intelligible.

Now, but before the trees in front

Foo. Having once again forgotten how to embed a Street View.

(Edit: Thanks. I've told others in the past how to embed Street View, but, as happens, this time didn't find the trick. A note in the FAQ/Instructions would be handy.



Anyway, trees and jet trails now, but the fence remains.

Vachon had such a good eye.

United Above

Divided Below. (Okay, I'll bite: What's that ball?)

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