Loomis Gang

The Loomis gang was the most notorious gang of criminals within Madison County. The following information consists of some brief accounts of newspaper articles about the Loomis family.

The Loomis gang was active from the 1840's to the 1870's. The Loomis farm was located in the western edge of the nine-mile swamp. A big frame house served as headquarters for most of the law breakers of the region. The swamp frequently served as a hideout. By day the Loomis boys posed as respectable sheep farmers. By night they were called burglars, barn burners, and sheep, cattle, horse thieves.


October 12, 1864, the court house was sent on fire and the person who started the fire broke into the engine house and cut all the hoses but had missed a new one which was used to put the fire out.


1865 The county clerk's office was broken into and destruction of various papers had taken place. The supposed motive for this raid upon the county records was the desire to get rid of some uncomfortable papers on file in the office, in the form of criminal indictments. Suspicion as to the perpetrators of this outrage points strongly to individuals who for past years, have had inevitable notoriety in the criminal annals of central New York.

A Sangerfield correspondent of the New York Post stated the Loomis family would steal horses from a stable or pasture that the most diligent search would fail to find even a clue to their whereabouts, so cunningly would their plans be arranged. They would enter bed chambers, having first introduced a narcotic, and steal money and jewelry from the clothes of those who were sleeping within a few feet of them. Sometimes one or two would be convicted and sent to prison but never enough to break up the gang. Whoever had a hand in putting the laws in force was almost sure to have his buildings burned in a short time afterwards.

It had at last reached that point where no one dared arrest them even if he could. The Loomis brothers themselves were well off and very shrewd, having studied the law for the very purpose of learning how they might break it with impurity. The brothers sometimes have been arrested but have almost found enough of their gang who were ready to help them with an alibi. Almost the only man who has dared to oppose them and try to bring them to justice is a constable, later Deputy Sheriff, named Filkens. The gang often threatened his life and more than once tried to take it.

Sheriff Stone and a few of his Deputies went to Sangerfield on Saturday night for the purpose of arresting Plumb Loomis on a bench warrant issued on an indictment found by a Grand Jury for Larceny committed in the town of Lenox. They arrived and found the house surrounded by a large number of excited people, determined to destroy the house and inflict punishment upon its residents.


September 6, 1866 Plumb Loomis was convicted of stealing and sent to jail for 90 days with a fine of $100 dollars. The family afterwards sued the county for $22,000 dollars in damages and received $1,000 dollars in the settlement.

April 1866 Law men heard several men who they had warrants for were being held at the Loomis place. A large posse headed for the farm from Waterville, a second from Hamilton and a third from Morrisville. The house was surrounded, a group kicked the door down and handcuffed every member in the house. The house was looted from top to bottom, after satisfied there was nothing else to take or destroy and a fire was set to the building. Plumb Loomis was dragged to a tree and a noose was yanked around his neck. They asked for Plumbs confession, when he did not speak they let him dangle till he lost consciousness.

These are just a few accounts of the Loomis activities, there are many books published about the Loomis gang if you would like to acquire more knowledge.