Finney Reform Loomis, from Evert's Atlas of Medina County, Ohio, 1874.
Ohio has yielded a few new strange name discoveries over the past few days, the most interesting of which belongs to the above-pictured gentleman.....Finney Reform Loomis! A resident of Medina County, Ohio for the majority of his life, Loomis was a veteran of the Civil War and later gained distinction as a prominent Buckeye state publisher, being the editor and owner of both the Medina Gazette and the Norwalk Chronicle. Loomis' placement on the site rests on his service as a representative from Medina County to the Ohio General Assembly, where he served for one term.
Born at Lodi, Medina County Ohio on September 3, 1841, Finney Reform Loomis was one of eight children born to Milo (1802-1852) and Lucy Greenly Loomis (died 1852), both natives of New York. With the deaths of their parents of typhoid fever in October and November 1852 the Loomis siblings were left parentless, and despite this tragic loss young Finney pressed on, taking work as a clerk and school teacher during his youth. He enlisted in the Union Army in June 1862 and served with the Eighth Ohio Volunteer Infantry. Loomis would receive several promotions during his service on the battlefield and was "severely wounded" at the Battle of Antietam in September 1862. He was again wounded at the Battle of Gettysburg the following year and in July 1864 was mustered out, having achieved the rank of first lieutenant.
Finney R. Loomis married his first wife Helen Gray Slater on December 4, 1862. Less than a year after their marriage Helen Slater Loomis died and two years following her passing Loomis remarried in January 1865 to Catherine C. Killmer (1844-1913). The couple were wed for over four decades and had one son, Clare Reform (1871-1892), who died of typhoid in February 1892 at just twenty years of age.
At the conclusion of his war service, Loomis was honored with the appointment as postmaster of his hometown of Lodi, an office in which he served until 1873. In August of that year, he received the Republican nomination for representative to the Ohio General Assembly, to which he was elected in October 1873. Loomis served one term in the legislature (1874-1876) and during that term was a member of the following committees: Blind, Deaf and Dumb and Imbecile Asylums, Claims and Retrenchment.
Loomis during his Civil War service (picture courtesy of Find-A-Grave.)
Loomis declined renomination in 1876 and in that same year made his first venture into the publishing field, purchasing "a half interest" in the Medina Gazette. He would serve that paper as an owner and its editor until 1879, whereafter he sold off his interest and purchased the Norwalk Chronicle, of which he was "sole proprietor and editor."
Remarked as being "one of the temperance advocates of Ohio", Finney R. Loomis was affiliated with a few church-related organizations in Medina and Huron County, including service as president of both the Huron County Bible Society and the Huron County Sunday School Association. Loomis was also active in veteran's organizations, being a past commander of the M.F. Wooster Post, No, 34 of the G.A.R. chapter of Norwalk, Ohio and for one year held the presidency of the Ohio Command of the Union Veterans Union.