Select Lomas/Loomis Miscellany


Here are some Lomas/Loomis stories
accounts over the years:


From Lumhalghs to Lomas

Lumhalghs is an old village, now abandoned and deserted, near Bury in
Lancashire.  Its earliest reference is in a Latin document of 1210
which roughly translated reads as follows:

“I, Adam de Bury, have given to God and
St. Mary Magdalene of Bretton and to the monks serving there and to the
work of the church one piece of land in Heap which is called Lumhalghs.”

Lumhalghs the place-name became Lumhalges the surname which over time
became Lomas and Lomax.

1333 Richard de Lumhalghes landowner at Penhilton
1435 Radus del Lumhalges rent roll in Bury
1427 Laurent Lomax born in Bolton
1545 Richard Lomax married in Pilsworth
1549 Elizabeth Lomas born in Farnworth
1562 Alice Lomax married in Middleton

Two of these Lomaxes have been traced, the descendants of Richard Lomax
who remained in Pilsworth and who later secured through marriage the
Clayton Hall estate and the descendants of Laurent Lomax who were to be
found in Eye, Suffolk from the late 1400’s.


A Manor Dispute in Bolton

Around 1500, a dispute arose between the lords of the manors of
and Radcliff about a stretch of land on the outskirts of Bolton.
Appearing as witnesses were two elderly Lomaxes, Laurent Lomax said to
be seventy and Richard Lomax reportedly ninety three.

Laurent Lomax of the parish of Bolton “swore upon a book after the
lawyers to lead the way truly between Aynsworth and Radcliff.”  He
took the side of Middleton.  But Richard Lomax, appearing later,
gave testimony in favor of Radcliff.


Lomas and Lomax in England


The table below shows the distribution of the Lomas and Lomax names in
England by county in the 1891 census.

Lomax Lomas Total
Lancashire  3,100  1,400  4,500
Yorkshire     100    500    600
Cheshire  1,000  1,000
Derbyshire    900    900
Suffolk     100    100
Elsewhere     600  2,000  2,600
Total  3,900  5,800  9,700

The Lomax name remeins concentrated in Lancashire (with a little
sprinkling in Suffolk).  The Lomas name has spread more widely,
into Yorkshire, Cheshire, and Derbyshire.


John Lomas, The
Staffordshire Pedlar

John Lomas was born in Colshaw, the son of a pedlar.  As a small
child he travelled with his father and when he became sixteen his
father entrusted him with a pack of goods and bought him his first
license.  He gradually built his business until he had ten men
travelling under him.  He moved into Hollingscough village in 1785.

He had been taught to read and write as a child and in 1786 he appeared
before the House of Commons to argue successfully against a proposal to
abolish licensed hawkers and pedlars.  He and his wife Sarah
became committed Christians and they built a Methodist chapel in the
garden of his home.

When he was an old man he struck up a friendship with Lord Crewe who
owned the manor of Alstonfield, because of their shared interest in
Methodism.  It was Crewe who asked him to write down his life
story, together with the diaries that he kept.  What he wrote
showed (1) that pedlars could be very successful small businessmen, the
forerunners of today’s commercial travellers, and (2) that hawking was
an ideal profession of an evengelizing preacher (as Lomas was).


Lomas and Variants Worldwide

The next table shows the approximate distribution of
Lomases and name variants worldwide today.  

in thousands Lomax Lomas Loomis Others” Total
UK   6.7  10.0  16.7
USA   2.4   0.8   5.6   0.8   9.6
Canada   1.0   0.3   1.3
Australia   0.6   1.2   1.8
New Zealand   0.2   0.4   0.6
Total  10.9  12.4   5.9   0.8  30.0

” Such as Lummus and Lummis.

The Lomax names did change in America.  Lomax stayed
Lomax generally in the South (although there was a small sprinkling of
Lummuses in Georgia and Texas).

But Lomas would become Loomis in
the Northeast and later in the Midwest.  A big influence here were
the family and descendants of Joseph Loomis (said to represent the
third largest of all families in America).


The Early Lomaxes in Maryland

Thomas Lomax, born in Newcastle, arrived in Maryland in the late
1650’s.  He was a backer of Josias Fendall who had seized control
of the colonial Maryland government in 1658 and was the Clerk of the
Court while Fendall briefly held power.  He was tried for acting
“mutinously and seditiously” but found not guilty.

His younger brother Clebourne arrived with his wife
Blanch in 1668 and was also prominent among the colonial gentry and in
the Maryland government.  The Virginia Lomaxes were their



Elisha Loomis in

Albertine Loomis was a teacher of literature and creative
writing in Detroit when she inherited a little red trunk that had twice
traveled around Cape Horn.  There she found the journals of her
great grandparents, Elisha and Maria Loomis, who had been missionary
pioneers in Hawaii.  The Loomises were there from 1819 to 1827.

From this family jewel and her own research of the
period, Albertine Loomis constructed her own fictionalized saga, Grapes of Canaan.


Charles Lummis and the American Southwest

In 1884, he walked from Ohio to California in a pair of knickerbockers
and street shoes to take a job as a reporter for the Los Angeles
.  He gained a national following with weekly letters
about his escapades along the way.  A New England Yankee by birth,
he gained a deep appreciation for both the natural beauty and cultural
diversity of the Southwest, where he remained for the rest of his life.

Charles Fletcher Lummis, almost always attired in his trademark
well-worn, dark green, Spanish-style corduroy suit, soiled sombrero and
red Navajo sash, went on to become one of the most famous and colorful
personalities of his day as a book author, magazine editor,
archaeologist, preserver of Spanish missions, advisor to President
Theodore Roosevelt and a crusader for civil rights for American
Indians, Hispanics and other minority groups.

The New York Times wrote in
its obituary in 1928:

“Charles Lummis was one of the first
discoverers of the southwest.   Many a person had traveled
through Arizona and New Mexico before he did.  A few had written
of it glowingly.  But Mr. Lummis combined the skill and instinct
of a journalist with a deep love of the country.”

A biography of Lummis by Mark Thompson, American Character, The Curious Life of
Fletcher Lummis and the Rediscovery of the Southwest
, was
published in 2001.

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