Central New York’s Most Notorious Gang
The Loomis gang was a corrupt bunch of characters from the Waterville area who were experts at manipulation, deceit, and covert operations back in the 1800's. The gang's patriarch was a man named George Washington (Loomis.) It's a shame he shared the same name as our first President. Mr. Loomis's wife (Rhoda) was the daughter of a French Revolutionary officer. She was morally bankrupt and actually encouraged her children to steal. However, they were warned of the whipping they would receive if they got caught in the act. The children were highly educated and wore the best clothes. They were well spoken and had excellent manners. Rhoda figured that the likely hood of getting caught would be diminished if they appeared to be noble, upstanding citizens. She was right.
The Loomis family was shrewd and cunning; they were careful to earn the trust of their neighbors and generally did not steal from people who lived near them. When a neighbor's livestock was plundered, those who went to the Loomis farm for help often received aid in recovering their property. The family has been convicted on several occasions but whenever it came time for the prison door to slam in their face, someone would step up and supply the bail money. The Loomis family paid off several authority figures and local farmers to take care of that job.
One of the Loomis gang's most clever horse stealing tactics was to paint the animal a different color after they looted it. Often they would use silver nitrate, household gloss, and even mashed potatoes to make the horse look totally unrecognizable. I know what you're thinking, mashed potatoes?!! Yeah, I'm not exactly sure how that worked. The Loomis Gang wreaked havoc on Central New York for nearly 60 years. These underhanded crooks were adept at playing hide n go seek and often concealed themselves near the impenetrable Nine Mile Swamp.
Just Jen and I talked about the Loomis Gang this morning.