19-year-old New England bride made Hannibal home, circa 1860

January 14, 2017

 

In 1885, the Loomis & Snively Coal and Wood Yard encompassed an area along Bear Creek to the south, Collier Street to the north and Main Street to the east. The compound stretched from Main Street west to South Third Street.  According to Sanborn maps, by 1890, the company had disbanded and the coal and wood yards were owned by Pierson (an inlaw of Loomis) and Dubach. Hannibal city directories show that Andrew G. Brown owned the property between 1892 and 1895. By 1899, the property was identified on the Sanborn map as the Cruikshank Lumber and Coal Co. The Hannibal city directory of 1892 shows that Gustav A. Siedler had a cigar and tobacco shop on the northwest corner of Bear Creek and South Main that year.  Based upon these facts, it is believed that this picture, from the CB&Q Railroad yards facing west to Main Street, was taken between 1892 and 1895. At left is Union Depot, where Mr. and Mrs.  W.A. Loomis attended the grand opening ball in 1882. PHOTO FROM THE STEVE CHOU COLLECTION.

 

 

This advertisement in the Macon Republican on Oct. 4, 1895, reflects the demise of the Loomis Coal Company, in Hannibal and other parts of the state.

 

MARY LOU MONTGOMERY

 

Lois Malvina Pierson Loomis was but 19 years old in 1860, a young bride living in a land that must have seemed completely foreign compared to her New England heritage.

 

A young woman with a pedigree linking her ancestors to military service during the Revolutionary War, the Connecticut native, found herself living in Hannibal, not far from the banks of the Mississippi River. Not only was she living with her husband – Wilbur H. Loomis who was a decade her senior – but she was also sharing quarters with her two older brothers, Jerome S. Pierson and Martin L. Pierson.

 

Soon to follow the Pierson family to Hannibal would be Lois’s parents, Luther C. and Sabrina Pierson, who would spend the remainder of their lives on Hannibal soil.

 

The Loomis and Pierson families were among the throngs of New England settlers who moved to the Midwest in the years preceding the onset of the Civil War. Breadwinners, in search of business and investment opportunities, moved west. Many of the immigrants arrived and stayed in Hannibal and other Midwestern regions, bringing with them their European-influenced beliefs and customs; many others returned to their native soil after the drums of unrest between the states grew increasingly loud.

 

Just prior to the onset of the Civil War, in 1859, Lois’ brother, M.L. Pierson, was proprietor of Missouri Match Works, located at the corner of Ninth and Walnut streets on Hannibal’s south side. W.H. Loomis was general agent for the company.

Both families lived on the east side of Seventh, between Center and Market

 

Lois and Wilbur Loomis called Hannibal home for the next three decades. This is where they raised their children, he conducted an oil and coal business, they were both active members of the Congregational Church and ultimately, where they were laid to rest in Riverside Cemetery, beside her parents.

 

Union Depot

Christening

No one was more aware of the role that railroads played in Hannibal’s early development than Wilbur H. Loomis. From the time of his arrival in town pre-1860 until he and his wife moved from Hannibal in 1894, Mr. Loomis was a frequent traveler by rail to routes throughout Missouri and beyond. Each trip across the state furthered his business interests in wholesale sales of salt, coal and oil.

 

Lora Loomis, daughter Lois and Wilbur Loomis of Hannibal, was but a toddler in 1882, when her parents – living in the 1200 block of Bird Street - dressed in their finest attire in preparation for a grand night of gaiety. Lois and Wilbur were among more than a hundred of Hannibal’s elite couples attending a grand ball to celebrate the Union Depot’s completion near the northeast corner of the intersection of South Main and Collier streets.

 

The Union Depot Company had been organized and incorporated in 1881, and construction was completed in 1882. In June 1882 the Hannibal Ball officially christened the grand structure.

 

“Postlewaite’s Band (of St. Louis) furnished the music, and St. Louis was further honored in the selection of one of her most popular caterers, who supplied a magnificent banquet early in the evening, and a splendid supper at midnight,” the Globe Democrat reported.

Perhaps just as important in its coverage were the individual descriptions offered for the costumes and accessories worn by the women in attendance.

Mrs. Loomis, age 41, wore “black brocaded satin; point lace garniture.”

 

The Hagoods, in “The Story of Hannibal,” describe Hannibal’s Union Depot:

“It was a three-story structure with a central skylight. The upper floors were open in the center, with railings around the open corridors. The large first floor waiting room had decorative tile floors and excellent woodwork. Massive beams were in evidence in the high ceiling. A separate, smaller waiting room was provided for women. The benches for waiting passengers were of sturdy oak resembling church pews. The dining room was in the southeast corner of the building, and could be enclosed for meetings. Adjacent to the waiting room, there was a small lunch room and the Union News Company operated a newsstand next to it, selling sundries also. A large baggage room occupied the rear of the first floor. A hotel with 22 rooms on the upper floors accommodated overnight passengers. The plumbing was modern for the day, and the entire building was steam heated. The exterior was ornate, and the structure was surmounted by an impressive clock tower. Long covered platforms fanned out for passengers entering and departing from trains.”

 

Christian woman

Mrs. Loomis’ death notice in the Chillicothe Constitution Tribune on May 27, 1905, described her life as spent in charitable acts. She was a member of the Congregational Church family her entire adult life. “Those who mourn her can live in the memory of her truly Christian character.

 

 

Six children

The Loomis’ family consisted of six children, all born in Hannibal.

Lewis J. Loomis, 1860-1920. He died in Denver, Colo., just a few weeks before his father’s death. Both bodies were shipped to Hannibal by rail, one from Denver and the other from Iowa, and arrived in Hannibal on the same train. Buried at Riverside Cemetery.

Edwin Luther Loomis, born in 1875; he drowned in the Mississippi River on July 31, 1879, two days before his 4th birthday. Buried at Riverside Cemetery.

Frederick Pierson Loomis, born in 1872. In 1940 he was a wholesale coal dealer in Omaha, Neb. He died March 7, 1955, in Pima, Ariz.

Effa DeEtta Loomis, born in 1877 and died Nov. 24, 1882. Buried at Riverside Cemetery

Lora Elmore Loomis, born in 1879. She and her husband made their home in Council Bluffs, Iowa. She died in 1963, and is buried with her husband at Fairview Cemetery, Council Bluffs, Iowa.

Wesley Horace Loomis Jr., was born March 29, 1884, and died Sept. 19, 1946. He is buried at Elmwood Cemetery, Kansas City, Mo.

 

Sources include:

The Story of Hannibal, J. Hurley and Roberta Hagood.

St. Louis Globe Democrat, June 11, 1882 (Nineteenth Century U.S. Newspapers)

 

 

 

 

 

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