Select Lomas/Loomis Miscellany

Here are some Lomas/Loomis stories and 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.

Richard de Lumhalghes
landowner at Penhilton
Radus del Lumhalges
rent roll in Bury
Laurent Lomax
born in Bolton
Richard Lomax
married in Pilsworth
Elizabeth Lomas
born in Farnworth
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 Middleton 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.





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




New Zealand


" 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 descendants.

Elisha Loomis in Hawaii

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 Times.  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 Charles Fletcher Lummis and the Rediscovery of the Southwest, was published in 2001.

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