Archive for the ‘Historical Novels’ Category

The Loomis Gang Rides Again

Have you heard of the Loomis Gang?  This was a family from Madison county, New York that lived slightly more than slightly outside of the law.

Local lore in Upstate New York is often talked about with shock and awe, or chest out proud of, the outrageous acts reported to have been performed by this complete family of thieves.

When you ain’t got nuthin’ you got nuthin’ to lose, comes to mind.  It is said by many that the mom of this group of 19th century Robin Hoods was the instigator and trained her boys that if it ain’t tied down, bring it home, mentality.

Oh and if you are about to go on trial and all of the evidence against you is in the court house, well then it would be a good thing if the court house burned down, which actually did occur.

One author, Charles Brutcher, of a very rare book titled; “Joshua, a Man of the Finger Lakes”, Syracuse, 1927, made the claim that the founder of the Rockefeller fortunes got his start with a close association with the Loomis Gang.

In this historical novel the author throughout the book used the name of Big Bill Rockwell as he described his life of thievery and deceit, horse theft, bigamy and his association with the Loomis’s is a wild tale for sure.  It is claimed that the author went to the Rockefeller family to attempt to have them purchase his manuscript, can you spell blackmail?, and after being rejected inserted an addendum into the rear of this book that blatantly explained that throughout the book his use of the name Big Bill ‘Rockwell’ should be changed to “Rockefeller” and that the novel was a true story.

Turns out that William Rockefeller, the father of John D. Rockefeller, the founder of the Standard Oil Company, was born in Upstate New York and the genealogy of this family commenced in Moravia, Cayuga county.  Brutcher’s claim was that Big Bill Rockefeller, the convicted bigamist, used to steal horses down around Pennsylvania and Corning areas and would trade them with the Loomis Gang.  Should make a fun project for some serious historians and genealogists to tackle.

Well you may read some modern discoveries that are going on now by a dedicated historian, Robert Betz, in Madison county that is working on these Loomis stories and his articles are being published in the “Madison County Courier” newspaper which you can read online at:

There are several books on the Loomis Gang which you can find by searching on, there is even a VHS video available.

WALDRON Family History Research Turns Into Historical Novels

Gloria Waldron Huckle was bitten by the genealogy bug many years ago and while digging into her early Dutch Colonial Roots on the WALDRON Family she became so interested in their history that her passion for history sparked her career as a novelist.

From a recent article in the Glens Falls Post Star newspaper she tells her story to a staff reporter and it is a fun story to follow.

She brings her ancestors and their lives to life with her fictional novels, three of them so far, starting in the 17th century up to more modern times you will see how the families progressed through the generations.

(From the Post Star article:)
“Manhattan: Seeds of the Big Apple” is the story of lower Manhattan in 1653 and the Dutch who lived there, including Resolved Waldron. “The Diary of a Northern Moon” follows a 26-year-old advertising executive in 1976 as she journeys through the Adirondacks looking for clues to her family’s past. “Threads: An American Tapestry” tells the story of Margaret Vandenberg and the struggles she faces in the early 18th century because of her gender and mixed ancestry.

By going back in time through her family history research she was able to discover exact locations where they had resided and she would go to those spots and try to envision what it was like in the much earlier times.

Essentially her books follow quite a similar pattern of the history of New York from the earliest to modern times. Many of our own ancestors followed quite the same migration patterns as hers did, up and down the Hudson River towns and then branching out to other parts of Upstate New York.

You will want to read the complete article in the Post Star.

Congratulations Gloria on your achievement and thank you for writing these books.
Dick Hillenbrand
Upstate New York Genealogy

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