|Aretus Francis Loomis
November 14, 1845–December 17, 1925
|Aretus Francis Loomis was born at Berlin, N.Y., November 14, 1845. He was the eldest son of Pembroke and Susan Loomis. His early years up until the outbreak of the civil war were spent in the place of his birth in New York state. While still a young lad of 17, he enlisted in Company K, 125th New York Infantry and served through nearly three years of the civil war. He participated in some of the fiercest battles of that war including Gettysburg, the Wilderness and Spottsylvania Courthouse, besides taking part in many minor engagements. At Gettysburg, he was with Hancock in the second army corps of the Army of the Potomac and was in a particularly deadly part of the struggle known as the Bloody Angle. He had the bitter the experience of spending nine months in Andersonville and Libby prisons and had many stories to relate of the things he there saw and endured.
When he was mustered out of the service still only twenty years old, his parents had moved to Michigan, and thither he went to make his home with them. A little later, with his parents, he moved to Dixon, Illinois, making that city his home until he was thirty years old. At Dixon, September 2, 1875, he was married to Sarah Jane Barton. He had in the meantime prepared himself for the ministry of the United Brethren church, was ordained to that ministry, and at his marriage, entered upon his first pastorate at Sycamore, Illinois. In that same communion he held pastorates at Orangeville, Plymouth and Roodhouse, Illinois, and in the Congregational church at Rockton, Illinois. Subsequently, he held Congregational pastorates at Golden and Belle Plaine, Iowa. When he gave up his pastorate at Belle Plaine on account of an affection of the throat, he continued to make his home there for some time being appointed the deputy sheriff of the county and also holding other public offices.
Twenty-eight years ago he moved from Belle Plaine to Anamosa and for nine years occupied a position in the guard force at the reformatory. He was for three terms sergeant at arms in the Iowa house of representatives at Des Moines; and in past years lectured frequently before Grand Army assemblies and other patriotic gatherings upon his experiences in Andersonville and Libby prisons.
He united with the local Congregational church about nine years ago, retaining his membership until his death. Until within the last year, he was quite faithful in his attendance upon the morning service of the church. During the last few months failing health permitted him to attend only occasionally.
He was a member of the local post of the G.A.R. and a leading spirit in all its activities and concerns assisting in the ritualistic service for dead comrades almost up until the end. He was a man of good character and of earnest purpose and widely known in this community where he had many friends. In his going, a familiar and genial character has passed from our community whom old friends and especially comrades of the Grand Army will sorely miss. He passed suddenly from this life Wednesday afternoon, December 17th, having attained the age of 79 years, 1 month and 3 days.
There were born to Mr. Loomis four children, Clayylia, now Mrs. Morris Chaplin; Gertrude, now Mrs. Jewett Niles of Cedar Rapids; Beulah, who died in Belle Plaine, and Barton of Minneapolis, Minnesota. He is also survived by his wife and six grandchildren. Funeral services were conducted at the Congregational church Friday afternoon, December 19th, by Rev. Ernest Evans. Interment was at Riverside.
Submitted by: Bart Loomis
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