Walter’s Loomis Gang

George W. Walter, 1985
George W. Walter, 1985

After just finishing Nile Mile Swamp by Harriet McDougal Daniels, I was excited to learn more about the Loomis Gang.  What happened to poor misunderstood Plum?  Was the story of Wash based on fact or sensationalized for Daniels’ story?  Just a few pages into Walter’s book and it became immediately apparent that the Loomis family was much more “outlaw” than Daniels would lead us to believe.

George Walter’s stylistic approach to The Loomis Gang feels much more like a historical essay.  Throughout the entire text, there are many references to local newspaper articles and possibly courtroom transcripts.  Although I have no reason to believe that Mr. Walter did his research, in fact I learned a substantial amount from this read, my preference for this particular book would have been to read it in more of a traditional Chicago-Style citation.

Regarding the Loomis family, especially after the death of Wash Loomis, it’s hard to believe how ruthless the family became.  Walter does do a good job of showing the family’s dissipating community’s support, or rather “blind eye”, toward their criminal activity early on compared to their later years.  I also like that Walter wraps up this book by disclosing the eventual deaths of the remaining family members.

This is a great contrast to Daniels’ work and worthy of reading for anyone interested in the Loomis Gang.



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