Soundoff: Our families go way back
December 30, 2008 · 12:52 PM
By Lance D. Loomis
What’s in a name?
Contrary to a recent article in the Whidbey Examiner, I do not have yellow jerseys from having won the Tour d’ France, my closet does not sport such honored apparel. For my surname is not “Armstrong” but “Loomis,” for which I am no less honored to have as my own. Surnames hold much weight and power, which comes from great deeds, or misdeeds, done by those who bear them.
The “Crockett” surname should be heralded throughout this county as much as any of our Island County pioneers. They, along with the Ebeys, were instrumental in the founding and survival of the early settlement of our community. In 1844, Samuel Crockett was the first of his family to come west to scope out land and earn a living from it. Isaac Ebey followed in 1846. In 1851, Samuel, his father, mother, brothers and the Ebeys, all staked their claims on Whidbey Island.
In researching Samuel Crockett, I was startled to learn that he and my third great- grandfather were acquainted. In 1844, there is an account of the “James Loomis” wagon train meeting up with the wagon train that Samuel Crockett was a member of. Seems Samuel’s train was seriously low on meat and food supplies. As luck would have it, James Loomis had plenty of buffalo meat to spare and generously provisioned them for the final leg of their journey into the Oregon Territory.
The following year found Samuel Crockett writing to his family from the town of Linton, just across the Willamette River from my ancestor’s land claim in St. Johns, Ore. When traveling to downtown Portland, James Loomis would cross to Linton. No doubt he and Samuel Crockett would meet and discuss current events, as they would have had much in common and were close in age.
So it is with great personal satisfaction that my partner, Paula Spina, and I, though we didn’t plan on spending 2008 fighting to preserve the Crockett Prairie and the site of Samuel Crockett’s first home on Whidbey, were privileged to do so. We want to take this opportunity to thank everyone who helped in this fight. May we all go into 2009 with an appreciation for what can be done when we all work together to preserve our heritage, both in name as well as landscape.
Lance D. Loomis lives at the Crockett Farm, Coupeville.