Madison Hall
PO Box 115
Morrisville, NY 13408

The Loomis Gang Connection

At the time the second courthouse burned to the ground, a wide-ranging band of horse thieves, led by the Loomis family, was terrorizing central New York from their farm headquarters near Nine Mile Swamp. Among their dubious exploits were cases of assault, harassment, robbery, barn-burning, coercion or bribery of public officials and other assorted felonies and misdemeanors. Because they took swift revenge on those who accused or opposed them, they were seldom brought to justice. But occasionally charges were brought against them in court.

In the early morning hours of October 11, 1864, when the courthouse caught fire, a horseman was heard riding north out of the village. Morrisville firemen found their hoses cut and oddly enough, Wash Loomis appeared out of the crowd to assist in fighting the blaze. To many the Loomises were responsible and that they had been motivated by the desire to destroy incriminating court documents or to get revenge for legal actions taken against them.

Drama In The Courtroom

In the new courthouse, aroused citizens initiated the criminal proceedings that, along with the violent confrontation between peace officers and the Loomises at their farm, finally ended the gang's reign of terror. It was here, too, that the famous abolitionist and philanthropist, Gerrit Smith, defended an accused murderer and won an "unwinnable" case, even though this was to be his first and only trial experience. Smith, an ardent friend and strong supporter of John Brown of Harper's Ferry fame, had settled many freed and escaped slaves on his lands north of Morrisville.


Mary & Abram Antone

Mary had murdered another indian girl who was her rival in a love affair.Mary was convicted and executed in Peterboro on September 30, 1814. Abram and Mary's brother attended the hanging dressed in war paint to save Mary, but the militia turned them away. Antone returned to avenge her death by stabbilg John Jacobs who provided evidence at her trial.Abram was arrested July 1823, convicted at Madison Hall and sentenced to death. Abram was hanged on September 9, 1823 in Morrisville. More than 15,000 attended this the last public hanging in Madison County.