George Loman: A Man of Principle--Part 2
George and Mary Loman were pioneers but very progressive for their means and how they operated in those early days without funds was viewed as a real accomplishments to the local historians. One can postulate why the Community was eventually named after the Loman’s and apparently just being one of the first homesteaders in the area along with a stellar reputation became the basis for its affirmation. In 1899 George conducted Sunday School on the Canadian side of the River as there were no comparable or suitable buildings on the U.S. side. The building of a schoolhouse proved a benchmark for the area, during this time Mr. Loman became a notary public and did legal and advisory work, was a member of the township Board, took charge of meetings, preached funeral sermons and generally led any movement for community advancement. Farms clubs were formed, literary forums and spelling contests were held as inducements to build up a community of upright courageous settlers. They had very little amusements and entertainment, fellowship was shared, no cabins were ever locked but nary an offense was ever committed as everyone practiced the “Golden Rule”.
Mr. Loman was appointed Game Warden and acted for several years, one time while dealing with a “pot hunter” on Rainy Lake George was shot and slightly wounded. It bothered Mr. Loman’s peace of mind to be compelled to enforce laws against his neighbors who occasionally transgressed while trying to keep deer and moose from destroying their crops, the idea of forcing a poor neighbor to buy a license to fish didn’t appeal to him and he resigned his position in 1910.
Mr. Loman continued in public affairs for years and made quite a start in cutting new roads and through friendly contact with Frank Lang who represented the Loman area on the Itasca County Board (there was no Koochiching County at that time) road building was promoted. When Commissioner Lang had to attend a County Board meeting he frequently traveled to Winnipeg to get to the County seat in Grand Rapids. In 1907 about the time the Loman four room School was constructed a road was built along the south line of Mr. Loman’s farm so he plotted some lots along the route and soon afterwards the Odd Fellows Hall, the Thomas Store and “Pop” Scholta’s hotel were erected followed by multiple retail establishments. They cogitated about the Indians who camped on the Canadian side who made quite a business of catching Sturgeon, they took the caviar which was prepared at one of Loman’s stores and shipped it to eastern cities.
Mr. Loman was called a lay preacher by some and was one of the first to call his neighbors together for religious services. He was described as a man of sterling character and conducted Sunday School on the West Fork of the Black River for some time and it is thought that these occasions were the first time that the children of the early settlers got their first spiritual indoctrinations.
All went well for the Loman family until the Fall of 1912 when Mr. Loman was confined to his house with a very sore infected big toe originally due to severe frostbite, he eventually was persuaded to go to the Int’l. Falls Hospital and then submitted to an operation removing the toe but it was accompanied by much dismay as it was discovered he was suffering from Bright’s Disease (another account opined diabetes) and despite the best efforts of the medical community it would not heal. The Pioneer with homesteading dreams passed away on June 7th. 1913, Mary resided in the Community commemorating her family until 1919 when she left her family home and returned to her birthplace in Ohio where she had attended college and the seminary. In 1920 she moved to Dallas and enjoyed good health for some years until passing in 1932.
The next time you drive on Highway 11 and pass through Loman and navigate over the Black River Bridge salute and say hello to the apparitions and indefatigable spirit of George and Mary.
About the Author: Mike Hanson is a long time resident of Birchdale, Minnesota. He enjoys spending his time in the great outdoors, building birdhouses, and has a deep interest in uncovering and understanding settlement history. His writings come from hours of research, as well as engaging discussions with locals and area historians; both professional and amateur.