Europeans first moved into what now is Loami Township in 1819, but the village of Loami didn’t get its start until William and Ebenezer Colburn erected a steam saw and grist mill there in 1836. A settlement grew up around the mill, and the village was platted in 1854, according to the History of Sangamon County (Interstate Publishers, 1881).

The post office was moved from Lick Creek to Loami in 1856, and a general store, Colburn and Smith’s, opened in 1858. The St. Louis, Jerseyville and Springfield Railroad reached Loami in 1881.

Loami was initially, but briefly, named Lebanon. The source of the name Loami is unknown.

Colburn’s Mill struggled with a series of fires in its early years, according to the account in the 1881 History.

The first mill … had two runs of stone and was regarded as an excellent mill, nad a great improvement on the old horse-mill that had served the purpose of the neighborhood for many years. This mill was burned and another erected on or near the same spot; this met with like fate. Another was immediately rebuilt, and strange to say, it too was burnt. Phoenix-like the fourth one arose from its ashes, the present structure, which was erected in 1873. This mill is provided with modern improved machinery, and has two runs of stone with a capacity of fifty barrels in a twenty-four hours’ run. No mill in the county has probably had a better run of custom than the Loami Mill, its reputation has always been maintained.

A group of Fourierists founded a short-lived utopian socialist community, the Integral Phalanx, in the Loami area in the 1840s.

Loami was buffeted by four tornadoes in five years in the early 2000s, The State Journal-Register noted in 2011. That may have given the community an unjustified reputation for bad weather, said state climatologist Jim Angel.

“I think it is just the luck of the draw,” he told the newspaper.

Today:  Loami, 18 miles southwest of Springfield, had a population of 753 in 2010, down six percent since 2000.

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8 Responses to Loami

  1. Stephen Miller says:

    I am a direct descendant of the Colburns the name came after the Grist Mill burned down and my ancestor said low am I it impressed the rest of the town so much they renamed the town.

  2. Stephen Miller says:

    I am a direct descendant of the founders of the town it was renamed after my ancestors Grist Mill burned and he sat on the hill and said low am I. The residents decided to rename the town since other things had happened like that canceling of the railroad they all felt the same way.

  3. Phil Shadid says:

    The railroad had different owners through the years, the last one being the Chicago-Springfield-St. Louis Railroad. I believe it was abandoned in 1940 or 1941. Passenger and freight service ran between Alton-Loami-Springfield until the discontinuance of the line.

  4. My relative William L. Dodd was b. here in 1782. I would love information on where the towns folk came from, or mostly immigrated from.

  5. Dia curtis says:

    My grandparents bells owned the mill for many years

  6. Stephen says:

    I’m a direct descendant of the Colburns. My grandmother was Hazel (Colburn) Fisher. I went to school with several Bells and we grew up together in Loami.

  7. don says:

    My g g grandfather fought in the civil war
    records and his tombstone at Sulphur Springs Cemetery
    shows that
    Gipson Morris Co C II Mo infantry
    the Loami 1850 census shows he was 17
    I have looked for other Civil War tombstones at Sulphur Springs and haven’t found any other tombstones like that ??? why Missouri??


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