Joseph Little, 1827 – 1893

Second Child and Oldest Son of William and Mary (Fluck) Little

Joseph Little was the second child and oldest son of William and Mary (Fluck) Little. Joseph was born on 04 Nov 1827 in Hopewell, Bedford, Pennsylvania. He married Mary Ann Drollinger in early 1850’s. She was born 11 May 1830 in Pennsylvania and died on 25 Sep 1892 in Iowa.

The Little Marker in the Red Oak Presbyterian Churchyard

Joseph Little and Mary Ann Drollinger had the following children:

  1. HARRIET LITTLE was born about 1855. She died about 1916.
  2. NANCY LITTLE was born about 1857 in Illinois. She died 20 Jun 1923.
  3. FLORENA LITTLE was born about 1859 in Illinois. She died in 1931 in Cedar County, Iowa.
  4. MARY LITTLE was born about 1861 in Illinois. She died 21 Feb 1944.
  5. MARTHA LITTLE was born about 1864 in Illinois.
  6. WILLIAM HENRY LITTLE was born in 1866 in Red Oak, Cedar County, Iowa. He died in 1934 (Age: 68). He married Ruby Leona Stearns in 1892.
  7. NEVADA LITTLE was born about 1869 in Iowa. She died 22 Jun 1935. She married Charles E. Yule in 1893.
  8. ARTHUR MELVIN LITTLE was born on 28 Jun 1870 in Iowa. He died on 18 Oct 1943 in St. George, Utah (Age: 73). He married Lucy Emeline “Lutie” Hanks in 1894.
  9. FRED LITTLE was born about 1876 in Illinois. He died 16 Jan 1942. He married Ethel West.

Joseph and Mary Ann were most likely married in Pennsylvania. The 1850 US Census records Joseph -23 years old–in North Woodberry Twp, Blair County, PA as a “laborer” in the large household of Jefferson Simonton. No record is known of when they were married, but the first child, Harriet, was born in 1855 and it seems likely she was born in Pennsylvania.

The next four children were born in Illinois. Per the 1860 US Census, they were living in Rock Creek Township, Carroll County, Illinois. So it seems sometime between 1855 and 1857 the family had moved there. The next several younger children, beginning with William Henry in 1866, were born in Iowa. Thus, based on these birthdates, it looks like the family moved from Illinois to Iowa about 1865.

It appears that Joseph purchased 160 acres of land near the village of Red Oak in Cedar County, Iowa. Red Oak was about 9 miles north of Tipton, and today it is part of Tipton, its post office long being closed. The map excerpt below shows the quarter-section[1] labeled “J. Little” about a mile east of the village of Red Oak, Cedar County. It also shows the location of the Presbyterian Church that has the Red Oak Cemetery in its church yard.

“The History of Cedar County, Iowa” notes that Joseph Little was paid $15 as settlement for the right-of-way from the Tipton Railroad Co[2]. This helps make it seem quite probable that the “J. Little” on this map is indeed Joseph. With more research, a deed for the land may be in existence.

Portion of an 1870 map of Red Oak Township in Cedar County. The Quarter Section belonging to J. Little is visible on the middle right, bounder on the east by the railroad. Another arrow marks the location of the Red Oak Presbyterian Church and churchyard.

Joseph and Mary Ann lived remained at this location for the rest of their days. Joseph’s brother Frank also moved his family nearby. For a time, younger brother Silas H. Little was also in the household, as shown in the 1880 US Census. Although Silas was a carpenter and builder, the purpose or length of this visit is not known. Silas returned to Saxton, PA to rejoin his wife and children.

Red Oak Presbyterian Church and Churchyard, Cedar County, Iowa

Mary Ann died on 25 Sep 1892, presumed in Iowa. Joseph died 25 Aug 1893 in Saxton, Pennsylvania, where he may have traveled after his wife passed. But, he is laid to rest with his wife in the Red Oak Cemetery just north of Tipton, IA, about one mile west of the location of his farm.


[1]  A “section” was one-mile square, or 640 acres. Joseph’s property was a quarter section, or 160 acres.

[2]  The History of Cedar County Iowa, Western Historical Company
Successors to H. F. Kett & Co., 1878. c/o IA GenWeb Project.

Author: T.J.Little

I grew up on a northern Bedford County, Pennsylvania, dairy farm as did my father. Those roots go seven generations deep there, By Y-DNA testing, my Little surname roots go to the Scottish Borders in the 14th century, but my family has been in America from the mid-18th. The quest to connect the story continues.

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