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.

Francis Little – Settler

Francis “Frank” Little lived much of his adult life in Bedford County, Pennsylvania near what is today Saxton. He is believed to have been born in Maryland about 1760, found his wife, Susanna Shields, about 1788 and began our family’s legacy. We do not know who his father was, nor of any siblings. However, through advanced Y-DNA testing it is certain  that his lineage came from the border regions of Scotland, where the Little’s were a well-known riding family. It is also probable that Francis’ forbearers were among the “Ulster Scots” emigrating from  Northern Ireland in early to mid-18th Century after spending a few generations there.

Francis is first found in an 1783 Assessment in Upper Antietam Hundred, Washington County, Maryland. This would be north-east of Hagerstown. He was listed as a “Freeman” which generally means he was single, over 21, and free from any indentures. Using this information, and age ranges in the 1810 and 1820 US Censuses, we are able to deduct that his date of birth was “about” 1760. He also appears in a 1787 Tax and Exoneration for Peters Township, Franklin County PA, again as a Freeman. By 1790, Francis Little, his wife, and their first daughter appear in the U.S. Census for Hopewell Township, Huntingdon County, Pennsylvania.

Ten years later, they are found back in Washington County, Maryland in the 1800 Census. The next time they came to Pennsylvania, they stayed, this time in Bedford County. According to family tradition, they came from Maryland as described in the 1883 Waterman, Watkins & Co. account of Liberty Township, Bedford County, believed to have been contributed by Isaac Little, Francis’ grandson:

“Frank Little came from Maryland in 1803, and settled in Hopewell, whence, in 1805, he removed to Raver’s Run. Frank and Susanna (Shields) Little were the parents of eight children: Elizabeth, John, Polly, Rebecca, William, Susanna, Scisly, and Archibald.” –

Hopewell Township in Bedford County was the larger township from which Liberty Township was formed in 1848. The family’s Maryland origins are further confirmed in the 1880 US Census, where their son, William, states that he, and both  parents were born in Maryland.

It’s hard to know where the family first settled in Hopewell. An early map of Bedford County[1] shows a gap in the mountain and a stream labeled “Reaver’s Run.” The 1877 Atlas by F.W. Beers & Co.[2] calls it “Raver’s Run”, as well as showing the “Raven’s Run District” in which the stream flows. This would be the current map at the time that Isaac wrote the Waterman, Watkins & Co account.

1816 Map detail, showing Reavers Run in lower left.


Bedford County tax records give us some solid clues. There were triennial assessments and yearly tax rolls. Francis Little first appears in the Hopewell Township records in the triennial assessment for 1807. This assessment shows Francis was taxable but he held no acreage, held 2 cows, and listed his occupation as a “Laborer.” By 1814, an assessment shows Francis holds 100 acres by “Improvement” with one horse and one cow. Later years, 1826 and 1829, continue to reflect 100 acres but just a horse and a cow or two. There is no record of how many acres were cleared. We tend to remember Francis as a farmer. He and Susanna, no doubt, grew their own food, but how much extra to trade, sell, or barter, we have no idea.

There is no record of Francis ever applying for a warrant, or survey to patent his land, nor any other record of a deed or other instrument – not uncommon across the frontier counties at this period. Unless there was some sort of dispute, lands held by “improvement” were eventually recognized by the land office as legitimate, but not during Francis’ life-time.

1814 Tax Assessment for Hopewell Twp., Bedford County Pennsylvania, showing “Little, Francis” The headers from l-r are: Patent, Warrant, Location, Improvement, Furnaces, Forges, Grist Mills, Saw Mills, Distilleries, ????, Nail Factories, Rolling Mills, Horses, Cattle, Occupation, Valuation, Lien, Taxes.


Francis and Susanna Little had eight children across the span of their marriage, which is believed to have begun about 1788 or 89. If we assume the list in the above account is in order, William Little, born 7 December 1800 in Maryland, would be the fifth child and second son. Elizabeth married Abel Putt and lived her years in the area. John Little apparently lived in Huntingdon County and we know of his lineage through a DNA discovery of his family.


Because Francis appears in the 1829 tax assessment and tax rolls, but not in the 1830 US Census or 1830 tax records, it is possible that he died in the latter part of 1829 or early 1830. While it may be that Francis and/or Susanna left to live with another son or daughter, we have such sketchy information on them, so it is hard to tell. Family data only appears in the US Census records at ten-year intervals, so the last record for Susanna was in 1820. So, we cannot say with any certainty how long either Francis or his wife Susanna lived, nor has there ever been any record of their burial.

[1] RG-17; Melish-Whiteside Maps, 1816-1821 {series #17.534}. Pennsylvania State Archives

[2] MG-11, Map #793; Atlas of Bedford County, Pennsylvania, 1877, published by F.W. Beers &Co., 36 Fessey Street, New York. Pennsylvania State Archives.


The Blacksmith Shop

The Blacksmith Shop was along a busy teamster route. It was adjoining a wagon shop where the wagons were “ironed” and “tires” added to the wagon wheels. Horses were shod and tools were made. William Little, Jr. came to Loysburg from Liberty Township in 1850 and took over the existing blacksmith stand. He was also able to acquire property and build a large brick home across the road.

This photo of the shop is dated 1888 and shows the blacksmith, James Patton Little, seated here. It looks like a couple customers also got into the photograph. The child on the left that appears to be in a dress is my grandfather, Charles Edgar Little. His older brother Harry is in the broad-brimmed hat. Day care in the 1880’s.

C.W. Karns describes the business in his book, “Sketches of Morrisons Cove” – published 1933:

William Little and Henry Burket followed George Miller as blacksmith at the same stand. Joseph Manning, an Englishman, was for many years their wagonmaker. He was a good wagonmaker and made many heavy wagons which were ironed by William Little and Henry Burkert. He built the famous wagon now owned by Frank Brumbaugh which was shown at the Martinsville centennial and a picture of which is shown on page 21 of this book. Such a wagon cost in those days at least $125 and the Conestoga bed about the same amount. William Little retired from active service at his trade, and his son James P. Little, conducted the shop for forty years or more. Leroy Stotler is now the efficient mechanic in this long used and important plant.

Across the road stood the house that J.P.’s father built for him. It stood next to William’s house. Here is a photo from about the same time as the photo above. The blacksmith is wearing his protective leather apron, while his wife Belle (Fisher) stands behind the fence holding baby William Ross, and his children Edgar, Harry, and Clara posing beside them. Their younger sister Elsie had not yet been born.

Elsie ended up inheriting the house. I remember visiting her there  as a boy in her later years. This home has stayed in the family in that after Elsie’s passing, Gaylord Little and family purchased the home. They reside there to this day while their children and grandchildren live nearby.

The Waterside Farm

Here is a view of the farm on Yellow Creek near Waterside, Pennsylvania. My father, Robert Little, was not born here, but spent most of his boyhood years growing up with his brothers- Wilbur, Art, and Bill– and his sisters – Caroline, Ruth, and Frances. Charles Edgar (Ed) Little received recognition for the quality of the milk his farm produced and his wife, Clara Virginia, must have been quite busy taking care of the family.

Although the farming was done with horses and mules, Ed had a 1926 truck that he used to huckster produce in the season. During fall and winter, he converted it to a set up with benches and he made the trip to school everyday to take his own and the neighbor kids to New Enterprise for school. Wilbur, the oldest son went off to college and came back to teach at that school, meanwhile becoming an excellent farmer in his own right. He became the principal for a short time, but is most remembered for his tenure as the football coach. In that capacity, he was my father’s coach, as well as that of his two brothers.

These Pennsylvania farms produce more than just milk and hay.