Joseph wrote a letter in 1884 for people who would be attending the 1934 Centennial of Lake County. Following are quotes from this letter:
"Ladies and gentlemen of 1934, it was an enjoyable, pleasant, very pleasant meeting (the 1884, 50 year celebration). I cannot describe it -- men of different styles reared in unlike surroundings, relating their adventures in the new country in a diversity of ways, make it all the more enjoyable. That some of the excitement of the hour may have been slightly exaggerated is possible. The reminiscences of the past were substantially correct.
"The land and timber of Lake County as I first saw them in 1855, emigrating from the hills of New Hampshire, I can say, as did the Pottawatomies when they first became the possessors of this region, 'Wonderful Land.' Although improvements had been commenced twenty years before and many settlers were enjoying the reward of their enterprise and industry, yet as a whole the original wildness was but slightly marred.
"The settlers had made use of but a small part of the best timber in the construction of buildings, fences, etc. If the house was in the timber and cattle had tramped sufficiently to destroy vegetation and thus prevent forest fires, thickets of saplings had sprung up and were making vigorous growth."
Joseph's letter was full of stories of experiences along the Kankakee River and of the Indians still living in the area. He wrote "I conjecture the consideration received by the Indians was very small, perhaps in this proportion: A big pile of beaver skins on one side of the scale -- a jug of rum, or a musket, an iron hatchet, some beads, a few yards of bright cloth, and the traders foot on the other so that the scales just balanced."
The Little's whose signatures appear on the register of the 1884 Semi-Centennial, were the following: Joseph A., Ellen, Emma, Myra, Lewis G. and Jesse.
In an exhibit of "Antiquities, Relics and Curisositites" at the Semi-Centennial of Lake County, Lewis G. Little displayed the following: A book printed in London in 1650, owned by G. Little; two old papers, one printed in 1776, the other in 1815, and a Thanksgiving oration delivered in 1772; a number of old coins dating form 1721 to 1854; a warming pan owned by J.A. Little which was about a hundred years old; a hoe brought form South Carolina; a number of ox shoes; iron rimmed spectacles over one hundred years old; a pewter platter and plate; a pair of velvet breeches lined with buckskin which belonged to the great grandfather of Jesse Little, the present owner; a wooden cup made from the old elm tree which stood near the well and door of Daniel Webster in 1782, then owned by D. Parmley of Indian Town; and also many Indian relics.
Joseph Ames Little and Mary Gerrish Little were the parents of six children.
Their eldest son, Lewis Gerrish Little (1861-1928) married in 1890 to Effie Kearney (1866-1935). Effie was the daughter of William and Sarah Maxwell Kearney of Peotone, Ill.
A cake basket presented to them at their wedding by the Sabbath School, of which he was superintendent, is still in the possession of the Little family. Their home was on the "marsh" and was named "Crabapple Grove" because of the trees growing along their road.
Lewis attended Wabash College and was later busy as elder of the Lake Prairie Church, and also was a collector of Indian relics, stones and antiques. In addition he had a collection of pressed wild flowers.
Effie was a student of birds and was made an honorary member of the Audubon Society. Having no children of their own, they made it possible for two or three children at a time from Chicago to be their guests during the summer.
Their frame house burned when it was the home of their nephew, James Elton Little, who replaced it with a stone house.
James Henry Little (1863-1937), the second son of Joseph and Mary, was married in 1895 to Elizabeth Spry, the daughter of John and Catherine White Spry. He was the eighth generation form George Little, their emigrant ancestor who came from England to Newbury, Mass., in 1640.
James attended West Creek schools, Wabash College, and then graduated from Purdue University. He devoted himself to the practical work of farming and was progressive and modern in his procedures. He farmed with his brother Jesse until 1901, when he and "Bessie" moved to the West Creek Delta Farm.
He owned 600 acres in West Creek and large holdings in Eagle Creek Townships. James was instrumental in the drainage and development of the Kankakee marsh where his home was located.
"Bessie" came from Kentucky with her parents in 1877 when she was 10 years old, attended schools in Illinois and West Creek, Terre Haute Normal School, and taught in the West Creek schools for seven years. She was active in church and community affairs and was the organizing regent for the Obadiah Taylor Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution of Lowell, November of 1928.
James and Bessie had four children: Joseph Alfred (1897-1937) who married Eleanor Allison, the daughter of John W. and Eva Shimmin Allison; Seth Spry Little (1898-1955) who married Florence L. Anderson, the daughter of John and Mathilda Olsen Anderson; Hester Catherine (1902-1981) who was married to John Quincy Adams; and James Elton (1904-1973) who married Helen Marion Kennan, the daughter of Sidney E. and Mary Simmons Kennan.
Ellen Little, the eldest daughter of Joseph and Mary, was born 1866, died in 1946, and was married to Rev. John C. Wilson. Ellen was born on the farm west of Lowell. She attended the Lake Prairie schools and was graduated from Western Female Seminary in Oxford, Ohio.
She taught Sunday School and worked in church groups. While at Western she developed a life-long interest in missions. Another of her interests was botany, like all the members of her family who shared the interest of nature study.
Ellen and John Wilson were the parents of four children: John Lewis Wilson, born in 1898, married Palma J. Nelson, the daughter of John and Pauline Osten Nelson; Bertha K., born in 1900; Wilmer G. (1903-1965) married Mildred E. Nelson, daughter of Even and Mattie Hovde Nelson; and Mary Josephine, born in 1905.
The third son of Joseph and Mary Little, Jesse, was born in 1868 and died in 1939. He was married in 1898 to Martha Buchanan, daughter of Rev. and Mrs. J.N. Buchanan of Hebron, Ind.
Jesse also was born on the farm near Lowell, attended school at Lake Prairie, started at Purdue University with a college prep course and was graduated from Purdue in 1894. While in college he was very active in sports.
He came home to farm the home place, and in 1912 built a large 10-room brick house, which was torn down when US 41 was widened to four lanes. Jessie and Martha moved to Lowell in 1925, but their interests were still in farming.
He was also interested in the early history of Lake County and believed more attention should be given to its preservation. In August, 1934, during the Lake County Centennial Celebration, he was chosen to be a member of the Committee of the Old Settlers Association to open a booklet written in 1884 by his father, Joseph A. Little, and held unopened by the County Recorder for this special time of history.
Jessie wrote the paper that has been sealed and will be opened at the next celebration in 1984, the 150th anniversary of Lake County.
Martha was active in her church and the community affairs. The last years of her life were spent in the home of her son, Earl Little.
Jesse and Martha were the parents of two children: Mary (1899-1976) who married Elmer S. Childress; and Earl Buchanan (1901) who married Emarine Black, the daughter of Thomas and Sarah Cook Black.
The fifth child, the second daughter of Joseph and Mary Little, was Myra Ames (1872-1952), who was married in 1902 to Solomon Spry. She was active in her church, attended Lake Prairie School and Crown Point High School.
In 1893 her mother rented a cottage near the grounds of the Columbian Exposition in Chicago, so Myra and other members of the Little family could enjoy the educational fair and ride in the huge 250-foot diameter ferris wheel. Myra attended Kimball Union Academy in New Hampshire and the Lewis Institute in Chicago.
Solomon and Myra worked together on the farm, sometimes husking corn with their son Neil sleeping in a special box attached to the wagon. They were the parents of two sons, Neil and Ralph.
Neil Ames Spry, born in 1906, married Dorothy Florence A. Strassenberg, daughter of Ernest and Minnie Boden Strassenberg. Ralph Willard Spry, born in 1909, married Naomi Glen Graves, daughter of Henry E. and Clara Knisely Graves.
The youngest child of Joseph and Mary Little was Mary Emma, born in 1877 and died in 1960. She was married in 1901 to Claire George Landes.
Mary attended Lake Prairie School and Crown Point High School, and like her sister, went to Kimball Academy in New Hampshire, and then to Purdure University, where her special interest was art. While working in Cleveland, Ohio, she met Claire, whose work called for much traveling throughout the midwest and Canada.
Mary E. and Clarie G. Landes had two children: Chester Grey, born in 1903 married Dorothy Evelyn Scofield, the daughter of Ralph S. and Lou Anne Scofield; and Mary Emma, born in 1909, who married Ronald William Hines.
The story of Captain Thomas Little's Family is compiled in the history book written by Hester C. Little Adams and Bertha K. Wilson.
Hester was always interested in history and was a member of several historical societies, as well as on the Board of Trustees of the Indian Historical Society. She received several citations for meritorious community service and leadership during the past years, and was listed in 1965 in the International Yearbook as an outstanding woman in the newspaper publishing field. She also helped her mother to compile the "Spry Family History".
Her cousin, Bertha K. Wilson, devoted many years in teaching and library work, having a special interest in family history. Bertha and Hester gave much time and work in collecting and preparing the material for the Little History Book. Much of the information for these month's column is taken from their family history.
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