In the Dec. 2, 1981, issue of The Lowell Tribune and The Cedar Lake Journal the "Pioneer History" column featured a story on the pioneer Little family, and we quote, "Among the pioneers making up the 'New Hampshire Settlement' in the Lake Prairie area of West Creek Twp. was Capt. Thomas Little. Thomas was a descendent of George Little, who came from England to America in 1640, landing at one of the ports along the coast of the Massachusetts Colony. As time went on, some members of the family became the first settlers in Amesville, Boscawan and Canterbury in Massachusetts, and Contoocook, now a part of New Hampshire.
"The area was home to many of them during the years of the Revolution; some served in the army and the militia, while some stayed on the farms. Others took part in the politics and government of the new state and nation.
"In 1940, 'Ripley's Believe It or Not' printed a drawing of the farm and a story telling that it is the oldest farm in the USA continually cultivated for 300 years by the same family -- the Littles. At that time , it was owned by Seth Little, who was a member of the 10th generation of Littles to live there."
During the weekend of Aug. 17-19 this year, a Little family reunion was held near the old homestead to celebrate 350 years of continuous cultivation by the family members.
The tremendous task of putting together such an affair fell upon the shoulders of Terry L. Little, son of Verle and Faith Little of rural Hebron. Terry, living in New York at the time, presented his idea of a family association at the James H. Little family gathering in July 1989, and all of the one hundred persons attending gave their full support. He soon made pilgrimages to Newbury, Mass., where he met more family members and others interested in the project.
The immediate focus of the George Little Family Association was to discover who the 20th century descendents of the family are and work toward restoring the Geroge Little farm at Newbury, preserving family treasures, and organizing the 350th anniversary celebration.
Terry Little took a one-year sabbatical from his position with the American Field Service, and in one very busy year put together the plans for the successful reunion. Now that the celebration is over and the work of the Association has begun, he will be returning to Rome, Italy, where he will continue his work with American Field Service, a student exchange program.
George Little arrived in America from England in 1640 and came to Newbury, Mass., where he was a tailor by trade. He soon turned to farming.
The leading occupation of members of the Little family has been agricultural and professional pursuits -- theology, medicine, and education, even boasting college presidents. Among the political credits to the family, there was a representative in the House and Sentae of the U.S. Congress, while some have served in state legislatures. There is even a former President of the United States on the family mailing list: Gerald Ford, who wrote a letter to the reunion committee offering his regrets for not being able to attend.
Statistics show that the family's religious denominations were mostly Protestant, and at least three towns in the United States have been named Littleton after pioneer George Little.
The more than 400 Little family descendents attending the 350th Anniversary at Newbury in August were wecomed at the Governor Dummer Academy for lodging and meals, while the Society for the Preservation of New England Antiquities (SPNEA) provided video equipment to record the activities and interviews throughout the weekend. Working on the project was Michael Little, son of John and Janet Little of Lowell, a producer of Century Cable of Los Angeles, Calif.
Five historical homes, all relating to the Little family history, were opened to the reunion group, and special tours were given by the SPNEA at the Spencer-Pierce-Little Home, the Coffin House, the Atkinson-Little House, the Dole-Little Home, and the George Little Homestead. Group photos were taken at one of the homes, and an old-fashioned New England clambake was enjoyed, while others were cruising the harbor at Newburyport, touring local cemeteries or visiting other historical sites.
On Sun., Aug. 19, the day began with church services, followed by a family meeting, and before the day ended with a catered family picnic, there was a tree planting ceremony at the George Little homestead.
Members of the Little family from this area attending the reunion were of the 10th, 11th and 12th generations to George Little, the 1640 immigrant from England.
Descendents of the James Henry Little clan are: Terry Little, New York; Verle and Faith Little of rural Hebron; Joseph and Dori Little and children Sarah and Seth of Hebron; Thomas Little and son Ben Little of Georgia; Bob and Peggy Little Bushore of Hebron; Ralph and Jean Little Reynard of Ohio; Glen and Joan Little Miller and granddaughter Megan Miller of Lowell; Lois J. Lindemer, daughters Christina and Jamie of Lowell; Irvin and Lois Little Poston of Birmingham, Mich.; Lisa and Karyn Ledbetter of Michigan; Steve and Kathy Poston, Ohio; and Michael Little of California.
Those attending from the Jesse Little clan: Mary Little Mikels, Florida; Martha Lain, Illinois; Sally Little Piller, New Jersey; Bruce and Jane Piller Wilson and son Isaac of California; and Jack, Patricia and Kailin McArdle of New York.
Also among those enjoying the family reunion were Lowell residents Linda Little Ebert and daughter Angela; JoEllen Crisan and children Bryan, Shannon and Shelly; and Hester and Hunter Little of Georgia, grandchildren of Verle and Faith Little.
In a newspaper interview, Terry Little said, "I hope it [the association] continues to locate other relatives and perhaps work toward restoring the George Little farm or preserving other family treasures." We are sure that all the members of the Little family are grateful to Terry and his committee for planning the fine weekend and for preserving more of the family's heritage. With the newly formed family association, his work can be carried on. The list of family members could reach the thousands within a few decades.
Information for this story was furnished by Joan Little Miller of Lowell, who with her husband, Glen, and granddaughter, Megan Miller, greatly enjoyed the weekend in August with 400 other members of the Little family.
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