Lee County Biography


This gentleman represents the banking interests of Amboy and enjoys the distinction of being the first merchant in the place. He located here in the spring of 1854, before the completion of the railroad, and established a general store, when at that time there were only three houses in sight. His first stock, consisting of dry-goods, groceries, drugs, hardware, he hauled in wagons from Mendota. lie conducted a successful business until 1867, when his store was destroyed by fire. During the following year, he embarked in the banking business and since then the bank of Josiah Little has sustained the reputation of a sound financial institution. Mr. Little is a lineal descendant of George Little, of Newbury, Mass., who emigrated from Unicorn Street, near London Bridge, in about 1640. The line of descendants is as follows: George (1), Moses (2), Moses (3), Moses (4), Josiah (5), Edward (6), Josiah (7), and our subject, who belongs to the eighth generation. The ancestors were upright, industrious, God-fearing men, who wielded a great influence in the communities where they resided. Edward Little, grandfather of our subject, was born in 1773 and was graduated from Dartmouth College in 1797, choosing the legal profession and settling in Auburn, Me. There by inheritance he became the owner of a large part of the surrounding territory and exerted a great influence in directing and promoting the growth of the place. He gave the land for the first church and met one-half of the cost of its erection, as well as maintained public service at his own expense for some time after its completion.

Besides the good which he did in other ways. Edward Little established and endowed an academy which continued in successful operation for forty years, when the grounds and funds were transferred by the trustees to the town, which now maintains an "Edward Little High School" and erected a statue in his honor. In temperance reforms, he was a pioneer and held radical views which he was not slow to express. His death occurred in 1849,but the influence which his upright life exerted over others is still felt in the community where for so long he resided. The father of our subject, Josiah, was born in 1801, and was educated at Bowdoin College, studying law afterward with his father, and for several years practicing his profession. Later he engaged in trade and manufacturing at Lewiston and Auburn, Me., and passed the last years of his life in his native town, Newburyport, Mass. He died suddenly August 9, 1805, at Somes Sound, Mt. Desert Island, whither he had gone on a pleasure excursion.

Josiah Little was four times married, the mother of our subject, whose maiden name was Nancy W. Bradford, being his second wife. She had two children, a daughter and our subject. The last named passed his early life in Auburn and Lewiston, Me., and, at the age of seventeen years, completed his education at Auburn Academy. He then went to Portland and assisted his father, who was engaged in a wholesale iron business. In October, 1851, he emigrated to Southwest Missouri, where be clerked in a country store. In February, 1854, he left the place on horseback, clad with a Missouri overcoat (which consisted of a blank with a hole in the center and, after riding forty miles per day for ten days, stopped at Amboy an located here permanently, as above stated. On November 17, 1859, Mr. Little was married to Mary D. Hussey, who was born at Bellevill Ohio, August 10, 1835, and was the daughter of Amos and Jane Fredonia (Holly) Hussey. Her father was one of the pioneers of Lee County an a man of great decision of character and energy of purpose. The union of Mr. Little and his estimable wife has been blessed by the birth of five children: Josiah, Nancy Jane, Mary E., Edward II and Mary W. The eldest daughter became the wife of Isaac Newton Perry, of La Crosse, Wis. and died leaving two children. The members the family are identified with the Congregations Church and are welcomed guests in the most select social circles.

Mr. Little is a member of the Masonic fraternity and in his political belief is a stanch Republican For twelve years he served as Treasurer of Lee County and his long term of service speaks in behalf of his success more eloquently than word: could do. He also held various offices of a local nature and was a delegate to the National Convention in 1888, when Benjamin Harrison was nominated for the Presidency. The success which has crowned his work represents his unaided efforts, for he came West without moneyed capital. He possesses the qualities of a thorough business man as well as the gentlemanly manners and polished demeanor which make friends of all whom he meets.

Portraits and Biographical Lee County IL 1892

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