Lee County Biography


Walter Little an honored veteran of the late war, now proprietor of the Washington House, of Dixon, has witnessed the growth of Lee County since an early day, his parents being numbered among the honored pioneers of the community. His grandfather, Walter Little, was a farmer of the Highlands of Scotland, and there married Ellen -Johnson. In their old home they resided until after the birth of all of their children, when they determined to come to the New World, and, sailing from Erinburg, crossed the Atlantic to New York. They made their first settlement near Buffalo, in the Empire State, and the year 1837 witnessed their arrival in Illinois. They located on an unbroken farm in Brooklyn Township, Lee County, where the father developed a farm, the family living in a log cabin in true pioneer style. The death of Walter Little, Sr., occurred on the old homestead, and his wife died at the home of their son, Andrew, in Viola Township, when about sixty-five years of age. They were adherents of the Presbyterian Church and brought up their children in that faith. Only one son is now living, James, a resident of Paw Paw, Ill.

Andrew Little, father of our subject, was born in the Scottish Highlands, and when a young lad accompanied Ms parents to America. In Lee County he attained his majority, and at Ross Grove, in DeKalb County, married Miss Charity Ross, a native of Ohio, and a daughter of Joseph and Mary (Molly) Ross, who were born in the Empire State. After their marriage they removed to Ohio, and thence came to Illinois in a very early day, locating in what is now Ross. Grove, which was named in their honor as they were among the very first settlers of DeKalb County. Upon a farm which Mr. Ross there developed from the wild prairie, he and his wife resided for some years. Subsequently he went to Texas, and died at the home of his son in that State, when well advanced in life. His wife passed away in this county. They were well-known pioneers of Northern Illinois and were highly respected people.

After the marriage of Andrew Little and his wife, he made a claim of Government land near Compton, Lee County, where he improved a farm and subsequently engaged in farming in Viola Township, where he died on the 7th of March, 1857, at the age of forty-six years. His wife was called to her final rest November 16, 1850, when only twenty-four years of age. They left three children: Walter, of this sketch; Mary, wife of Ed C. Lamb, a farmer living on the old homestead; and Andrew, who also resides on a part of the old home farm. He married Catherine Christeance. Another child of the family, who also bore the name of Andrew, died in early youth. Our subject first opened his eyes to the light of day on his father's farm in Brooklyn Township, in 1841, and his home has been hi no other county than this. His labors were devoted to farm work until nineteen years of age, when he responded to the country's call for troops to aid in crushing the Rebellion, and enlisted October 7, 1861, as member of Battery F, First Illinois Volunteer Artillery. He participated in the battles of Pits burg and those of the Mississippi campaign, was with Gen. Sherman throughout the Atlanta campaign and helped to drive Gen. Hood's Army from the North. When the war was brought to successful termination,he was honorably discharge at Nashville, Tenn., on the 4th of February, 1865 after about three and a half years of active service. He had enlisted as a private, but during the last year served as Color-bearer of his regiment, the stand of colors being presented to the company by the ladies of Dixon. He was a young soldier but the country saw no braver, and at his post of duty he was always found. He was never wounded or taken prisoner, though on several occasions h narrowly escaped capture.

On his return from the war, Mr. Little resumed farming, which he followed until 1884, when he was elected Sheriff of I^e County. For two years he filled that office and in December, 1886, at the expiration of his term, became proprietor of the "Washington House", a leading hotel of Dixon. He is a genial host who carefully looks after the comfort of his guests, and the hotel has therefore become a favorite with the traveling public. Mr Little is still the owner of a hundred and sixty-acre farm near Sheffield, Cerro Gordo County, Iowa, which is well watered and highly improved and cultivated.

In Brooklyn Township, this county, our subject was joined in wedlock with Miss Cornelia Nichols, a native of Michigan, and a daughter of Charles and Margaret Nichols, who had removed from that State to Illinois, in 1857, locating in Brooklyn Township. Some years later they removed to Ames, Story County, Iowa, where both died, having passed the allotted age of three-score years and ten. Unto Mr. and Mrs. Little have been born five children, but Fannie M. and George W. are now deceased. James W., Lillian G., and Ethel G. are still under the parental roof. The parents attend the Methodist Church and are highly respected people of the community, having many friends in and around Dixon. Mr. Little is a member of the Blue Lodge and Chapter, and Dixon Commandery of Knights Templar of the Masonic order, and, with the exception of that of Master, has filled all the offices. He also holds membership with Dixon Post, No. 229, G. A. H.

Portraits and Biographical Lee County IL 1892

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