Arthur Little, 1837-
From American Series of Popular Biographies. Massachusetts Edition. This Volume Contains Biographical Sketches of Representative Citizens of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Boston: Graves & Steinbarger, 1891.
REV. ARTHUR LITTLE, D.D., pastor of the Second Congregational Church, Dorchester, district, Boston was born in Webster, Merrimack County, N.H., May 24, 1837, son of Simeon Bartlett and Harriet (Boyd) Little. He comes of six generations of New England ancestry, the numerous representatives of which have, in general, been noted for the possession, in large measure, of the typical New England virtues of piety, reverence for law, stern and unbending morality, and industry.
His first progenitor in this country was George Little, a resident of Unicorn Street, London, and a tailor by occupation, who settled in Newbury, Mass., in 1640. This early ancestor, who appears to have been a man of enterprise and good judgment, soon acquired some of the most productive land in that town, of which a large part has ever since been owned and occupied by his descendants. He also bought land at Saco, Me., at Stonington and Quinebaug, Conn. And in New Hampshire and New Jersey. The site of his last house, built in 1679 or 1680 is now marked by the residence of Deacon Joseph Little at Newbury. He died between March 15, 1693, and November 27, 1694, esteemed by his fellow-townsmen as a Christian man and a good citizen. He was twice married. His first wife was Alice Poore, of Newbury. She, at the age of twenty, with her brothers, Samuel and Daniel, came to that place with Mr. Stephen Dummer, on the second voyage to New England, in the "Bevis," Captain Robert Batten, which sailed from Southampton, England, in May, 1638.
She died December 1, 1680, at the age of sixty-two years, having been the mother of five children, namely Sarah, born May 8, 1652, died November 19, same year; Captain Joseph, born September 22, 1653, died September 6, 1740, married Mary, daughter of Tristram Coffin, Esq., of Newbury, Mass., October 31, 1677; John, born July 28, 1655, died July 20, 1672; Moses, born March 11, 1657, died March 8, 1691; Sarah, born November 24,1661, married Joseph Ilsley, of Newbury, March 3, 1682. For his second wife George Little married July 19, 1681, Eleanor, widow of Thomas Barnard, of Amesbury, Mass. She died November 27, 1694.
Moses Little, the dates of whose nativity and demise have been given above, resided on the homestead at Newbury. His estate was returned to Probate Court, November 3, 1691, as amounting to one thousand sixty-five pounds and six shillings., He married Lydia, daughter of Tristram Coffin, Esq., of Newbury. Their children were: John, born January 8, 1680, died March 25, 1753; Tristram, born December 9, 1681, died November 11, 1765; Sarah, born April 28, 1684, died December 10, 1710, married Thomas Pike, January 3, 1710; Mary, born January 13, 1686, married Colonel Joseph Gerrish, of Newbury (date of marriage publishment, February 26, 1703-4); Elizabeth, born May 25, 1688, died March 17, 1719, married Anthony Morse, January 21, 1718; Moses, born February 26, 1691, died October 17, 1780, married Sarah Jacques, February 12, 1716.
Tristram Little was a farmer. The house that he erected on the paternal estate is now the residence of William Little, Esq., Town Clerk of Newbury. He married Sarah, daughter of Henry Dole, of Newbury, Mass., October 30, 1707. She was born February 12, 1689. Their children were: Sarah, born August 6, 1708, married James Noyes, May 30, 1729, lived in Atkinson; Henry, born December 31, 1710, married Lydia Little, December 7, 1738, died December, 1786; Samuel, born February 18, 1713, died September 29, 1792, married Dorothy Noyes, February 18, 1736, lived in Atkinson; Apphia, baptized in 1715, died February 15, 1743; Jane, born June 6, 1718, married Edmund Knight, May 25, 1741; Elizabeth, born November 20, 1720, died April 15, 1818, married Humphrey Noyes, November 22, 1743, lived in Atkinson; Nathaniel, born May 24, 1723, died before Louisburg, C.B., November 13, 1745; Richard, born June 6, 1725, died February 13, 1806, married Jane Noyes, September 17, 1754; Enoch, born May 21, 1728, died at Boscawen, October 21, 1816; Mary, born February 4, 1731, died young,; John, born July 14, 1735, died August 25, 1800, married Hannah Noyes, October 7, 1767.
Enoch Little lived near the "Upper Green" at Newbury, Mass., where his first seven children were born. He removed to Hampstead in April, 1766, and thence to Boscawen in April, 1774. He was a weaver, and also learned to make shoes. Arriving in Boscawen a poor man with a large family, he built there a log house on land now owned by his great grand-son, Sherman Little, to which he moved September 2, 1774. This house had no floor and the fireplace was evidently made of such stones as he could conveniently obtain. The surrounding region was a dense forest, and neighbors were few, scarcely any residing in the immediate vicinity. At the age of eleven years, while listening to the preaching of Whitefield in Newburyport, he had become a Christian, and years afterward had united with the Old South Church in that place, August 7, 1773, while living in Hampstead. After his removal to Boscawen, until enfeebled by age, he went to Newburyport every year (over sixty miles) to be present at the August communion. In advanced age he sought retirement for the reading of the Scriptures and prayer. He was first married February 19, 1755, to Sarah Pettengill, of Newbury, Mass., who was born September 6, 1731, and died March 10, 1758. For his second wife he married June 5, 1759, Hannah Hovey, of Newbury, Mass., who was born February 27, 1734, and died March 15, 1801. The children of Sarah were: Friend, born January, 1756, died November, 1836; Mary, born September 19, 1757, died July 25, 1807, married David Burbank, of Boscawen, April 20, 1778. The children of Hannah were: Benjamin, born April 13, 1760, died August 30, 1846; Joseph, born May 30, 1761, died March 26, 1843; Enoch, born January 17, 1763, died March 31, 1848; Hannah, born September 3, 1764, died October 17, 1764; Noah, born November 1, 1765, died in Cass County, Michigan, August 14, 1837; Jesse born July 30, 1767, died August 19, 1840; Phebe, born February 19, 1769, died June 7, 1769; Sarah Ilsley, born April 20, 1770, died December 10, 1836, married Moses Gerrish of Boscawen; John H., born March 12, 1772, died August 29, 1773; Hannah, born April 10, 1775, died November 4, 1811, married Moses Coffin, of Boscawen, December 25, 1792, who was born at Newbury Mass., September 9, 1767, and died at Salisbury, February 3, 1843.
Benjamin Little, otherwise known as Captain Benjamin Little, lived on the homestead. At the age of seventeen he was a soldier at the battle of Bennington. He was a man of sound judgment, and possessed in a high degree the confidence of his fellow-citizens, being chosen Selectman eight years and Representative four years. He was the fifth man in town to receive a magistrate's commission. He married first Rhoda Bartlett, of Warner, November 25, 1790, who was born April 13, 1768, and died August 27, 1814. She as niece of Dr. Josiah Bartlett, of Kingston, a signer of the Declaration of Independence and first Governor of New Hampshire under its free Constitution. He married second Persis Herbert, of Concord, March 5, 1816. The children of Rhoda were: Richard, born November 27, 1791, died October 29, 1840. John, born June 30, 1794, died January 17, 1797. Simeon Bartlett, born December 16, 1797, died December 29, 1874. Rhoda, born April 14, 1801, died at Windham, August 15, 1853, married the Rev. Calvin Cutler, June 3, 1824, who was a beloved pastor of the Presbyterian church at Windham for many years. Carrol Cutler, president of Western Reserve College is their son. The Rev. Charles Herbert, born December 1804, died January 1, 1836.
Simeon Bartlett Little, Esq., son of Benjamin and Rhoda Little and father of the Rev. Dr. Arthur Little, was born in Boscawen, December 16, 1797, as above noted. His education was acquired at the common school. In early life he was a news-carrier. The postal facilities were of little account, especially for newspapers; and he supplied the people of Hopkinton, Boscawen, Salisbury, and Andover with the Concord Gazette, printed by George Hough. Starting from home early in the morning of its publication, he rode to Concord on horseback, filled his saddle-bags with papers, then riding through Hopkinton, reached home at night, and on the second day made the round of Salisbury and Andover. In cold or stormy weather three days were given to the distribution. Besides carrying papers he executed errands. By this means he acquired his first money.
"In all communities there are men who come into active life without effort of their own, who are recognized as possessing qualifications for leadership. Simeon B. Little was such a man. He was Selectman ten years, two years a member of the Legislature, and a delegate to the convention for the revision of the Constitution. Between the years 1839 and 1858, inclusive, with but two exceptions, he was elected Moderator at the annual town meeting. He was endowed with a judicial mind, and held through the active years of life a magistrate's commission. He was administrator of between thirty and forty estates, and was concerned in the settlement of nearly as many more. He received nearly twenty appointments as guardian for minors or insane persons, and held a large amount of funds in trust.
"His business as a conveyancer of deeds was very large, nearly one thousand. Men who wished to make their last wills and testaments called upon him for counsel, and he wrote a large number. If parties came with complaints desiring litigation, he acted the part of peace-maker. 'My docket,' he said, near the close of life, 'had but one criminal and two civil cases.'
"He was frequently chosen by parties, or was appointed by the courts, as referee. Six times he served as juror. He learned land surveying at an early date, and surveyed many farms. He was for about fifteen years president or director of the Granite Fire Insurance Company and for fifteen years or more director and secretary.
"Mr. Little was one of the leading members of the church and religious society, giving his time, his counsel, and of his means to sustain what he conceived to be for the vital interests of the community. In speaking of the part he had taken in public life he once said, 'I have been elected more times to some responsible office in town by ballots, from 1828 to 1860, than there are years, and I can say what many cannot, that I never, directly or indirectly, solicited a nomination or vote.'
"Mr. Little's strong common sense, his habits of thought, and study of good models, gave him every facility in the use of language. He wrote many articles for the press on a great variety of subjects. His contributions were noted for their strength, clearness, and incisiveness. He greatly deplored his lack of education. His attendance at the district school closed when he was seventeen. His academical instruction was limited to eight weeks. Mentally and physically he was sturdy and honest. It is not easy to estimate the influence of such a man, one who stood with all his might for the maintenance of his convictions of truth and justice. He had no sympathy with anything that in any way tended to debase the tone of society.
"Mr. Little was naturally conservative, and his fears that radicalism might overturn the foundations of society led him to resist all innovations. He was a Puritan of the eighteenth century. Such men make mistakes; but they are errors of the head and not of the heart, and their fellow-men will overlook any error of judgment when they see that it is error, and not fraud or hypocrisy. Men who opposed him politically, who dissented from his view, ever acknowledged his integrity, the honesty of his intentions, and his sterling worth.
"During his last years he suffered partial paralysis that incapacitated him for labor; but, even while the fires of life were dying out, he manifested a desire to do what he could for the good of his fellow-men." (History of Boscawen and Webster, 1733 to 1878, by C.C. Coffin, Concord, N.H., 1878.)
He married first, September 16, 1824, Harriet Boyd, of Antrim, who was born September 17, 1798, and died October 3, 1850. For his second wife he married Phebe Kilburn, of Boscawen, October 20, 1851. The children of Harriet are: George, born August 23, 1825; Alice, born December 30, 1829, died October 31, 1835; Narcissa, born December 25, 1831, died February 8, 1832; Eveline, born December 13, 1832; Sherman, born February 6, 1835; Arthur and Luther, twins, born May 24, 1837. Luther died July 19, 1858.
Arthur Little, the direct subject of this sketch, was born in the house now occupied by Sherman Little, in Webster, N.H. "His early years were passed on the farm, with attendance at the district school during the brief terms of summer and winter. He became a student at Kimball Union Academy, Meriden, where he fitted for college, graduating from that institution in 1856. He entered Dartmouth the same year, and was graduated there in 1861. His twin brother Luther fitted for college at the same institution, entering college a year later, but died, as above narrated.
"While in college Arthur Little manifested qualities of character that won the respect of his fellow-students and the high esteem of the officers of the institution. The training of his early years, the sterling integrity, the geniality of his disposition, made him a universal favorite. While in college he decided to prepare for the ministry. Possibly the death of his brother may have given direction to his choice of a profession and intensified his purpose.
"He engaged in academical work in 1861 in Thetford and Black River Academies, Vermont, entering Andover Theological Seminary the following winter and Princeton, N.J., in 1862. He was ordained as a minister of the gospel, March 16, 1863, in the Congregational meeting-house, Webster, and three days later received his commission as chaplain of the First Vermont Heavy Artillery. The regiment was detached for garrison duty at Washington. He was married to Laura Elizabeth Frost, of Thetford, Vt., August 15, 1863, in the Church of the Epiphany, Washington, D.C. The regiment performed garrison duty till May, 1864, when it joined the Army of the Potomac at Spottsvylvania, becoming engaged soon after its arrival on the ground. From Spottsylvania to Petersburg, through the Shenandoah Valley campaign, in 1856, to the final scene at Appomattox, where the rebel army surrendered, the chaplain was with the regiment, performing arduous service as nurse, preacher, minister, and consolator. This service brought him in contact with men from every walk in life.
"It was a preparatory school of a high order for his life work. He was mustered out July 4, 1865, returning at once to Andover Seminary to continue his theological studies. On January 3, 1866, he was installed pastor of the Presbyterian Church in Bedford, N.H. On November 2, 1868, he accepted the pastorate of the congregational church in Fond du Lac, Wis., where he remained ten years. His ministry was marked with pre-eminent success, attended by large additions to the church. December 26, 1877, he accepted a call to the New England Church, Chicago, and on January 30, 1889, he was installed pastor of the Second Church, Dorchester, where he still remains. Dr. Little is a corporate member of the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions and president of the Board of Trustees of Bradford Academy. He has preached the annual sermon before the Massachusetts General Association, and also before the American Board. He is an occasional contributor to the newspapers, and has published several addresses.
"During the years of his pastorates he has been called upon to occupy responsible and honorable positions, as Moderator of the Wisconsin Congregational and Presbyterian Convention, the Illinois State Association, and the National Council of Congregational Churches held in Concord, N.H., in 1883. With a commanding presence, a clear, resonant voice, an intimate acquaintance with parliamentary rules, and that keen tact which waits an opportunity in the despatch of business, he has but few equals as a presiding officer.
"On Sunday, January 21, 1883, he suffered a bereavement in the sudden and unexpected death of Mrs. Little. The following summer was spent in Europe. He was present at the meeting of the Congregational Union of England and Wales, as representative of the Congregational church of the United States. He has delivered many addresses before colleges, universities, and conventions. He is deeply interested in the New West commission which has in view the education of the people of the Territories, and was elected president of the Chicago Congregational Club for 1886.
"He has one child, a daughter, May Brant Little, born June 19, 1867. He received the degree of Doctor of Divinity from Dartmouth College, 1880. On February 1, 1898, he married Miss Elizabeth A. Wales.
"Occupying one of the most prominent pulpits of the country, Dr. Little is called upon for much service outside of his pastoral work, which is ever freely rendered, with no expectation of reward except that which comes from pleasure in expressing his high sense of obligation, especially to the long line of ancestry, which has always been on the side of righteousness. His life work is ever before him, and to its accomplishment he directs every faculty." (Boscawen and Webster, one hundred and fiftieth anniversary, August 16, 1883. Concord, N.H., 1884.)
Here are some images from the Atheneum archive related to this topic. Click on any of these images to open a slideshow of all 1 images.
Do you know something about this topic? Do you have
other pictures or items or knowledge to share? What
about a personal story? Are you a collector? Do you
have questions? Contact us
Created: November 6, 2004 Modified: November 6, 2004