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Little Family Papers

Identifier: MSS-0863

Scope and Contents note

A collection of papers of a Tuscaloosa family, including some correspondence, financial papers, clippings, and sketches.


  • 1857 - 1950

Biographical/Historical note

Little, John, Sr. John Little Sr. was a native of Corry Hill, Dumfriesshire, Scotland. He was born on June 1, 1800. At some point before 1835, he immigrated to Tuscaloosa, Alabama. Around 1835, he married Barbara Kerr, daughter of George and Margaret Pool Kerr, both natives of Scotland who were teachers in Tuscaloosa. The couple had three sons: (1) George; (2) John Jr.; and James. John Sr. died on October 1, 1886.

Little, George George Little, noted teacher and geologist, was born February 11, 1838, in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. He was the oldest son of John Sr. and Barbara Kerr Little. George received his early education from his mother and his cousin, Miss Mary Irving, and George Bell, a graduate of Edinburgh University, Scotland. He attended the University of Alabama from 1851 to 1855 and graduated with an AB degree. During 1857-1858, he attended the University of Berlin and in 1858-1859 studied at the University of Gottingen where he received his PhD. In 1906, the University of Alabama conferred an honorary LL.D. upon him. He served in the following positions: teacher, Tuscaloosa, 1855-1865; professor of natural sciences from perhaps 1860-1867 at Oakland College, Mississippi; professor of mineralogy and geology and agriculture, University of Georgia 1876-1878; State Geologist, Mississippi, 1870-1874; State Geologist, Georgia, 1874-1881; geologist expert, Chattanooga, Tennessee, 1889-1892; geological expert Tuscaloosa, 1892-1912; and Secretary Tuscaloosa Board of Trade 1909-1912. While a student at the University of Alabama, he held the rank of sergeant in the cadet corps. At the outbreak of the Civil War, he resigned as Professor of Chemistry at Oakland College in Mississippi, and entered the Confederate Army with the rank of Orderly Sergeant in Lumsden’s Battery, Alabama Light Artillery. During the conflict, he rose to the rank of Lt. Colonel. After the war, he married Caroline Pattillo, daughter of Rev. Daniel Gillespie and Mary Ann Pattillo Doak of Columbia, Tennessee, on May 13, 1869, at Sardis, Mississippi. They had six children: (1) Mary; (2) Daniel Doak; (3) George Kerr; (4) James Waddell; (5) John Goulding; and (6) Margaret Carolyn.

Little, John, Jr. Dr. John Little Jr., a physician, banker, businessman, was born June 19, 1841, in Tuscaloosa, the second son of John Sr. and Barbara Kerr Little. He was the brother of James and George Little. He was educated in the schools of Tuscaloosa by his mother and his brother George. He attended the University of Alabama from 1856-1859. He received an AB degree from Oakland College, Mississippi, in 1860, where he served as the Principal of the Preparatory department from his graduation until his entry in the Confederate Army in 1861. He returned to Tuscaloosa and enlisted as a private in Lumsden’s Battery, Alabama Light Artillery, 1861-1865. Following the war, he worked for a short while as an accountant for William Kerr. He graduated from Tulane University in 1869. He was on the physicians’ staff at Bryce Hospital in Tuscaloosa, and served as treasurer. He entered general practice in 1875 and managed the Little Drug store until 1881. He was also cashier of the First National Bank of Tuscaloosa. He became vice president in 1910, and held that position until his death in 1919. On November 14, 1872, he married Amanda Harris, daughter of Richard Norfleet Harris and Amanda M. Banks Harris. They had three sons: (1) John III; (2) Richard Harris; and (3) Robert Irving. He died February 1, 1919, in Tuscaloosa.

Little, James James Little was the third son of John Sr. and Barbara Kerr Little. He was born around 1847 and died in 1892. He had taken over the management of the Little Drug Store in 1881. He was killed when his buggy overturned while he was delivering a prescription to a customer in 1892. There is no record of family or descendants.

Little, John III John Little III was a Presbyterian Minister, born April 29, 1874, in Tuscaloosa. He was the oldest son of John Jr. and Amanda Harris Little. His elementary preparation was by Prof. W. H. Verner. In 1893, he graduated from the University of Alabama with a BA degree. In 1899, he received training at the theological seminary at Louisville, Kentucky, and was ordained to the ministry by the Presbytery of Louisville, Kentucky. Rev. Little was founder and superintendent of the Presbyterian Colored Missions of Louisville. The institution opened February 1, 1899, giving religious instruction and industrial training under the supervision of white teachers. He married Eleanor Tarrant who died September 2, 1917. Then he married Bertha Hill Tarrant August 16, 1919, daughter of Samual A. and Eliza Selleck Tarrant of Macon, Mississippi. They had two children: (1) Elizabeth Tarrant; and (2) John Tarrant.

Little, Richard Richard Harris Little was the middle son of John Jr. and Amanda Little. He lived in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, and was publisher of the Times-Gazette, forerunner of the Tuscaloosa News. He sued his brothers Irving and John III after their father’s death.

Little, R. Irving Irving Little, youngest son of John Jr. and Amanda Little, born approximately 1882. He was educated at the University of Alabama and served as the department head of the Romance Language Department. He was active in Sigma Alpha Epsilon even after his graduation. For a while he taught at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. Irving Little wrote History of the University Club: Building and Site (Tuscaloosa, 1950). He was unmarried and was an active member of the Presbyterian Church.


3.6 Linear Feet

Language of Materials



A collection of papers of a Tuscaloosa, Alabama, family, including some correspondence, financial papers, clippings, and sketches.


Gift of Robert Irving Little


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Processed by

Rautt, Joanne 1982; updated by McIlwain, John 2007
Guide to Little Family Papers
November 2014
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the The University of Alabama Libraries Special Collections Repository

Box 870266
Tuscaloosa AL 35487-0266