The following are some facts, some probabilities, and some suppositions about Robert Little's life, (1783-1850) using his journal and other research as sources.
About September, 1769, a William Little Sr., with wife, Eloner, and three dependents (William Jr., Archibald, and one other person, relative or servant) are believed to have sailed from Belfast, North Ireland on the ship Hopewell, Capt. Thomas Ash, Master, which arrived at Savannah, Georgia, Nov. 28, 1769.
The ship was quarantined two weeks in Savannah harbor for small-pox. More than two dozen passengers, young and old tired and dissatisfied with the three-month trip, the quarantine, and what they saw of Georgia, left the group and made their way to Charles Town where the South Carolina Governor made arrangements for wagons to carry them to a place called Ninety-Six, where they could be granted land. It is not known if our William Little went with this group. However, a William Little and a William Little, Jr. - plus others are listed in the SC 96th District Records.
Many ships brought Protestant Irish immigrants from Belfast, Ireland to Savannah, 1768 to 1774. Not all of them had manifests and not all have left records.
Queensborough Township was a rectangular 50,000-acre reserve, set aside in 1767, for Protestant Irish immigrants. It extended mainly northeastward from present day Louisville, Jefferson county, Georgia, with its southwestern boundary the Ogeechee River and its southeastern boundary, Dry Creek, a branch of the Ogeechee. A 250-acre town site, about 50' X 90', a town common and a glebe area was included for a church.
A William Little (Sr.), had a warrant dated December 12, 1769, and his 300-acre grant was dated September 6, 1774, with the words "Queensborough Township" underlined.
Numbered town lots were entered on land grants if individually requested by the Irish immigrants. There is some doubt as to whether any houses were built on the town site, but the records show that meetings were held at "Queensborough". Apparently either a meeting house or a church was built in the "glebe" area.
William Little's 300 acre grant does not show a numbered lot in the town site. His grant was located approximately 4 miles from the site.
The entire town site was granted, book BBB page 272, October 20, 1793, to the Rev. David Bothwell, Reformed Presbyterian Minister, who came to the area in January 1790.
Records show that a large number of the remaining passengers in Savannah, who had landed December 10, 1769, had warrants for survey of land in Queensborough Township, (inland about 125 miles), dated December 12, 1769, with an ending fixed date of July 3, 1770, for the grant of land.
The fourth ship, Brittania, brought the largest number of all six ships. Thomas Little, with wife and five children were among the passengers arriving in Savannah about January 1st, 1772. Thomas Little's warrant, dated 10 months after landing, indicates that he could not find a suitable 400 acre tract of which he was entitled. He settled for 200 acres, about 4 miles from William Little Sr., and a mile from Samuel Little, who came with him. He had it surveyed November 2, 1772, and the grant was dated October 4, 1774. But Samuel Little failed to complete the required actions for his grant and his son, Samuel Little Jr., as administrator of the estate of Samuel Little Sr., got a survey plat and grant of the land that straddled the new Burke-Jefferson county line after 1796. A good guess is that all three Little families were related,i.e., William, Thomas & Samuel were probably brothers; they each had a son named after them - William Little Jr., Thomas Little Jr., and Samuel Little Jr.
Robert Little, the subject of this summary of researches, was probably the fifth child of the above William Little Jr. - the second child of William Little Jr.'s second marriage. Only one child of the first marriage survived, Eleanor Little, born August 3, 1779, and to become the half sister of Robert Little. Robert Little was born September 24, 1783, and states in the 1850 Copiah Co. Census of MS that he was b. in SC. It appears that they moved to the Buckhead property of 98 acres granted to William Little Sr. on the the 17th of January 1787. Where in South Carolina did they live in 1783 when Robert was born?
The records indicate that William Little Sr., gave the 300 acre property to his son, William Little Jr., and in turn, the latter gave it to his son, Robert. Evidence of this found in a Jefferson County deed dated the 6th of October, 1804, deed book pps 308, 309, when Robert Little sold the lower 2/3rds or 200 acres of the 300-acre tract to George Washington Chisolm, wherein it was stated that the 300 acres was "bequeathed" by William Little d. 1800, the father to Robert Little. (Robert would have been 17-18 years old.) Robert had previously sold the upper 100 acres to Elizabeth Ronaldson, widow of Rev. William Ronaldson of pre-Revolutionary War fame. The date of Robert Little's marriage to Mary Collins Spikes was October 18, 1804. The marriage was twelve days after he completed the sale of the 300-acre original home place.
In William Little Jr's., family Bible, Robert Little's death is recorded as September 20, 1803. Or is this the reference to another Robert Little? I have not seen the Bible.
One speculation is as follows: "In William Little Jr's., family Bible, Robert Little's death is recorded erroneously as September 20, 1803. It could have been made by Robert's half-sister, who fell heir to the Buckhead 98 acres. The fact was that Robert was dating Mary Collins Spikes, a Baptist, daughter of the Elias and Morning Spikes family. In 1803, the Littles were Covenanter Presbyterians, an extremely strict branch of that faith. This situation might have been the same as if Robert ceased to exist in the eyes of his Presbyterian half-sister, Eleanor Little Patterson."
However, Robert was only 20 years old at the time and he lived at Buckhead for more than two years after that date. Further there is a question to Mary Collins Spikes being a Baptist. Some sources show her Grandfather Samuel Collins as being a founder of the Methodist Church in GA. And others show the Spikes as Presbyterian.
Or do we have the wrong Robert Little?
In inserting these possibilities, perhaps someone may have further information that will answer our questions.
The following are some points, references, dates and times that could prove significant.
The reference to Mary Collins in the journal is generally believed to her middle name and Spikes the surname of her mother's husband and her probable father Elias.
Samuel Collins is possibly one of several brothers that were in Richmond Co, GA very early. A Samuel and a Stephen are credited with starting the first Methodist Church in GA. There is a Stephen probable brother of Samuel and there is Stephen b. ca 1767 probable son in the same general area. Some believe these brothers were connected to the Barnwell District, SC Collins.
A William Collins Sr. & Jr., listed 5th Sept. 1781, by the British as defying their authority and members of "David McGirth's gang". Private William Collins was listed in Capt. Carr's company of rangers, Burke county 1781-2. In the book by Robert S. Davis Jr., "Georgia Citizens and Soldiers of the American Revolution", there are a number of other Collins listed. On page 116 there is a William and Stephen Collins listed as Georgia men recruited. From Prince Edward County Deed Book, p. 175, a William Collins sold to Francis H. Godfree on 2nd April 1805, 200 acres bounded "NW by Lambert's Creek (Lambert Creek is Big Creek); SW by Warnock & Whitaker". This acreage was not far from the 300 acres, left to Robert Little.
There is a Spikes family who owned property in Warren county before Jefferson county was formed in 1796. Several tracts of land were sold by "Spikes", prior to an 1805 tax digest listing a further sale or owner of these properties. Some were located on Long Branch Creek, a branch of Rocky Comfort Creek now in Jefferson county. Some of the "Spikes" tracts may have been in present day Glascock county. Long Branch Creek of Rocky Comfort Creek is about six miles north of a 400 acre grant William Little Jr., received, 7th May 1787.
The given name "Bell", to Robert & Mary's first child, Eleanor Bell, could have been a clue to the name of Mary's grandmother. Bell was also a name found in the above David book and in a book by Albert M Hillhouse, "A History of Burke County, Georgia, 1777 - 1950". On pages 55 & 56 of the latter book, names of Burke county officials for the years 1786 - 1788, are given and among them are William Little Jr., Capt. of the Militia district, and John Bell, collector of Taxes. Also on p; 74, mention is made of John Bell, Justice of Peace, December 1812; and again p. 104 John Bell was among 26 names mentioned as head of families in Waynesboro, Burke county, Georgia.
Robert Little's Journal describes the moving of Robert Little's family from Buckhead to his uncle Archibald Little's home on Dry Creek Christmas Eve, 1805. Archibald's wife, sold their Dry Creek home on 200 acres, 19th Mar. 1806 to a neighbor, Benjamin Davis. Apparently they did not have to give possession until a year later when Robert Little recorded his move to Alexander Morrisons on upper Black Jack Creek, about a mile or so above the 300-acre home place he sold a year and a half earlier. Possibly Archibald Little moved to Wilkes County, Georgia as there was this name in the 1820 Census of that county. An Archibald Little married, late 1806 a Mary Butrel in Warren County, adjacent to Jefferson County.
The following quotes and excerpts are what we know about the journey.
.Mary's brothers and sisters were listed in Robert's Journal as:
Josiah, born April 19, 1794
Felitha, born February 2, 1799
William, born January 15, 1802
Levy, born September 14, 1804.
In an early (ca 1818) census of Greene/Perry Co., a Robert Little, age 45+ with three daughters was listed next door to the Spikes.
In the Journal, it is mentioned that Josiah Spikes married a Little. Who was she?
Elias and Morning Spikes were no longer on the census by about 1830.
By November, 1827, Robert and Mary Little had settled in Bridgeport in Simpson County, Mississippi, where the Strong River flows into the Pearl River. All of their children, except one, had been born. They were: (omitting those who died)
William Emmitt born 8-19-1810, died 2-10-1875 married Lavina C. Land
Mary Ann born 5-20-1812, died Ca. 1850 married James Briggs
Robert Jackson born 5-3-1814, died 8-25-1816
Alfred Wright born 3-20-1816, died 8-21-1870 married E.J. Briggs
Absolem born 3-24-1818, died 1-5-1873 married Sarah M. Price
Malinda born 2-12-1820, died 6-30-1870 married Sitleff Swilley
Lucinda born 2-16-1822, died 3-13-1837
Robert Washington born 9-16-1824,died 8-10-1908 married (1) Ann Hill; (2)Mary Bush; (3) Peggy Drummond Buckley
Eliza Jane born 11-25-1826, died 3-20-1845 married Emariah Nix
Matilda Carolina born 4-13-1829,died 1-21-1851 married Reason F. Swilley
As a question to all the MS Little researchers: Who was the Jane Little b. 1820 married to Turner Wilson?
Robert's Journal states: "Mary Little departed this life on the 16th day of February, 1844 at the age of 57 years, 7 months, and 3 days". Robert and Mary Little lived together in the Holy state of Matrimony, 39 years and 8 months.
The summer of 1846, as recorded in the Journal, was a summer Bridgeport will never forget. July 9, 10, and 11, caterpillars ate up the cotton crop.
On August the 24th, Pleasant Hill Baptist church was formed. Robert Little, by the time of the 1850 census, was living with his daughter, Malinda, and her husband, Sitleff Swilley, in Copiah County, Mississippi.
He ended his Journal: "Let it be remembered after my death,I wish to leave to Emariah Nix ten dollars for him to put a good palling around my grave".
Remedies from Robert Little's Journal: "Cure for worms in children: take fifteen roots of pecoon (pecan?) put them into one quart of spirit, drink of mornings. Also when dangerous take the dirt under the door step and strong vinegar, chamber by to be symphered together, make a hottace (hot poultice?) and bind to the stomach"."A cure for a burn: Take mistletoe and spare mint boils them in water until you get the strength out of them, take out the weld, add fresh butter, then boil out the water, then add beeswax until it becomes a salve, be sure to dress twice a day wet the place with beefs foot oile scrape lint lay over thin put on your plaster of salve take care to keep the place cool".
Research acknowledgement is given to Robert Little's journal, Deed Books, Bibles, Booklets by Glenn Shows, a book by Loyal Little and Family Records and records and help from Clara Little Magee.
Much of the genealogical information furnished by Mr. Delbert M. Little, who obtained it from Mrs. Helen Phillips Seebach of Louisville, Georgia, a direct descendant of William Little III.
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