SUNBURY — Brent Carson as William Little recently visited the Myers Inn Museum in Sunbury to visit with Eliza Myers (widow of Lawrence Myers, a co-founder of Sunbury). William entertained Eliza by remembering the whos and whats of Delaware. This meeting been filmed and is on YouTube for the public’s enlightenment and entertainment.
Before Delaware was a county, William and his older brother, Nathaniel, came to Delaware County from Connecticut via Worthington. In the October 1808 election for county commissioners, William got one vote from Sunbury Township and Nathaniel got nine from Sunbury Township and 50 total from Delaware, Liberty, Berkshire and union townships.
Nathanial is said to have purchased goods from Byxbe in Berkshire Township. He had a store on in-lots 63 and 64 at the corner of William and Sandusky streets. He died in 1813, leaving a minor son. The lots were sold to Henry Smith.
During the election, William was a saddler by trade but switched to mercantile business in a store on the southwest corner of Winter and Sandusky streets (Perhaps he got his brother’s merchandise). He carried cloths such as velvet, silk, satin, ‘cassimeres and commoners’, plus shoes, crockery, hardware, medicines and groceries. Each year, he went to Philadelphia for two months to purchase stock for his store. Even though Little’s store was in competition with Col. Byxbe’s store, he prospered and became a very wealthy man.
William owned a large tract of land at the end of Winter Street where Monnett Hall was built. This included the Blue Limestone Quarry. He and his wife, Catherine (Wood), became the parents of five boys and two girls.
Their oldest daughter, Catherine, married a Mr. Siddles. When Elizabeth married George Campbell, who was known for his Delaware grapes, her parents built the stone castle for their home. It is now the Delaware County Arts Castle.
Son John Andrew Little roomed with Rutherford B. Hayes at Kenyon College. He became a doctor, studying with Dr. Case in Columbus, and he married Caroline Williams, youngest daughter of Judge Hosea Williams, who was a good friend of Lucy B. Hayes. A bequest from Dr. Case’s widow built Jane M. Case Hospital in Delaware. The name was later changed to Grady Memorial.
William Sparrow Little married Ellen Thomson. His brother, Louis W. Little, became a lawyer in Osecela, Clarke, Iowa. He enlisted as a sergeant in November 1861 and served in the cavalry as a lieutenant. He died in Washington, D.C. on March 18,1866.
George Wood Little married Annette Pettibone and ran a laundry business in Delaware before moving to Cleveland where he ran a very successful stone business.
Charles Otis Little had a law degree but did not use it. He had a career in banking. During the Civil War, he served in Washington, D.C. and was in Ford’s Theater the night Lincoln was shot. He married Julia, and they lived with William Sparrow and his family.
Information from “Delaware County Then and Now,” by Ray Buckingham, and Baskin’s “History of Delaware County and Ohio.”
To learn about Delaware from its origin into the 1840s, hear William Little’s tale. Go to the Big Walnut Area Historical Society website at http://BigWalnutHistory.org and click on the link on the homepage.
Myers Inn Museum will be open on Saturdays by appointment for family groups of 10 or less. Call 740-965-3582 for more information.
Big Walnut Area Historical Society is a partner in the Delaware County History Network. The Network’s organizations collaborate to preserve, educate, and promote Delaware County’s rich history and heritage.