Hard work did not daunt them – stress did not weaken them – challenge did not intimidate them – commitment to each other was unconditional – commitment to their family and community was unwavering and the thrill of achievement a life-long experience. They were my Great Great Grandparents.
When John Little died this tribute was included in the local paper. I suggest it is worth reading. The language is gracious and the story is of a life fully lived….a time we can hardly imagine.
IN MEMORY OF
JOHN LITTLE, ESQUIRE,
JOHN LITTLE, Esq., one of the oldest and most respected settlers in the County of Simcoe, died at his residence in the Township of Mulmur, Ont., on the 17th day of October, A.D. 1866 in the 65th year of his age, lamented by a large circle of morning friends and admiring acquaintances. As he was universally respected in life he is generally mourned in death.
Mr. Little was a native of Ireland, having been born in the Parish of Ematris, County Monaghan, on the 1st of May, 1802. In 1824, he emigrated to Canada, and soon after settled in Mulmur, where he was well known as the “Father of the Township;” a compliment which he richly merited by being its first Settler, its first Post Master, its first Clerk of Division Courts, and from having, at different periods, occupied the position of Township Treasurer and Reeve of the Municipality.
When he first entered Mulmur, nearly forty years ago, it was literally an untrodden wilderness, and the nearest settlement to the spot where he located himself was fifteen miles distant, and unapproachable except on foot.
He made his entrance into the Township with little property, save his axe; but he had a stout arm and willing mind for work, and soon hewed himself out a comfortable home and an independence.
He gradually but surely acquired a large amount of the great representative of wealth in Canada, and had the satisfaction of seeing his children and grand-children located near him in the enjoyment of every reasonable comfort, and placed beyond the reach of such hardships as settlers in his early days had often to endure.
He had taken up his abode where the bear and the wolf had been hitherto undisturbed by the presence of man; but he lived to see around him one of the best settlements in the county, a thriving village close by, a neat stone church on his own farm, and all the evidences of prosperity and civilization fast springing up and closing upon him. Like most of our first settlers, he loved to recall his early life in the bush, and although kindly and sociable in his disposition he would often wish to become once again the sole tenant of a wilderness. This feeling is, however, a very common one amongst the pioneers of the forest.
Mr. Little possessed many qualities which should keep him long in remembrance in his neighbourhood. He was a good neighbour, a fast friend, and a strictly honest man. Many strangers and Missionaries who in days past visited the section of country in which he lived can testify to the hospitality which he and his excellent wife were always willing to extend to the wayfarer. He was a devout Christian, and a member of the Episcopal Church.
“The bad man’s death is horror; but the just keeps something of his glory in his dust.”