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History of the Mohawk Valley: Gateway to the West 1614-1925
Andrew Little

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[This information is from Vol. III, pp. 754-757 of History of the Mohawk Valley: Gateway to the West 1614-1925, edited by Nelson Greene (Chicago: The S. J. Clarke Publishing Company, 1925). It is in the Reference collection of the Schenectady County Public Library at R 974.7 G81h. This online edition includes lists of portraits, maps and illustrations. As noted by Paul Keesler in his article, "The Much Maligned Mr. Greene," some information in this book has been superseded by later research or was provided incorrectly by local sources.]

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Portrait of Andrew Little

Portrait: Andrew Little

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Andrew Little, who embarked in business as a building contractor of Little Falls nearly a half century ago, is still active, at the age of eighty-seven years, as head of the firm of Andrew Little & Son, conducting a planing mill, sash and door factory and lumberyards. His birth occurred in Hawick, Scotland, on the 15th of December, 1837, his parents being William and Janet (Thorburn) Little, the former a native of Bomby Bush, in the parish of Ewes, county of Dumfries, Scotland. His grandparents in the paternal line were Archibald and Barbara (Anderson) Little, the former a carrier and meal dealer who made two trips a week between Hawick and Langholm, also carrying the mails between the two places. Archibald and Barbara (Anderson) Little became the parents of five children, four sons and a daughter, namely: John, who died in young manhood; Andrew, who was head gamekeeper at Langholm Lodge; William, the father of Andrew Little; Archibald, who emigrated to Canada, settling at Puslinch, Ontario; and Catherine, who became the wife of Charles Scott and who passed away at Wilton Lodge, Hawick, Scotland.

In early manhood William Little, the father of Andrew Little of this review, removed to the county of Roxburgh. In 1826 he wedded Miss Janet Thorburn, who was born near Ashkirk, in the county of Roxburgh, in 1800, her parents being George and Jeanie (Henderson) Thorburn. Mr. and Mrs. William Little had a family of seven children, three daughters and four sons, as follows: Jeanie; Janet; George; William; James; Andrew, whose name introduces this article and whe is the only surviving member of the family; and Catherine.

Andrew Little was a youth of fifteen when in 1852 he began learning the trade of joiner at a place four miles distant from his native town, where he spent three years and eight months. Returning to Hawick, he there worked at his trade until 1862. It was on the 2d of August of that year that he sailed for New Zealand in the clipper ship Star of Tasmania, landing at Dunedin on the 9th of November after a very stormy passage. He there obtained a position as a carpenter foreman but two days later, yielding to the persuasion of a number of his shipmates, started with them for the gold mines. They traveled over the tracks made by the horse and bullock teams, for there were no roads at that time. Mr. Little spent the succeeding seven years in gold mining with varying success. He sailed from Dunedin on the 9th of February, 1869, and arrived in London on the 5th of June following. Subsequently he worked in Scotland until 1870, when he crossed the Atlantic to the United States and took up his abode at Cooperstown, Otsego county, New York, where he followed the carpenter's trade until 1876. It was in the latter year that he came to Little Falls to work on the Methodist Episcopal church in the capacity of foreman, after which he embarked in the contracting business on his own account. On the 1st of April, 1881, Mr. Little formed a partnership with Charles A. Newell. The firm of Newell & Little rented what was called the Dorr Mill on Mill street and three years later rented the Houghton planing mill property, which is the present site of the plant of Andrew Little & Son. In the execution of the numerous contracts awarded them they employed sixty-five men at one time. Among the buildings erected by them in Little Falls and vicinity are: The Robert MacKinnon mill, the Enterprise mill, the City Library, the homes of Walter Whitman, Rodney Whitman, James Aldrich, Nelson Gilbert, W. A. Ingham and David Williams, the Presbyterian manse and many other substantial and attractive structures. In 1892 Mr. Little purchased the share of C. A. Newell in the business, which he conducted independently until June 30, 1908, when he was joined in a partnership relation by his elder son, Gorden D. Little, under the firm style of Andrew Little & Son, which has since been maintained.

In 1886 Andrew Little was united in marriage to Miss Anna Gordon, who was born in Belfast, Ireland, on the 6th of January, 1860, and was but five years of age when in 1865 she came to the United States with her parents, Thomas Johnston and Emma (Dickson) Gordon, who resided in New York city for several years. Andrew Little and his wife have two sons: Gorden D., the elder, who was born in Sarnia, Ontario, Canada, on the 30th of January, 1887, is his father's partner in business. On the 18th of September, 1915, he wedded Miss Frances Carolyn Race and to them has been born a son, Robert Andrew Little, whose natal day was February 13, 1923. William T. Little, the younger son of Andrew Little, is a graduate of Cornell University, and was a master engineer in the chemical warfare service during the period of the World war. He is now chief chemist for the Metal & Thermite Corporation of Chrome, New Jersey. To him and his wife, who bore the maiden name of Elizabeth Sill, has been born a daughter, Elizabeth Gordon Little.

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