line of descent to the Smith family index home

vital records sources

The Little family surely came to Ireland from Scotland during the border wars in the early 18th century. The Bonds, Littles and other Scots families were congregants at Corboy Presbyterian Church. How the Littles of Ballygarive, also known as Ballygarve and Ballygarvey, are connected to these earlier Littles, who owned land nearby, isn't known. Other Corboy families had the Scots names Graham and Frasier. Graham Little may have gotten his first name from a maternal branch of his family. His first wife was a Frasier. Many of Corboy worshippers went to the US in 1729, and others gradually became members of the Church of Ireland, but the Corboy Church still holds some services. The building is now a historical landmark, and it was the same one that Graham Little and his family would have known.

Corboy Presbyterian Church, with Graham Little's tombstone in the foreground

Family notes passed down from Stanton Smith call him James Graham Little, but only evidence of the name Graham Little has been found. He was very likely a relative of Daniel and George Little of Ballygarve, who had wills probated in 1761 and 1748/1749 respectively. Either may have been his father. Family notes say Simon Little (1708-1768) was his father, but evidence doesn't support this, and nothing has been found to say that this Simon was born in 1708. If he was, he couldn't have been Graham's father. There was a Simon Little whose will was probated in 1770 and was likely the same Simon supposedly buried in Corboy churchyard, died 1768. He was from Drumnacross near Corboy and Ballygarve.
     Graham Little has a gravestone in Corboy churchyard, and he was living in Ballygarve when he wrote his will. Given the unusual name, he was very likely the Graham Little who had a license bond to marry Mary "Frazer" in 1749. His gravestone also has an inscription for his wife Jane "alias Murphy." She was about twenty years younger than Graham and was likely his second wife.
     Robert Keating Smith's genealogical notes say that Graham had twelve children by two wives. Thomasina Montgomery, Robert's aunt, said that her grandmother (Jane Little Keating) had three stepsisters. Thomasina also says George, of the Royal Army, and John, a "rebel" (i.e. part of the Irish Rebellion of the 1790s) who moved to Philadelphia, were other siblings. George surely is the one who has a gravestone at Corboy that puts his birth just before Jane's. John was very likely the one who was in Pittsburgh and ended up in Indianapols, Indiana, with a wife Margaret and children born in Pennsylvania. One of them was named "Ingraham," another was Margaret Jane.
     Graham Little is added to the list of possible children and may have been the oldest, born about 1752. He moved to St. John's, New Brunswick, and was called "an Irish Protestant trader from Longford." Mary would have to have been his mother, and he may have moved away before any of the younger children had a solid memory of him. If he was followed by three daughters, the children of Mary were born between about 1752 and 1758. Possibly George's and certainly Jane's births between about 1761 and 1763 would put the marriage of Jane Murphy to their father about 1759-1761. That works chronologically. That accounts for seven children by Jane and possibly four by Mary.

The inscriptions on many of the table stones at Corboy are nearly illegible from lichen, especially in the dim, overcast light the day I visited. I almost gave up looking, but a few letter groups on this stone gave it away. I little soil revealed the rest.

Here lieth the body of Graham Little, late of Ballygarve, who departd
this life on the 11th of December 1791
in the 70th year of his age

[this phrase literally means he was 69 and would turn 70 within the next year, putting his birth most likely in 1722]

He was an affectionate husband
a tender parent and a sincere

Also the body of his wife Jane Little
alias Murphy who departed this life
on the 2nd day of December 1825 in
the 86th year of her age

children of Graham Little and perhaps Mary Frazer:

i. Graham b. abt 1752, d. abt January 1832, Trepassey, NB
ii. daughter? b. abt 1754
iii. daughter? b. abt 1756
iv. daughter? b. abt 1758

Jane Murphy:

v. George? b. 1761/1762, d. 9 April 1821, Ballygarve (Corboy churchyard)
vi. Jane b. 1762/1763
vii. Mary b. 22 August (1768? sources differ), d. 23 June 1835, Newburgh, Ulster Co., NY, m. 1. Alexander Gray, 2. Gen. James Clinton
viii. child? b. abt 1772
ix. John? b. abt 1775-1781, m. Margaret, d. 1860-1870, prob. Indianapolis
x. Letitia ("Letty") m. 1. Capt. John Robson, 2. George Burrowes
xi. Hannah b. abt. 1780, d. 7 May 1861, Newpark Lodge (Longford Journal notice)
xii. Catherine ("Kitty") b. abt. 1785, d. 24 April 1855, Ballygarve (Longford Journal notice)

vital records sources: Graham's date of death and age at death are on a gravestone in Corboy Presbyterian churchyard in Corboy, Co. Longford. His wife Jane's name (including maiden name) and dates are also on this stone.


all text and photographs © 1998-2020 by Doug Sinclair unless where otherwise noted