Olcott W. Little, one of the able representatives of the Kansas press, that omnipotent force that sways public opinion, is a native Kansan, born in Wabaunsee county, Jan. 31, 1867, and is descended from Scotch-Irish ancestry, being the son of William E. and Harriett Z. (Adams) Little. The Little family came to America from Scotland at a very early day and located in New England, and a number of this branch of the Little family served in the Revolutionary army that was recruited in Vermont. James Little was a captain of a company and commanded at the battle of Brandywine. He again bore arms against the Mother Country during the war of 1812 and took an active part in the battles with Proctor and his Indian allies. The Little family was collaterally related to General Torrey of Revolutionary war fame. Samuel Little, grandfather of Olcott W., was a carpenter by trade but never followed that calling, as he resided on a farm near Meadville, Pa., and there his son, William E., was born. Samuel died when William E. was young and the latter was given to an uncle to raise. He obtained but little schooling and at an early age started to work for farmers in the vicinity of his home. At one time he served an apprenticeship in a sash and door factory, but soon gave it up. He came west to seek his fortune, in 1858, at the time when Kansas was struggling to enter the Union, free from slavery. Realizing that a man with little education is handicapped, even in a new country, he attended school in Topeka for a time and then joined one of the pioneer exploring expeditions which went to the Rocky mountains to locate a good central route to the West. Upon his return from this trip he bought a land warrant for a quarter-section of land in Wabaunsee county. At the opening of the Civil war he returned to Pennsylvania and tried to enlist in the army, but found all the regiments filled. On his way west he stopped in Wisconsin and there enlisted in a cavalry regiment. He was in the army three years and saw service in Tennessee and Kentucky, with the Army of the Cumberland, and was with General Sherman during that wonderful march from the city of Atlanta to the Atlantic ocean. Mr. Little received an honorable discharge in Georgia and at once was tendered a commission in the First Wisconsin cavalry, but had already reënlisted in Hancock's veteran corps, and served with it until the close of the var. After leaving the service Mr. Little returned to Wisconsin and was married in 1865. The following year he brought his bride to Kansas and settled on the farm he owned in Wabaunsee county. At different times he added to the original homestead and lived there until his death, on Thanksgiving evening, 1891. The mother continued to live on the farm of some 440 acres until she passed away, in 1907.
Olcott W. Little was reared on the homestead where he first saw the light of day. He led the normal life of a country boy, grew up strong and self-reliant, and his early education was acquired in the district school. His parents wished him to have every advantage in an educational way and sent him to Ottawa University. After leaving college he remained at home until 1888, when he went to Alma to reside, as he was holding the office of deputy county clerk. Upon completing his term in office he entered the employ of the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe railroad for a year, but he had grown fond of journalism and while in Alma had decided in time to own a paper of his own. With this end in view he returned to Alma and, in 1891, bought a half interest in the "Enterprise," an influential Republican journal that has a wide circulation. He has taken a leading part in politics in Wabaunsee county for years, and, in 1892, was a delegate to the Republican national convention. Mr. Little is a Mason, having taken all the degrees from the Chapter to the Mystic Shrine, and is a member of the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks.
In 1905 he married Mrs. Theresa Horne, nee Schutter. He owns and edits his own paper and plays no small part in molding the opinions and ideas of the Wabaunsee population. The press of Kansas is known for its fearlessness in handling public questions and Mr. Little was one of the first to bring before the people of his county those things upon which all should be informed. He is the secretary of the Wabaunsee County Historical Society.Pages 588-589 from volume III, part 1 of Kansas: a cyclopedia of state history, embracing events, institutions, industries, counties, cities, towns, prominent persons, etc. ... / with a supplementary volume devoted to selected personal history and reminiscence. Standard Pub. Co. Chicago : 1912. 3 v. in 4. : front., ill., ports.; 28 cm. Vols. I-II edited by Frank W. Blackmar. Transcribed December 2002 by Carolyn Ward. This volume is identified at the Kansas State Historical Society as microfilm LM195. It is a two-part volume 3.
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