The list of the leading citizens of Caldwell contains the name of Judge George Little, one of the representative and honored citizens of Canyon County. His record as a soldier, as an official and as a business man has been so honorable that he has gained the confidence and good will of all with whom he has been brought in contact, and as probate judge and superintendent of public instruction he won still higher encomiums from his fellow men by reason of the fidelity and ability which he manifested in the discharge of his duties. He retired from office in January 1899.
A native of Kentucky, Judge Little was born in Daviess County, July 15, 1839, and is of Scotch and English descent. The original American ancestors of the family located in Massachusetts, and the branch to which our subject belongs was afterward planted in Charleston, South Carolina. Later generations of the family removed to Kentucky, where Wesley Morgan Little, the father of the Judge, was born, in 1814. In early life he learned the wheelwright’s trade, but afterward engaged in farming. His wife bore the maiden name of Henrietta Waltrip, and belonged to one of the old families of Culpeper County, Virginia. Her father was one of the prominent residents of that County and held various positions of honor and trust. In politics the father of Judge Little was a Democrat and served as presidential elector in 1856, casting his vote for James Buchanan. In a political altercation with a Know-nothing he was shot and killed, leaving a family of three children. The mother of our subject had died in the twenty-ninth year of her age, and he, had later married again, having three children by the second union.
Judge Little was educated in the public schools of his native town, and when the great civil war was inaugurated gave his support to the Union. Careful consideration led him to believe that any attempt to destroy the power of the national government was absolutely wrong, and with a patriotic impulse he joined Company M, Seventeenth Kentucky Volunteer Cavalry, serving in Mississippi and Tennessee. He participated in a number of engagements and was wounded in the thigh by a guerrilla. On the expiration of his term of service he engaged in merchandising on Green River, Kentucky, and joined a regiment which was organized for home protection, of which command he was made major. This aroused the special ire of the guerrilla bands, who destroyed his store by fire and took him prisoner, but he was afterward rescued by a company of Kentucky cavalry. Judge Little then went to Louisville and enlisted in the regular army, serving on the regimental staff of General John Gibbon for three years.
On the close of the war he resumed merchandising, choosing as the scene of his labors the town of Laramie, Wyoming, where he remained for sixteen years, enjoying a liberal patronage. During that time he served as postmaster of Laramie by appointment of President Grant, and also held important County offices. In 1884 he came to Caldwell, where he established a drug store, continuing in that line of trade for five years, when his health failed and he sold out. Hoping that a change of climate would prove beneficial, he sought the higher altitude of the Jordan valley, in Oregon, where for a time he conducted a general mercantile store. His undertakings there, however, were not attended with success and he returned to Caldwell. Since that time he has been almost continuously connected with the public service. He was district clerk and deputy auditor and recorder for two years, and since that time has been twice elected probate judge, which position he is filling at the present time, together with that of superintendent of public instruction in Canyon County. His extreme fairness makes him especially capable in the former office, while his liberal mental culture, and deep interest in the cause of education render his service in the latter position extremely effective.
In 1875 Judge Little was married, in Laramie, Wyoming, to Miss Flora Cameron, a native of Canada and of Scotch descent. They now have two children: Edna, who has attained a high reputation as a successful teacher and is now occupying a position in the Moscow high school; and Wesley, who is attending college in Caldwell. The Judge has been a lifelong Republican and now supports the free-silver wing of the Party. He was made a Mason in Laramie Lodge, No. 2, A. F. & A. M., of Laramie, Wyoming, and is a charter member and past master of Essene Lodge, No. 22, of Caldwell. Both he and his wife are consistent and active members of the Presbyterian Church, with which he has been connected since the age of sixteen years. He is now superintendent of the Presbyterian Sunday school in Caldwell, and is very earnest and zealous in the work, and generously cooperates with all movements or measures intended for the betterment of humanity. He is a man of strong mentality, of broad humanitarian principles and kindly motives. No trust reposed in him has ever been betrayed, and whether on the field of battle protecting the stars and stripes or in local political office, he is true to his country and its best interests, a loyal and patriotic citizen.