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Charles F. Little, M. D., is one of the oldest living members of the medical profession in Kansas. It was fully half a century ago that he came to Manhattan, and until his recent retirement was almost continuously identifled with his professional duties in Riley County. Doctor Little is one of the men who gained their training and attended their first cases prior to the Civil war. In the war he served as an assistant surgeon. A great fund of practical business ability has been a prominent characteristie of Doctor Little and for years he has been one of the influential business men of Manhattan.
His individual record of honorable service adds to the lustre of the family name. His ancestry goes back to New England. He is a descendant of George Little, who came from London, England, to America in 1640 and settled around Massachusetts Bay at Newbury. The line of descent from father to son in subsequent generations is as follows: George Little, the progenitor of the family in America; Moses; Tristam; Henry; Henry h; Abner Bailey; Caleb J. T.; and Dr. Charles F. Little. Doctor Little represents the eighth successive generation of the family in America.
Charles F. Little was born at Milford, New Hampshire, January 27, 1836, a son of Caleb J. T. and Eliza. Ann (Brooks) Little. Caleb J. T. Little was born at Gofftown, New Hampshire, July 13, 1811, son of Abner Bailey and Nancy (Tenney) Little. In 1834 Caleb Little married Elliza Ann Brooks, who was born at Groton, Massachusetts, in 1813, daughter of Capt. Leonard and Sarah (Hosely) Brooks, both of whom were doscended from early New England settlers. In 1837 Calob Little and his family moved to Illinois. No railroads were in the West at the time, and they made the journey by way of the Great Lakes to Detroit and thence by prairie schooner to Henry County, Illinois. Their first settlement was at Wethersfield and later at Kewanee. Caleb Little died at Kewanee at the age of eight-six.
Doctor Little grew up and spent his boyhood in the pioneer Illinois of seventy years ago. There were no public schools deserving of the name and he attended a subscription school, and had to exercise great diligence in securing an adequate aducation. For three years he studied medicine and rode on the rounds with Dr. T. D. Fitch of Kewanee. To travel about the country with a regular practitioner was one of the best means of acquiring medical experience in the early days. In 1860 Doctor Little entered Rush Medical College at Chicago, and took one term of lectures. He then practiced in Tazewell County, Illinois, for a little more than 1 1/2 years. Returning to Rush Medical College, he was given his M. D. degree January 21, 1863. On the following 16th of February he was commissioned an assistant surgeon of the Nineteenth Illinois Infantry, and was with his command until the regiment was mustered out in July, 1864.
Doctor Little after leaving the army practiced at Princeton, Illinois, and also married there. From that rich and well settled section of Northern Illinois he came on July 29, 1866, to Manhattan, Kansas. Just half a century has passed since he located in this then new town, and as one of the early doctors he encountered all the hardships and vicissitudes of early practice. He rode great distances over the prairies and through the woods and he continued practice until the era of telephones, good roads, automobiles, and many other facilities supplanted the earlier methods. After several years of active practice Doctor Little moved in 1870 to a farm in Pottawatomie County, and lived on his farm until March, 1875. He then returned to Manhattan, and for many years enjoyed a large practice, which only recently he has given up. He has been a member of the Riley County Medical Society as long as it has existed, and is also a member of the Kansas State Society and a member of the American Medical Association.
In politics he has been a republican almost from the formation of the party. He was elected in 1875 a member of the Kansas Legislature and acquitted himself with credit in the following seasion. In 1884 he was appointed a member of the Pension Examining Board, and continued in that office, most of the time as secretary, until he resigned about three years ago.
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As a business man Doctor Little took a prominent part in the organization of the First National Bank of Manhattan, and for many years has been its vice president. He has also been president of the Manhattan Building, Loan and Savings Association, and since the founding of the Carnegie Library at Manhattan has been president of its board. He is a Master Mason.
In 1866 at Princeton, Illinois, Doctor Little married Charlotte Swift, daughter of Capt. Samuel Swift, of Princeton, Mrs. Little died August 24, 1909, having traveled life’s highway with the doctor for forty-three years. To their marriage were born five children. Eliza Ada is the wife of E. J. MacEwan of Kalamazoo, Michigan. Nellie Perhins is the wife of C. J. Dobbs, a lawyer of Seattle, Washington. Blanch Alpine is now deceased. B. Belle is a physician and surgeon at Manhattan. Frederick Swift is deceased.
The long and honorable service of Doctor Little in the medical profession is continued through his talented daughter, Dr. B. Belle Little. She was born in Manhattan and after finishing the public school course at Manhattan entered the Kansas State Agricultural College, where she was graduated Bachelor of Science in 1891. In 1906 she obtained her M. D. degree from the Woman’s Medical College of Pennsylvania at Philadelphia. In September, 1907, after a year apent as interne in the New England Hospital for Women and Children at Boston, she began her active practice at Manhattan associated with her father. She is one of the foremost women physicians of Kansas, and her influence and activities extend beyond the realm of her private practice, large as it is. She has the distinction of founding the Charlotte Swift Memorial Hospital at Manhattan, which was opened March 2, 1915. She is also an active member of the Riley County and the Kansas State Medical societies.