My DNA has been analyzed by Family Tree DNA (Kit #27531) and the YFull Corporation (YF08273/YF73510). A Guanine nitrogenous base was found at a location where Adenine was expected. This particular mutation at this location identifies the SNP (Single Nucleotide Polymorphism) called R-Y95564. Only three people with this specific anomaly have been tested to date, and one is known to be descended from a Thomas Little who was born near Bentpath, Eskdale (in the Borders Region of Scotland) in 1740. So it’s likely my background is in that area, also.
It’s also likely that my ancestors were not among those who came to Northern Ireland back in the 17th Century. Some were part of “the Plantation of Ireland” after 1610 and some came earlier as part of a private commercial arrangement in the Counties of Down and Antrim. My earliest known ancestors are from County Down, but it seems likely that they emigrated there much later than the 1600s. What I know for sure is that my great grandfather was there is 1868 and my grandfather was still there in 1911 when he left for Canada, But let’s start at the beginning.
1827 – 1834
The earliest “Little” ancestor about whom I know anything specific is my great-great-grandfather. His name was James Little and he was a farmer, as mentioned in two documents related to his son. He held nine acres in Tullylish Parish of County Down that were leased from Thomas Waring (descendant of Colonel Waring, after whom nearby Waringstown is named). This is recorded because James Little was involved in “ejectments” in 1828 and again in 1830.
This property seems to have been at Drumhorc, just South of Laurencetown, according to the Tithe Aplotments of 1827 and 1834. That location is just a couple of miles South of the location where we find his son, James Little/Lyttle, who is my great-grandfather, and who was born around 1827.
The first actual record I have of his son, my great-grandfather James Little/Lyttle, is this marriage certificate to his first wife, Rachel Hamilton (née Levingston sometimes spelled Livingston). Rachel would be about 39 years of age at that time and my great-grandfather would have been around 31. But who is Rachel (sometimes spelled Rachael)?
Rachel Levingston (b. c. 1819) was the eldest daughter of Henry Levingston (b. 1789) and his wife Elizabeth (b. c. 1790). They lived in the Townland of Clare, part of Tullylish parish in County Down (near Craigavon), Northern Ireland. They also had Jane (b. c. 1825, m. John English, d. 6 Aug 1883), John (b. c. 1828 d. 9 May 1865), and Henry, Junior (b. 1829, d. 4 Oct 1869). Rachel was first married to Stephen Hamilton on February 27, 1842, when she was about 23 years old.
Stephen’s brother Alexander Hamilton died August 12, 1847 at the age of 26 and was buried by his father, Stephen Hamilton, Senior. Stephen Senior must have died not long after that, according to the following record from nearby St. Colman’s (Catholic) church, mentioning Rachel’s mother-in-law. She sold them the gardens and land around the church to serve as their cemetery. This church turns out to be directly adjacent to the property of James Little/Lyttle.
“Memorandum of Settlement between the Revd John Byrne, Patrick Campbell and Patrick McConville on the part of the committee of Clare Chapel and Sarah Hamilton relict of the late Stephen Hamilton, Clare.
The said Sarah Hamilton has this day sold her interest in and given possession of the premises consisting of three gardens containing by measurement 1 rood 32 perches and two houses on said ground adjoining the Roman Catholic Chapel of Clare in consideration of which she received from the above named persons on behalf of the committee the sum of £40 sterling.
Dated March the 17th 1854.
Witnesses Present: John McKeown and W Dickson.”
Stephen Junior, in turn, must have died sometime before 1858 because Rachel was a widow in 1858 when she married my great-grandfather, James Little/Lyttle.
Griffiths Valuation – 1864
Six years after James’ marriage to Rachel, in the spring of 1864, Griffith’s Valuation identified the home and outbuildings as Lot #27 at the Southwest corner of Clare Road and a road that is called Crowhill Road to the North and Low Town Road to the South.
The Townland of Clare
Where is the Townland of Clare? It is part of the Parish of Tullylish, in County Down, Northern Ireland, about 8 miles (12 km) SouthEast of Lake Neagh and 25 miles (40 km) SouthWest of Belfast.
The 1,334-acre townland of Clare was acquired by Hugh Magennis in 1583. Much of the surrounding area was in the hands of the (Sir Art) Magennis family until that group fell into disfavor in 1641 by supporting the wrong side in an uprising and the Stewarts (of Ards) gained control of the whole area. By the time of the Griffith’s Valuation, that land (along with another 5,000 acres of County Down) was owned by Alexander John Robert Stewart (High Sheriff of County Down) and leased out to its various farmers.
James Little/Lyttle’s farm is highlighted above in green, showing its location within the Townland of Clare. It is about halfway along Clare Road, which runs from just South of Waringtown (where his Presbyterian church records were kept) to the Plantation Road leading to Gilford (where he picked up his mail until delivery came to the area).
That whole area was part of Tullylish parish, which was known for fine linen weaving. The weavers who worked at mills in nearby towns stayed in rented cotter houses (cottages) at Clare and other small towns. James Little/Lyttle leased the farmlands from the Stewarts and, in turn, rented out cotter houses on the property to sub-tenants John Thompson, Elizabeth Hanes, Mary Leatham, and John Watson.
The property next door, Lot #26, was listed as belonging to William Phair, although six months later it would be transferred to James Little/Lyttle according to this document.
Unfortunately, we know very little about James and Rachel’s life together. For example, although Griffith’s Valuation stated that there were 6 Littles in the area, we cannot be sure that they had four children, as there may have been other Littles in the area. But we do have the following documents, showing my great-grandfather as the executor of the estate of his brother-in-law John in 1865 and then his other brother-in-law Henry Junior in 1870.
We also have the following photograph, provided by Bev Capper who is the grand daughter of Elizabeth “Bessie” McKee (née Levingston), Rachel’s niece. On the back is written “Uncle Lyttle & wife – Grammy’s aunt … 1876?”
Rachel died eight years after the date on this photograph and is remembered in this gravestone inscription.
On June 30, 1885, 10 months after the death of Rachel and at the age of about 58, James Little/Lyttle married Jennnie who was nearly(!) 21 years of age.
Eliza Jane “Jennie” McCullagh/Lyttle/Brown
James Little/Lyttle’s friend Robert McClave McCullagh was married to Mary Jane Hawthorn (the daughter of Francis Hawthorn of Meenan, near Poyntz Pass).
The McCullaghs (sometimes spelled McCullough) lived at Annaghdroghal at the SouthEast corner of Lough Neagh in Kilmore townland, part of Shankill, Down (Grid Reference J0863). Although my family always said that the name meant “hill of bad fortune,” it seems to mean simply “big marsh” [Angelique Day & Patrick McWilliams. 1992. Ordinance Survey Memoirs of Ireland: Parishes of County Down III/1833-1838 Mid-Down Vol. 12. Belfast: Queen’s University, p. 139].
That farm (Lots 1 and 2) was next door to the home of John Elliott since 1760 (Lots 3,4,5, and 6). That makes sense, since the Elliotts were another of the Border families (a much bigger one) from the Dumfriesshire area of Southern Scotland, directly adjacent to the home of the Little clan at Meikledale (which is just North of Langholm). Today, the location of that Elliott/McCullagh farm is the site of the bridge over the Lagan Navigation Canal [Thrift, Gertrude, Ed. 1918. Index of Irish Wills: Dromore, Newry, and Mourne Vol. 4. London: Phillmore & Co., p. 39].
From 1794 until the 1930s, there were tow paths along the canal where horses pulled barges all the way to Lisburn to enter the larger canal to the port city of Belfast. Today, that bridge is the starting place of a walking tour and/or bicycle route along the path of the old canal.
The 78-acre McCullagh farm there was owned by Henry Waring, descendant of Colonel William Waring, after whom nearby Waringstown is named. The McCullaghs also rented out cotter houses to sub-tenants.
On July 12, 1864, the McCullaghs gave birth to Eliza Jane “Jennie” McCullagh.
Then, in 1871, Robert and Mary Jane moved to the 18th Century stone Fortland House with 90 acres of land, about four miles North of Moira and a mile and a half East of Aghalee. This is where Jennie grew up with her famous brother Sir Crawford McCullagh, (thrice Lord Mayor of Belfast, et cetera).
Sir Crawford was director of several businesses in Belfast, including Maguire and Patterson, a dry goods firm (Vespa matches), and the Classic Cinema at Castle Place, as well as owning McCullagh and Co., a silk mercers, milliners and fancy drapery store taken over by Styles and Mantles in 1927.
He was elected to Belfast City Council for the Irish Unionist Party. In 1911, he was the High Sheriff of Belfast, and from 1914 to 1917 Lord Mayor of Belfast. McCullagh was knighted in 1915. A Belfast Telegraph report stated that Sir Crawford called for five minutes of silence on 1 July 1916, following news of the slaughter of thousands of soldiers from the 36th (Ulster) Division. Thus, he became the first recorded person to publicly call for a ‘silent’ tribute for fallen soldiers.
In the Northern Ireland general election, 1921, he was elected for Belfast South for the Ulster Unionist Party. He lost his seat in 1925. From 1931 until 1942, McCullagh was again Lord Mayor of Belfast, which now entitled him to a seat in the Senate of Northern Ireland. He was created a baronet on 1 July 1935.
Letters Patent have passed the Great Seal of the Realm granting the dignity of a Baronet of the United Kingdom to The Right Honorable Sir Crawford McCullagh of Lismara in the parish of Carnmoney in the County of Antrim (1868-April 13, 1948), Ulster Unionist politician, Knight, thrice Lord Mayor of Belfast (1914-17, 1931-42, & 1943-46) and his heirs male of his body lawfully begotten. Whitehall, July, 1935.
He was Deputy Speaker from 1939-41. In 1938 he negotiated with Lord Shaftesbury a donation to the city of Belfast Castle and its demesne of 200 acres bordering on Hazelwood and Bellevue pleasure grounds. In 1941, he was appointed to the Privy Council of Northern Ireland. From 1943 until 1946, he served a third and final term as Lord Mayor.
As the Rt Hon Sir Crawford McCullagh Bt, JP, DL, he lived well at Lismarra, Carnmoney, near Belfast. Lismarra was built by Sir Charles Lanyon in 1850 for John Finlay, who was a flax merchant. The house is made from golden sandstone, and has a grand front entrance with a tall wooden door and several sandstone pillars. From 1895 until 1915 Edward Robinson, of Robinson and Cleaver’s department store, lived there. General Dwight Eisenhower was Sir Crawford’s most famous visitor at Lismarra in 1945. The house was turned into a nursing home and renamed Abbeydene following his death, and is now an exclusive guest house.
By the time of the 1901 census, Robert and Mary Jane could be found living with another daughter’s family at Cornakinnegar, Armagh … very near their original farm at Annodroghal.
The first child born to James and Jennie was a son named James Alexander in 1887. But James Alexander died as an infant. When a second son (my grandfather) came along on July 31, 1889, he was named James Andrew. The Little/Lyttles, however, were not about to pay another $2 fee to register a new birth, so my grandfather never had a birth certificate of his own.
The next child was Florence Jemima (known as Florrie Pat), born November 22, 1890. She went on to work her way up in the Buying department at Eaton’s retail store and traveled extensively in Britain and Europe seeking women’s fashions. At the time of my grandfather’s death in 1964 (when she would be about 74) she was still listed as Florence Lyttle from Toronto, so presumably she was unmarried. The third child was a son, Johnny, who would live only four years from 1892-1896.
Howard Francis was born in 1894. He went on to father Crawford Lyttle who produced, among other children, Yale Lyttle (pictured above in the white “Canadian” T-shirt). Yale lives near my dad’s home, has contributed insights to this report, and recently completed a trek through the family’s former territories. He even stayed at Abbeydene (the new name for Lismara, Sir Crawford McCullagh’s old home) while in Belfast, and reports being treated like royalty because of this relationship. His brother, Ron Lyttle, has also contributed information to this report.
On April 23, 1896, Albert Samuel was the fourth surviving child. He was described as a talented pianist with a nervous disposition who never married (euphemisms?). The fifth and last child of this marriage was Rachel Violet (“Auntie Vi”), born April 11, 1898 when James Little/Lyttle was probably 71. Vi went on to marry Robert Brown Donald and they both lived happily and fruitfully into their nineties, producing three children and eight grandchildren.
Violet’s baptismal document spells the name Lyttle instead of Little. We asked my grandfather why the spelling finally settled this way, after having varied back and forth between Little and Lyttle over the years. He would only quip, with a twinkle in his eye, “I think it had something to do with a horse.” We suspect that spellings had to be settled when home postal delivery came to the area, around the time of Auntie Vi’s birth. For decades, our family thought of my great-grandfather as “the 7th James Lyttle,” misreading the notation for father (Fth) above.
James Little/Lyttle – 1901
By the time of the 1901 census on April 18th, The Lyttles had more cotter houses rented out.
Two homes were rented out to the Joseph Maxwell and William Maxwell families.
Across Clare Road, there were three homes, two of which were occupied by the families of Elizabeth Thomas and Ann Lennon with the third one vacant. The next building (105) was the Roman Catholic Chapel, which is of course St. Colman’s Church, today.
Two of the other houses on the main property were unoccupied, as was the schoolhouse to the west of his farmhouse. In this listing, it almost seems as if the school belonged to the Lyttle family, but that seems very unlikely. That school was a small one, supported by its students in 1836 as part of the National (secular) system and, by 1901, identified as a Presbyterian school.
My uncle, Orville Ross Lyttle (the source of the vast majority of this data), reports that they had 72 acres at this time: considerably more than the 25 at the time of the Griffith’s Valuation 37 years earlier. This is easy to believe, if his empire now consisted of the original lands (Lot 27), plus the adjacent property of William Fair (Lot 26), and the nearby Levingston lands (Lots 63, 64, and 67-72).
Jennie Lyttle – 1900s
About six months after that census, on October 2, 1901, James Lyttle died and was buried at the old Tullylish graveyard two miles South of Clare at Laurencetown.
The grant, awarded on November 27, left Jennie 1,445 pounds, 10 shillings, and 9 pence, which her brother (Sir Crawford) helped her invest.
The farm was taken over by the (John Lewis) Gilpin family: Methodists from County Armagh. They held the homes on both sides of Clare Road, between the Presbyterian Meeting House (#67) that used to be the National School and the R. C. Chapel (#74) that would become St. Colman’s Church.
The family of their son, Lewis Alfred, was still living in the house when my grandfather re-visited in 1957. They had tea and visited together at that time, and my grandfather was able to find the 30 granite markers he had helped his dad install at the entrances to their various fields.
It looks like the farmlands have been sold off; and the house seems to be in disrepair. In fact, the all the windows on the ground floor have since been closed off with cinder block and the building might be used as a storage area today.
Here is a map of part of Ulster (Northern Ireland), with some highlights noted.
After the death of my great-grandfather, Jennie had lived on the return from her investments for a while and my grandfather apprenticed to Lisburn grocer John Gibson (who had been a witness at James’ and Jennie’s wedding). My grandfather often spoke of making home deliveries on a bicycle, mixing each customer’s favorite blend from a recipe list, using the assortment of teas in his bicycle carrier. Later, Jennie was to marry Thomas Brown, a 36-year-old grocery importer.
She moved the whole family to his store at 334 Woodstock Road in Belfast, BT6 9DP.
Later, that store would be combined with the neighboring 332 Woodstock Road to become R. Fleeton & Co., family grocers. Today, 330/332 Woodstock Road is the home of Fosters Family Butchers.
That second marriage did not last long, however, as Thomas died of bronchitis a few months later–more than two months before his son Tommy was born.
Mr. Brown was buried in Section P, Class 3, Number P40 of the Belfast cemetery, leaving Jennie another estate of just over 913 pounds.
The widow and her family moved into 587 Lisburn Road in Belfast, BT9 7GS by the time of the 1911 census, conducted at the beginning of April. That home was very near the Windsor Presbyterian Church, where Jennie and Thomas Brown had been married, and the rowhouse now hosts a Barnam’s ice cream shop with solicitors’ offices above.
Jennie and her young son Tommy were being called Brown at the time and Jennie was listed as 45, although she would in fact be turning 47 in three months. My grandfather was listed as 23 (because of the birth certificate situation) and as a grocer’s assistant. The other children had been employed by Sir Crawford and were thus listed as draper’s assistants, except for Vi and Tommy who were still in school.
Canada – 1910s
On Friday, May 12, 1911, Sir Crawford paid $50 to send my grandfather and his eldest sister “Florrie Pat” (Florence) to Canada via Liverpool, second class.
They traveled on the Lake Manitoba (Canadian Pacific) to Montreal.
Then they made their way to Toronto, where they were able to locate “the milkman’s brother” on Wellesley Street. They spent that Sunday night there and, the next day, were given jobs by Mr. Allen: a friend of Sir Crawford and Director of the Timothy Eaton store.
The next Year on Sunday, May 12, 1912 (about 40 days after the departure of the Titanic from the same port, and about three weeks after its sinking), Sir Crawford sent the rest of the family: his sister Jennie and her children Howard (17), Albert (15), Violet (11), and young Thomas (7). They travelled on the Montrose (also Canadian Pacific), “saloon.”
I do not know what it means to travel saloon class. Maybe they slept in the bar, or at least on that level of the ship. It seems that all of the fees had been marked down, perhaps in response to the news about the fate of the Titanic.
In the year since the census, both Jennie and Thomas seem to have permanently adopted the name Lyttle. Jennie was quite charitably listed as being 40 years of age, although her birth certificate suggests she would have been turning 48 in about a month.
By June of 1912, the whole family was in North America, where they would stay for the rest of their lives. The people in the picture are, from left to right at the back, Howard, Albert, Tommy, and James. From left to right in the front are Florence Jemima (Florrie Pat), Elisa Jane (Jenny), and Rachel Violet (Auntie Vi).
James Andrew Lyttle
My grandfather (James Andrew Lyttle) studied the courses leading to a theology degree from Queens University by correspondence. In 1917, he was ordained as a Presbyterian minister at Hanbury (North of New Liskeard), where he was ministering to men in the logging and mining camps. Sometime around 1920, Sir Crawford would come to visit the family in Canada and give them the down payment for a house. In the summer of 1925, Congregationalists, Methodists, and most Presbyterians in Canada amalgamated to form the United Church of Canada and my grandfather thus became one its first ministers.
The Rev. Lyttle met Marguerite Christina Cameron Brown, who was working in a chemical laboratory at Carnegie Mellon in Pennsylvania, and married her in 1926. Nine months later, they produced my dad, James Cameron Lyttle. At that time, they lived in Capreol, another of the harsh mining towns of Northern Ontario. The Rev. Lyttle raised money to build a church. When the local theater closed down, he supported the church (and his own fascination with moving pictures) by buying a projector and running an amateur movie theater in the basement.
By 1932, he was ministering in the Scarborough area, where he produced his other son, Ross Orville Lyttle. Rev. Lyttle served as the secretary and later president of the Toronto Conference of the United Church of Canada. By 1938, though, he was back in the north lands. He finally settled down in 1943, when he moved to 140 Lake Street in North Bay, Ontario. There, he took over as the Superintendent of Home Missions for Northern Ontario and Quebec and held that position until his retirement. He was made a Doctor of Divinity by Queen’s University in 1951 and established his own local church (Pinewood United Church) in 1960, the time of his retirement. After “retiring,” he served as director of church extension, president of Queens Theological Almumnae, and chairman of the authorizing board of the Northern Ontario University Association.
In February of 1964, just after learning that the college he had worked to establish (Huntington, now part of Laurentian University) was funded and would go forward, the Rev. Dr. James A. Lyttle died at his home in North Bay. His elder son, James Cameron Lyttle (pictured below), went on to become an electrician, electrical inspector, and then Code Application Technician for the electrical code in the Province of Ontario. He also served in Freemasonry as Grand Master for Ontario, registered a patent for a machine control system, and produced four children (the eldest of whom is your humble author). The Rev. Lyttle’s younger son, Ross Orville Lyttle, was a high school guidance counselor, Registrar of Trinity Western University near Vancouver, the father of two great children, and the source of the vast majority of the research for this story.