Morrison's Pensions

Captain John Little

           On June 2nd and 3rd, 1778 the inhabitants at Fish House and Mayfield were attacked by a party of Indians and Loyalists under Lieutenant John Ross. Little* at Fort Johnstown, on receiving word of this invasion, gathered a scouting party.  Thomas Butler, Isaac De Graff and John Higgins under Little marched to Fish House and found several homes burned and the inhabitants missing and the scouting party returned to Fort Johnstown. Little then went to Caughnawaga for additional troops but the enemy were now too far ahead to catch.
            On May 15,1780 Captain Andrew Wemple deserted to the enemy with several of his Company and Little was appointed Captain in his place. Captain Little with his company were stationed at Fort Johnstown performing garrison and scouting duties.
            On October 24th, 1781, Major John Ross and Captain Walter Butler with 607 men were in the Mohawk Valley burning and killing.  Colonel Marinus Willett who was in command at Fort Rensselaer on learning of the invasion sent messengers to Forts Clyde, Paris and Plank for additional troops while he would gather what men that could be spared from the fort and go in pursuit of the enemy.
            In the morning of October 25th, Colonel Willett and his men left the fort in pursuit of the enemy.  Captain Little at Fort Johnstown, on being informed of the invasion, organized a scouting party to go in search of signs of the enemy.  Captain Little, Lieutenant Zepheniah Batcheller, Sergeant John Eikler, Sergeant Henry Shew, Corporal Jacob Shew, Privates John Brothers, William Feeter, Peter Yost Jr., David and John Moyer and three others left the fort in search of the enemy.
            Shortly after the scouting party left the fort, Major Ross and his men appeared before the fort.  Stephen Shew, then on sentry duty, fired at them and the men in the fort turned out to defend the fort.  After a few minutes of musket and cannon fire the enemy retreated from the fort.  The garrison pursued the enemy through the Village of Johnstown when they were joined by Captain Little and his scouting party.  Captain Little ordered the garrison back to the fort while he and his men would follow the enemy.
            Shortly after the garrison arrived at the fort, Colonel Willett and his men arrived.  The garrison informed Colonel Willett what had happened and that the enemy were encamped near Johnson's Hall.  Colonel Willett and his men left the fort and headed for Johnson's Hall.  Just as Colonel Willett and his troops arrived on the field, Captain Little and his men fell in with the rear guard of the enemy.
            Captain Little was hit in the right shoulder with a musket ball and the scouting party with their wounded captain took to the woods to find cover.  Here another brief exchange of musket fire took place and Sergeant Eikler was killed.  The scouting party now joined Willett on the battlefield.
            The battle raged until the coming of darkness and with the enemy retreating.  Captain Little with the rest of the wounded were taken to Fort Johnstown.  Captain Little's wound was properly dressed and by the spring of 1782 Little was back on duty at the fort.  Captain Little served until the end of 1783 when he was discharged.
            John was commissioned Second Major in Lieutenant‑Colonel Volkert Veeder's Regiment of Montgomery County Militia in Brigadier General Frederick Visscher's Brigade on October 2, 1786.  He resigned his commission on March 23, 1790.  John also served as sheriff and as Justice of the Peace and he also served in other positions as well.
            John was born in 1745 in Ireland and he died at Johnstown on September 29, 1822.  His first wife was Leah Crawford but when she died is not known.  John married for a second time Catherine McIntyre.  She was born May 12, 1757 and she died on June 15, 1821.  John and Catherine are buried in the Johnstown Colonial Cemetery on Green Street in Johnstown.
            *It is not known in what capacity he was serving until 1780 when he was appointed Captain. I believe Little was serving in Captain Andrew Wemple's company in Col. Frederick Visscher's Regiment. As of 1991 no Muster Rolls for this company have been found which would clear this matter up.


           In Johnstown, on Sunday last, Major John Little, aged 77.  He was one of the remaining patriots, who are fast droping off from life, whose youthful vigor was spent in achieving our independence.  Major Little was a brave and active officer during the whole of that ardous struggle, rendered particularly dangerous from the situation in which he was placed. He was appointed to the comand of the fort at Johnstown for the protection of the surrounding country from the hordes of savage Indians and more savage tories, commanded by Sir William Johnson (sic), who resided near there, and whose horrid cruelities will never be forgotten.(Amsterdam Mohawk Herald, Wednesday October 2, 1822, Vol. 1, no. 31, p. 3)

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