Genealogist and Cartographer
Spouse(s): Mary Conkling, Unknown
Family tree: John Littell 1779-1854
A Short Biography
John Littell 4 (Nathaniel 3, David 2, Samuel 1), a man of much personal force and distinction, inherited his father's 55-acre farm and general store in the Passaic Valley. His father had bought the land in 1786 and built the house in 1787. John's life-long residence in the Valley, his map-making, and the fact that he was the census enumerator there in 1850, all must have aided greatly his work on his genealogy. In his book he wrote this account of himself: "John Littell lives where his father did, in Passaic Valley, near Littell's Bridge, and with his brother Luther, kept a store from 1811 to 1828, when they dissolved partnership, and he continued the store alone till 1838, when he sold out the goods to Jonathan Valentine, who continued it till 1839. He was twice elected to the legislature, viz. 1837 and 1838; was appointed a justice of the peace and judge of the court in 1814, and again appointed justice of the peace in 1828, and continued by reappointments till 1848; was then again elected under the new Constitution, and was in 1829 appointed by the legislature a commissioner of deeds, and by successive appointments continued in that office to the present time. He was elected and installed an elder in the Presbyterian church in 1835, and was appointed one of the delegates of the Presbytery of Elizabethtown to the general assembly of the Presbyterian church, in 1835 at Pittsburgh, and in 1840 and 1846 at Philadelphia and 1851 at St. Louis."
Union County was set off from Essex County in 1857. North is to the left. The Littell properties are along the Passaic River at left.
John Littell was born Nov. 28- 1779, the first of eight children of Nathaniel and Mary Cauldwell Littell. On May 6, 1809 he married Mary Conklin of Basking Ridge, N.J. They had ten children: William Conklin (4-15-1810 to 9-27-1813); Mary (b. 2-29-1812) who married Jonathan Valentine; William (b. 10-10-1813, d.12-23-1884) who kept a store at the summit of the Morris and Essex Railroad, and was postmaster there; E l i z a (12-16-1815 to 5-19-1843) married James K. Hurin; Harriet (b. 11-14-1817) married John T. Wilcox; Susan (b. 2-27-1820) married Charles Whitaker of Cleveland, Ohio; John (1-30-1822 to 1904) m. Deborah Hall (see 1:5:14 and 15); Luther (4-21-1824 to 1899) graduated at Princeton College in 1844; Huldah Rebecca (6-3-1826 to 5-2-1850) married John Thomas of Hamilton, Ohio; a daughter not named, born and died 1-16-1830.
John Littell died Feb. 18, 1854 in New Providence, N.J., the town where he was born, and is buried, along with many others of his family, in the Presbyterian churchyard there.
Source: Littell's Living Age. Sec. 2, Vol. 2, No. l, 4508 Fall, l976, pp. 17-19.
John Littell, first son of Nathaniel, son of David Littell, was born 28th November, 1779. He married the 6th May, 1809, Miss Mary Conklin, daughter of William Conklin, Esq., of Basking Ridge. He lined where his father did, in Passaic Valley, near Littell's Bridge, and with his brother Luther kept a store from 1811 to 1828, when he dissolved partnership, and he continued the store alone till 1838, when he sold out the goods to Mr. Jonathan Valentine, who continued it till 1839.
He was twice elected to the Legislature, viz., 1837 and 1838; was appointed justice of the peace and also judge of the court in 1814, and appointed justice of peace in 1828, and continued by reappointments till the year 1848; was then again elected under the new constitution, and was in 1849 appointed by the Legislature a commissioner of deeds, and by successive appointments continued many years in that office.
Littell, John. Family Records, Or, Genealogies of the First Settlers of Passaic Valley. Feltville, NJ: D. Felt and Co, 1851, p. 247.
He was elected and installed an elder in the Presbyterian Church in 1835, and was appointed one of the delegates of the Presbytery of Elizabeth Town to the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in 18.35 at Pittsburgh, and in 1840 and 1846 at Philadelphia, and 1851 at St. Louis.
Mr. Littell was considerable of a writer, and many interesting incidents are told by the present generation of the olden time that he had told in years past of this early settlement. For many years arranging and compiling his genealogy of the early families, called by him " Family Records or Genealogies of the Passaic Valley (and vicinity) above Chatham, with their ancestors and descendants as far as can now be ascertained, by John Littell. Published at Stationer's Hall Press, Feltville, N. J., David Felt & Co., Stationers and Printers, 1851."
This volume is an octavo, in cloth, of 504 pages, including an appendix. This genealogical work has now become scarce. The edition is exhausted, bringing, a large price. Those families who possess it will under no consideration part with the work.
Mr. Littell was a gentleman of the olden times, looked up to by this community. Many acts of benevolence and kindness are recorded, many admonitions to the erring and to the community at large. He was respected and loved, and in death lamented.
In the Littell family plot in the burial-ground just back of the Presbyterian Church stands a white marble tablet, on which is inscribed his epitaph:
Born Nov. 28, 1779,
Died Feb. 18, 1854.
Source: Clayton, W. Woodford, Ed. History of Union and Middlesex Counties, New Jersey with Biographical Sketches of many of their Prominent Men. Philadelphia: Everts & Peck, 1882, pp. 350-351.