by Marcia Napier, Grain Valley Historical Society
Recently I had a conversation with Steven Beebe (Valley News, October 10, 2019) who told me he enjoyed articles I’ve written about the names of the roads around Grain Valley. Steven grew up on Little Road, northeast of town. First, just let me say, it is a little road. It stretches 1.3 miles from Sunnynook School Road east to Borgman Road. To access the road from Buckner Tarsney one must first go east on Murphy School Road to the tee.
Murphy School Road continues to the south but you must turn north a couple of hundred yards to hook up with Little Road which runs east and west. Jackson County Plat Maps from the early 1900s show these roads slightly different, but I’m describing their present-day locations.
Today, there are several homes along Little Road, many more than the four or five that existed in the 1960s. There are several large new homes being built on what appears to be 3 to 5-acre lots along the south side of the road. In the late 1800s this land was owned by William and Saperta Holland, my maternal great, great, great grandparents. I wonder if the Littell family might have been their neighbors?
Archibald and Catherine Littell were living in Nodaway, Iowa according the 1860 United States Census. However, the 1870 and subsequent census show their residence as Sni-A-Bar Township, Missouri. They had 9 children, 7 daughters and two sons. One son died in infancy. Their surviving son Archibald VanBuren Littell appears to be the only child that remained in the areas, although the daughters didn’t go too far; Levasy, Odessa, and Kansas City. Archibald, Jr. married Tennessee Chiddix and they had three children. All three moved from this area.
Archibald, Sr. and Catherine, as well as Archibald Jr. and Tennessee are the only family members buried at Green’s Chapel Cemetery at the corner of Borgman and Steinhauser roads, just .4 miles north of Little Road. While their gravestones say Littell, most references, including one federal census, spell their name Little.
So does the road derive its name from the Littell Family or is it just a “little” road that connects Sunnynook and Brogman roads?
Photo credit: Marcia Napier