James Little was born in 1837 in Downs, Ireland.
James immigrated to America and may have settled first in Ohio before moving on to Michigan. By 1860 he was living in Muskegon, Muskegon County and working as a mill hand at the Lyman Mason and/or Alva Trowbridge mill, along with William Courser and Yans Knudson (both of whom would also enlist in Company H), or at the Hubbard mill with John Freeman (who would join Company A).
James stood 5’7” with blue eyes, black hair and a light complexion and was 24 years old and probably still living in Muskegon when he enlisted as Seventh Corporal in Company H on May 6, 1861. (Company H, formerly the “Muskegon Rangers,” was made up largely of men from the vicinity of Muskegon and Newaygo counties.)
On October 19 James was admitted to Seminary Hospital in Georgetown, reportedly suffering from typhoid fever; he was transferred to the hospital in Annapolis on November 1.
James was discharged on December 4, 1861, at Fort Lyon, Virginia, for asthma “of some five years standing.”
Following his discharge from the army James returned to Muskegon where he worked as a sawyer.
He was living in Muskegon in 1863 when he married Michigan native Thankful Parish (1844-1927) on September 10, 1863, in Muskegon.
There was one James Little who married Michigan native Theresa (b. 1848), and they had at least one child: Andrew (b. 1866). By 1870 he was working as a laborer (he also owned some $500 in real estate) and living with his wife Theresa and their son in Muskegon.
By 1890 James was living in California when he applied for and received a pension (no. 915213).
James died in San Francisco on January 27, 1898, and was buried in the San Francisco National Cemetery at the Presidio: WS-603. Curiously, his Thankful’s name (actually Thankful Parish) is engraved on the back of his stone.
His widow applied for and received a pension (no. 461915).