A Brief History of Little Cemetery
© 2004-Present: Beth Davis
Little Cemetery has been around for well over 100 years. The earliest records burned some years back.
The oldest grave listed is of Bryan infants in 1892. Then Henry Lafayette Brown in 1895. Bryans lost two more children in 1899 and 1901.
There are several versions of how the cemetery started:
1. The death of a young girl who had taken ill while passing through Little in a covered wagon sometime after the turn of the century was supposed to be the first dug in what was just an open field at the time. (The Bryan infants were before the turn of the century and their parents stayed around at least 9 years.)
2. H. A. Reynolds, the first real caretaker of the cemetery, moved to Little from Keokuk Falls in 1903. According to him, there was only one grave at that time. The grave was thatof an Indian child. However, his daughter, Anna Reynolds Stringfield, stated that she remembered 3 little graves there when they came to Little. (Those must have been the Bryan children.)
3. "A Dr. Polk at Old Little had a daughter, Fannie, who married a Mr. Smith. She moved to Keokuk Falls. She had a child either stillborn or died as an infant. They buried it at Keokuk Falls. The Smiths moved back to Little and Fannie had another child which died. This child was buried in a clearing in one edge of a forest in the present site of Little Cemetery. Mrs. Fannie Smith died shortly thereafter and was buried beside her daughter. Her first child was then moved from Keokuk and buried there to make the first three graves. Mrs. Smith was buried in 1904." The paper quoted was written by Linda Reynolds, great-granddaughter of H. A. Reynolds.
The present sexton of Little Cemetery is Bill Chesser. The Cemetery is one of (if not) the BEST kept cemeteries in the area. It is a County Cemetery in Seminole County, Oklahoma. Little Cemetery is one of the three largest "free" cemeteries in the United States. The county recently purchased several acres on the eastern side of the cemetery. This may make Little Cemetery the largest "free" cemetery in the USA.
As of now, over 8,500 names are recorded of people buried in the Little Cemetery or have set their headstones for future use. There are many unmarked graves.
The town of Little used to be 1 mile east of it's present site. Highway 48 ran North and South through it from Seminole to Keokuk Falls. Now, Little is on Highway 99 (US377). Highway 99 (US377) is being 4-laned. Little, as a town, will be lost twice this century in the name of progress.
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