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50 East King Street
Littlestown, PA 17340
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10 South QueenStreet

Littlestown, PA 17340

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Littlestown was layed out by
and named for Peter Klien (Little)
A window to the past.
Local Littlestown Links:

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LAHS History


PETER LITTLE (1724~1773)

Information from Kenneth D. Sell, Ph. D. who has researched this information extensively.

I graduated from LHS in 1946 with Bob Spangler. I have not lived in the area since 1948, but I get back to Littlestown every year on the 3rd weekend in August when I attend the Sell reunion and the annual class reunion of the class of 1946 of LHS. Peter Little is in my family tree, a great etc. uncle, not a great etc. grandfather. I visited the three towns in Germany, about 15 years ago, where Peter's parents lived, before they moved to PA.

Kenneth D. Sell, Ph. D.

Peter Little, the founder of Littlestown, was born Johann Peter Klein in Konken, the Saarland, Germany on August 27, 1724 and baptized in the Reformed Church of that pl.ace on November 11, 1724. He was the son of Johann Ludwig and Joanna E1izabetba Klein. His father was the parish schoolmaster. Peter and his parents moved to Pfeffelbach where his father continued teaching. Then the family moved to Wolfersweiler where the father continued in his profession. At least 57 families of the Wolfersweiler parish migrated to the New World before 1750, and the Kliens were no exception. In the summer of 1742 the Kleins set sail on the Loyal Judith from Rotterdam for Philadelphia. They arrived on September 3, 1742. On board was the Heckman, Nabinger and Wagner families from Wolfersweiler. The Kleins lived in the vicinity of Lancaster, Pa. Ludwig's son, Michael, was born there in 1744. He probably died young. Henrich Klein, a brother or cousin of Ludwig was also living there.

The Kleins then migrated to Conewago on the Pennsylvania frontier, in the late 1740s. Here Peter Little took a wife, Ursula Shreiver, the daughter of one of the Conewago pioneers, who had lived in the area since the early 1730s, Peter and Ursula had nine children.

In the 1760s Peter began the purchase of land in what is now Adams Co., Pa.:

1. August 9, 1760 he purchased 200 acres in Germany Twp. near the Conewago Creek from Andrew Holl, of Frederick Co., Md. for £ 165.

2. September 1, 1760 he purchased 50 acres in Digges Choice at Little Conewago from Martin Hauser for £ 5.

3. September 18, 1760 he purchased 311 acres from the Penns in Germany Twp.

4. October 9, 1762 he purchased 200 acres +/-from Thomas McCartney in Mt. Pleasant Twp. for £ 250.

5. November 1, 1762 he purchased 100 acres +/- from in Mt. Pleasant Twp. for £. 50. Peter's occupation was recorded as a distiller.

6. January 28, 1764 he purchascd 300 acres in Mt. Joy Twp.

7. In 1765 he laid out about 35 acres of his 311 acre tract (#3) in Germany township for a town that he named Petersburg. There were 84 lots on both sides of East and West King St. Each lot was 66 feet wide and 264 feet deep. The owners had to promise to built a house no less than 18 feet square within three years. On May 1st of each year a fee of 7 shillings and 6 pence Was to be paid to the proprietor. The first six lots were sold on July 15, 1765. His father, Ludwig, purchased two of these lots for £ 3 each. The sale of the lots went very slowly. By the time of his death in 1773 he has disposed of only about 29 lots.

8. January 18, 1769 he sold 300 acres in Mt. Joy Twp. to Ludwig Miller of Germany Twp. for £ 550.

9. May 10, 1769 he sold the southern part of his 311 acre tract (#3) to Joseph Flaht of Lancaster Co., Pa. for £ 800.

10. On the day that he died Peter sold 19 acres 99 perch of his 311 acre tract (#3) to his son Ludwig for £ 80. It appears that Peter had sold this tract earlier, but had reacquired it. He signed the agreement with his mark,. probably being too weak to write his name. There was a tannery on this property. This land was probably located near where Piney Creek crosses South Queen St. Littlestown.

Some time in the late 1760s or early 1770s the Peter Little family moved to Maryland. No attempt has been made to determine the location of their new residence in Maryland.

Peter made his will on July 20, 1772. In his will his wife was to receive 1/3 of the estate, however she declined to take her share, Each daughter was to receive £ 200. The four sons were to receive the balance of the estate holdings in Adams Co., Pa. and IU Frederick Co., Md. No attempt was made to locate his Frederick Co., Md. holdings, Peter died in Frederick Co., Md. on April 7, 1773 at age 48. His body was returned to Littlestown and he was buried in the Christ cemetery. His grave is one of the oldest marked graves in the cemetery. Ursula died some time later and was buried by his side.

Peter and Ursula's children were:

1. Peter Little, J r, (1749-1822). He migrated to Maryland.

2. [J acob] Ludwig Little (1750-1826). He married (1) Barbara and (2) Catherine. He migrated to Baltimore Co., Md. About 1786.

3. Barbara Little ( ). She married Matthew Galt. In addition to her inheritance. she received two lots in Littlestown. Probably # 70 and 71.

4. Catherine Little (1755~ 1839). She married (1) Hugh McSherry and (2) John Young.

5. Mary Little ( ). She married Johann Christian Henry Wendel (1731- ).

6. Susannah Little ( ). She married John Crapster, Sr. Their descendants lived around Taneytown, Md.

7. Elizabeth Little ( ).

8. Michael Little ( ). He married Mary Turner or Quinner.

9. Joseph Little ( ). He married Esther Beard? There were several
Joseph Littles and it is not certain which one married Esther.


K. Sell 4/9/94


This is Peter Little's third land purchase in 1760. You can see where Littlestown was laid out in the center of his land.

Ken Sell


Why did Peter Little Come to America
Hanover Evening Sun
August 6, 1965 P 31-B

Why did Peter Little come to America?

Mrs Florence Mumma, 62 Hagerstown, who is spending the Bicentenial week with her sister, Mrs. Susan Hershey, 149 Penn Street, Hanover, may have the answer.

Mrs. Mumma can recall when she was nine years old how she had to spend some time with her grandmother, Mrs. Elizabeth Ensinger Snyder, who was a daughter of Jonathan Little, a son of Peter Little.

Mrs. Mumma says that her grandmother told her Peter Little came to America at the age of 14 in order to escape the military draft in Germany. Peter Litte spent many years in Connectticut before coming to this area.

Mrs. Mumma also recalls that the reason that his name was changes from Peter Klein to Peter Little was so that the German officials could not track him down in America and force him to return to Geremany.

Peter Little's Grave Stone

The gray tomstone marking Peter Little's grave at Christ United Church of Christ reads in German: "Here ruhet in Gott welland Peter Klein. Ist gebohren dur 27 aug. 1724 Ist gestorren den 7 den Ap. 1773. Seines alters 48 da, 7 m, 11d. Sena Frau is eina be borna Sherblern. Gott gebe thue and uss eina froelicha Auferstehung." The English translatuion is "Here rests the late Peter Little. He was born the 27th day of August, 1724, and died the 7th day of April 1773. He was aged 48 years, 7 mos. ann 11 days. His wife's maiden name was Shebler. (Shriver)


Peter Little, Jr.(1749-1822)

Peter Little, Jr. served in Congress from Nov. 4 1811 to March 3, 1813 and again from December 2, 1816 to March 3 1829.



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