A discovery in an old scrapbook a few years ago is shedding new light on a heartbreaking loss for an Iowa family that many are hearing about for the first time. More than 150 years ago, six brothers died in the Civil War; the sons of James and Martha Littleton who farmed near Toolesboro in southeast Iowa. Tom Woodruff is a historian with the Louisa County Historical Society.
“We feel strongly that this is a story that’s never been told, we have great empathy for a family that came from east in the 1840s, lost six sons to war, my goodness, and they were forgotten,” Woodruff said. The six deaths, between 1862 and 1863, had been forgotten until four years ago, when Woodruff found an article in a scrapbook of old Louisa County newspaper clippings.
“Now Iowa has two of the largest contributions from any single family in the history of war: the Sullivan brothers out of Waterloo, there were five that went down in the same ship, here are six boys of mixed race from Louisa County who were nobody really, who did something,” Woodruff said. A campaign kicks off next month to raise a-quarter-million dollars to honor the Littleton family.
Plans include a documentary, a play, and a black granite monument to remember the six young brothers; Thomas, William, George, John, Kendall, and Noah Littleton. So far, Woodruff has not been able to find any photos of the young men.
By Rick Fredricksen, Iowa Public Radio