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John Sebastian Little

Gov. John Sebastian Little

  • January 18, 1907 - February 11, 1907
  • Democrat
  • March 15, 1851
  • October 29, 1916
  • Arkansas
  • Cane Hill College (Arkansas)
  • Married Elizabeth J. Irwin; five children
  • Resigned
  • Representative


JOHN SEBASTIAN LITTLE, Arkansas’s 21st Governor, was born in Jenny Lind, Sebastian County, Arkansas, on March 15, 1851. He attended Cane Hill College in Washington County for one term, taught school, studied law, and was admitted to the Arkansas bar in 1873. Little entered politics in 1876, when he was elected prosecuting attorney of the Twelfth Judicial Circuit. He was reelected in 1878, 1880, and 1882. He also served in the Arkansas House of Representatives in 1884, and two years later was elected to serve on the bench of the Twelfth Judicial Circuit, a position he held until 1890. In 1894, he was elected to fill the unexpired term of U.S. Representative Clifton R. Breckinridge. He served in Congress until January 14, 1907, resigning his seat, upon his election to the governor’s office. Little was inaugurated on January 18, 1907, and shortly thereafter, suffered a nervous collapse, which rendered him incapable of executing his official duties. On February 11, 1907, Little left for an extended period of recuperation on the Texas gulf coast, and John Isaac Moore, who was president of the senate, became acting governor. On May 14, 1907, the newly elected president of the senate, Xenophon Overton Pindall assumed the duties of governor, and served the remainder of Little’s term. Governor Little never recovered his health, and died on October 29, 1916, in the Arkansas State Hospital for Nervous Diseases. He is buried at the City Cemetery, Greenwood, Arkansas.


Sobel, Robert, and John Raimo, eds. Biographical Directory of the Governors of the United States, 1789-1978, Vol. 1, Westport, Conn.; Meckler Books, 1978. 4 vols.

Donovan, Timothy P., and Willard B. Gatewood, Jr., The Governors of Arkansas, Essays in Political Biography, Fayetteville; The University of Arkansas Press, 1981

Herndon, Dallas T., Centennial History of Arkansas, Vol. 1, Chicago, Little Rock; the S.J. Clarke Publishing Co., 1922. 3 vols.

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