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Clan Little Society, Inc.

"Dr. Johnnie"

James Crawford Little of Morton Rig, known affectionately as Dr. Johnnie, was born on May 22, 1922 at Maxwelltown (the West side of the River Nith) just seven years before it was merged with Dumfries (the East side of the River Nith).  He studied medicine under Sir Martin Roth in Newcastle upon Tyne and then went to Leeds (the setting of the popular television series DCI Banks).  He was the consulting psychiatrist at St. James Hospital from 1959 to 1966, while it adjusted to having psychiatry offered in general hospitals instead of stigmatized asylums.  He married Catherine Eliza Salt (b. 1926) and lectured at the University of Leeds, developing a portfolio of publications.

Behind the depressive syndrome. British Medical Journal, 1(726) March 5, 1960.

Estimate of risks. British Medical Journal, 1(1478) May 26, 1962.

Development of a psychiatric unit in a large general hospital. The Lancet. 281(7277), pp. 376-377. February 16, 1963. [doi: 10.1016/S0140-6736(63)92727-2; Originally published as volume 1, issue 7277.]

A psychiatric unit in a large general hospital. The Lancet. 281(7281), p. 610. March 16, 1963. [doi: 10.1016/S0140-6736(63)92727-2; Originally published as volume 1, issue 7281.]

A case of primary addiction to meprobamate. British Medical Journal, 2(794) September 28, 1963.

A rational plan for integration of psychiatric services to an urban community. The Lancet. 282(7318), pp. 1159-1160. November 30, 1963. [doi: 10.1016/S0140-6736(63)90809-2; Originally published as volume 1, issue 7318.]

Integration of psychiatric services to an urban community. The Lancet. 283(7328), p. 333. February 8, 1964. [doi: 10.1016/S0140-6736(64)92455-9; Originally published as volume 1, issue 7328.]

Housebound. The Lancet. 283(7343), pp. 1163-1164. May 23, 1964. [doi: 10.1016/S0140-6736(64)91843-4]; Originally published as volume 1, issue 7343.]

Psychiatry as a medical speciality. The Lancet, 285(7388), p. 769. April 3, 1965. [doi: 10.1016/S0140-6736(65)92137-9; Originally published as volume 1, issue 7388.]

Fallacies of medical education. The Lancet, 290(7520), p. 839. October 14 1967. [Originally published as volume 2, issue 7520.]

Objectivity in clinical psychiatric research. The Lancet. 292(7577), pp. 1072-1075. November 16, 1968. [doi: 10.1016/S0140-6736(68)91545-6; Originally published as volume 2, issue 7577.]

The athlete's neurosis: A deprivation crisis. Acta Psychiatrica Scandinavica 45(2), pp. 187-197. 1969.

The evaluation of clinical phenomena in psychiatry. Bristol Medico-Chirurgical Journal. 292 pp. 191-197. 1969.

Foundation fellowships. The Lancet, 298(7732), p. 103. November 6, 1971. [Originally published as volume 2, issue 7732.]

Psychiatrists' attitudes to abortion. British Medical Journal, 1(110) January 8, 1972.

Abortion: Changing attitudes of psychiatrists. The Lancet, 299(7741), p. 97. January 8, 1972. [Originally published as volume 2, issue 7741.]

with T. A. Kerr, & H. A. McClelland. Where are the untreated depressives? British Medical Journal, 1(1593) June 17, 1972.

with J. J. Kear Colwell, and A. T. Lloyd. Psychiatry in a general hospital (with foreword by Sir Martin Roth). St. Louis, MO: Butterworth-Heinemann. 1974. [ISBN: 978-0407366909]

with E. R. Alexander, and D. J. Hall. Characteristics of male psychiatric patients admitted from contrasting urban and rural populations in Scotland. Unpublished study.

A thousand years: The Littles and their forebears. The Scottish Genealogist: The Quarterly Journal of the Scottish Genealogy Society, 35(2), pp. 45-62. June 1988.

Suicide at Risley. British Medical Journal, 297(424) August 6, 1988.

This too is your heritage: Introduction to the Scots language. 1993. [ISBN: 978-0952127604]

The Clan Little window in Westerkirk parish church. 2003. [ISBN: 978-0952127611]

In 1966, he left Leeds in Yorkshire to return to Dumfries as the Director of Clinical Research at the Crichton Royal Hospital.  He was the Secretary of the Society of Clinical Psychiatrists and his honorifics include M.D. (Doctor of Medicine from the University of Bristol), D.P.M. (Doctorate of Psychological Medicine from Durham University), F.R.C.P. (Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians), F.R.C.Psych. (Fellow of the Royal College of Psychiatrists), and F.S.A. (Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland).


In 1974, Dr. Johnnie happened upon some family papers[1], which aroused his curiosity about the history of the surname Little.  He took early retirement in 1981, partly to take care of his ailing wife who he looked after until her passing in the year 2000.  In his spare time, he undertook more research and prepared a lecture for the Scottish Genealogy Society, which he delivered on October 15, 1987 and which was later published as an article in the society's quarterly journal[2].

That article was pointed out to Augustine Patterson Little III (Pat), a tax accountant from the American state of Georgia, by his wife Sally with whom he was already involved in Scottish heritage through the Clan MacLaren Society.  Pat looked up Dr. Johnnie and tried to talk him into forming a group for people with the surname Little, a project in which the old Scot had absolutely no interest.  However, by St. Andrew's Day (November 30) of 1991, he had changed his mind and decided to establish a Clan Little Society.

The Duke of Buccleuch granted Dr. Johnnie a small plot of land on the Scottish Borders, allowing him to be known as J.C. Little of Morton Rig.  Dr. Johnnie even designed a tartan for the event, which was registered with the Scottish Tartan Authority (replaced by the The Scottish Register of Tartans in 2008) under the oddly spelled name "Little of Morton Rigg"[3].  It incorporates the traditional black and white livery colors of the Border Littles with a toned down (maroon) version of the Wallace tartan's red.

He also designed a crest or logo for the Clan Little Society.  It featured the name of the Society across the top and the date of its formation at the bottom.  The winged stirrups appeated at the front, backed up by the crossed sword blades that inspire the flag of st. Andrew, all in front of a drawing of the globe.  At the top is a sword.  Many found this complicated and it never really caught on.

The first Annual General Meeting (AGM) was held at the "Roots '93 Gathering," billed as the first-ever gathering of Border and Lowland clans.  It included a series of events held between May 21st and 31st at Dumfries.

In that same year, Dr. Johnnie received his ensigns armorial (coat of arms) from the Lord Lyon.  These are his personal arms and not those of the Clan Little Society.

Around the same time, John M. Mason, MBE wrote a march for the Clan entitled "The Reivers of Meikledale."  The words were written by Captain A.C. Little.  You can listen to Doug Bailey playing the march by clicking the link below.


At that first gathering of the society, it became apparent that Americans and Scots had different views of who should be a member of the Society.  Dr. Johnnie wanted anyone who applied to the Society to demonstrate their relationship to the Scottish Littles by genealogical records.  He knew this would keep the group pure and legitimate.  The Americans, represented by A. Patterson Little III, thought anyone with an interest in the topic and the money to pay dues should be accepted as a member.  He knew this would help the group grow and prosper.

They were both right, of course, but that did not prevent them from arguing back and forth and finally splitting apart.  They even rejected the obvious and reasonable resolution of having two classes or levels of membership—one for those who could document a blood relationship and another for those who just supported the celebration of Scottish heritage.  On August 8, 1994, the Americans registered "The Clan Little Society, U.S.A., Ltd." as a non-profit corporation in Pat's home state of Georgia.  It was classified as a 501(c)(7) social and recreational organization.

Dr. Johnnie was able to secure arms for the Clan Little Society from the Lord Lyon on 8th September 1997.  The four linked red rings on a gold background represent the interlocked branches of the Society.  The winged stirrup represents the prowess of the reivers as light horsemen.  The "silver" (white) St. Andrew's Cross on a black background is common to all Border Little arms, personal or corporate.

That same year he petitioned for and received a guidon (standard), which recognizes arms bearing citizens who hold leadership positions.  While based on his leadership of the Clan Little Society, this is Dr. Johnnie's personal standard and not that of the Society.

The next year, on October 19, 1998, A. Pattterson Little III died of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (known as ALS or "Lou Gehrig's disease").  On August 21, 2000, the organization changed its name to "Clan Little Society, North America, Ltd." to include members from Canada.


Leo William Little studied psychology at the University of Central Florida in his birthplace of Orlando, FL and then earned a degree in Electrical Engineering at the University of Texas in Austin, where he spent the rest of his life. He used historical records to trace his lineage back to his great-great-grandfather Thomas Little, who was born in Alabama in 1816. Then, he "hit a brick wall." After testing his DNA at Family Tree DNA, he identified three distant cousins. By pooling their family records, the cousins were able to trace their roots all the way back to 1680. He went on to establish the Little DNA Project, which is still active today.

He would discover many unique genealogical patterns, which bear titles such as L-193. In fact, all genetic findings by Family Tree DNA are named with the L in honor of our own Leo Little. On July 3, 2005, his work was highlighted in a TIME magazine article entitled "Can DNA Reveal Your Roots?" Leo was a member of the Association of Professional Genealogists, the International Society of Genetic Genealogy, and the Austin Genealogical Society who continued his pioneering work until his death in the Spring of 2008.

After Dr. Johnnie's wife died in 2000, he continued to lead the Society to the best of his ability despite the physical and mental effects of advancing age.  He lived alone shuttered up in his house, where he was found dead in May of 2007 just days before his 85th birthday.  He had a grand funeral, to which several important people sent representatives.


For several years the "Clan Little Society, Scotland & Worldwide" was kept alive by its Quartermaster in Dundee, Ian Stewart Little.  About a year after Dr. Johnnie's death, Ian and the society placed a marker near the site of the ancient clan that has been visited by many of us and enjoyed vicariously by all. Its location is 55°13'23.0"N 2°58'50.5"W (55.223055, -2.980690).

Ian Little arranged and hosted several AGMs and, in the Spring of 2013, arranged to have the grave marker below cleaned and restored:

Ian Little also led the successful effort to have the Clan Little Society represented at the 700th anniversary celebrations of the 1314 Battle of Bannockburn (when Robert the Bruce defeated the forces of Edward II) at Stirling.


In 2013, the care of the Clan Little Society was returned to the legitimate heir to the title "Little of Morton Rig," Crawford Little, eldest son of the founder "Dr. Johnnie."  He decided to spend more time on historical and academic research about the family than social gatherings.  Thus began the investigations of the "Armigerous Clan Little Society."

The Clan Little Society South Pacific in New Zealand & Australia is still going strong.  It is maintained by Allen Little, who retired in 2009 after nearly 40 years with the MidCentral District Health Board.  He is sometimes known as "Frostie" in celebration of his pure white hair.

The American branch absorbed members from the United Kingdom who were interested in social interactions and became the Clan Little Society, Inc. with most of its activity online through Facebook.

The Historic Scottish Building still known as The Meikledale Farmhouse is still where it was in 1736.  The ancient stone known as The Grey Wether is still out on the lawn.  It is five feet tall with a girth of about eight and a half feet, but seems to be on its side now.  "The stone is a common greywacke, or whinstone of the Silurian series, rough and unhewn."[4]


 1 - William Little of Liverpool & Windermere. Family papers called Border Records – Lytil, undated, probably in the late 19th Century. (Back to text)

 2 - J. C. Little. A thousand years: The Littles and their forebears. The Scottish Genealogist: The Quarterly Journal of the Scottish Genealogy Society, 35(2), pp. 45-62. June 1988. (Back to text)

 3 - "Little of Morton Rigg" clan tartan, ITI number 2349 (1991). Slog: KWK:YKR, Colour Sequence: KWKWKRKRKY. (Back to text)

 4 - John D. Hyslop & Robert Hyslop. Langholm as it was: A history of Langholm and Eskdale from the earliest time. 1912. Sunderland: Hills & Co., p. 52. (Back to text)