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James B. Littell of New York City ~ A Second Look

Progress, at last!

James B. Littell of New York City, who merits a full chapter in Noble Littell’s 2-volume Littell Families History and Genealogy, turns out to be the youngest brother of George Littell (1785-1828).

Judge Littell wrote in Ch. 21 “So very little is known of James Brenan Littell, even his middle name appears with various spellings – including Brandon. Generally it is believed his wife’s name was Catherine Slowly Adams though one source believed it to be Mary Adams. We have a report that she was a cousin of John Quincy Adams.”

It has taken me more years than I care to count to learn that George, William, Evert C. and James B. were sons born to Joseph Littell (b. NJ abt. 1757; d. 13 Oct. 1821 NYC) and wife Lucretia Cameron (b. 1757 NYC d. 15 Dec.1827 NYC).

I have yet to prove the Brenan part (or the John Quincy Adams speculation), but thanks to researcher/newfound cousin Cathy in Oregon, I am able to clarify this line a little more. Surrogate Court documents proved the difference in connecting these good people, and I can now set part of the record straight. (Thank you to Cathy, a descendant of James B.’s son, John Howard, whose line is presented below.)

James B. Littell (1) was born 8 Jan. 1800, the youngest child of Joseph (1757-1821) and Lucretia Cameron Littell (1757-1827). Along with his father and brothers, James B. was a mason in New York City.

Records from the Dutch Reformed Church of Greenwich Village records show James (no middle initial given) Littell married Catharine Adams Aug. 22, 1821. Their children:

  1. i. Joseph (b. c. 1820; m. Kate Ludlow Aug. 27, 1853; d. 1856; daughterJosephine)
  2. ii. Isaac Calker (b. c. 1829 d. May 21, 1847)
  3. iii. William Adams (1832-1918)
  4. iv. Charlotte C. (b. March 20, 1834; d. April 9, 1915)
  5. v. James B. (b. c. 1837; d. Oct. 31, 1897)
  6. vi.John Howard(b. June 27, 1841, New York City; d. Oct. 11, 1913)
  7. vii. Amanda
  8.   viii. Christiana



  1. John Howard Littell(James B., 1), b. 27 Jun 1841, NY, d. 11 Oct 1913, Brooklyn, NY. He was a carpenter and Civil War veteran.

          He married (1) Isabella C. Lewis, b. 1851, NY, d. 11 Sep 1879, Brooklyn, NY.

          Children:   i. William A., b. 1869, d. 1901, no children.

  1.         Christiana Lucretia (10).

          He married (2) Catharine Maria Kiersted/Kierstad, b. 1861/1862.

          Children:    i. Catharine/Maria, b. 28 Sep 1883, NY, d. 31 Aug 1910. Married Mr. Kraft.

  1. Minnie, b. 13 Feb 1885. Married Anthony Concistre.

                           iii. John Howard Jr., b. 31 Dec 1886, d. 1962. Married Hattie Horni; daughter Ruth married Fred Hallock; their daughter Harriet Hallock married Mr. Neumann.

  1.         Margaret A., b. 1890/1891. Married Jack Cohn; daughter Margaretta married Mr. Watson.
  2.         Mabel, b. 1896. Married Edward Tasker; son Edward Tasker, no children.


  1. Christiana C. Littell(James B., 1), b. about 1846, NY, d. 2 Oct 1931 (noted on family photo). She married John Henry Kellum, d. 18 Sep 1872, NY. He was an architect in a family firm.

          Children:  i. Ida C. Kellum, d. Jan 1927, no children. (The 1880 census shows “Eliza C.” born about 1865; this is probably Ida C.).

  1.        Benjamin J. Kellum, b. 1867, d. Apr 1931.

          Christiana C. also raised her niece Christiana Lucretia (10), daughter of her brother John Howard (7), after his first wife died in 1879. At that time, Christiana Lucretia was 3 years old, and “Aunt Christie” had been widowed. Her brother-in-law Hiram Kellum (“Harlen” on the 1880 census) lived next door. He was also an architect in the family firm.




  1. Christiana Lucretia Littell(John Howard, 7), b. 6 Feb 1876, NY, d. 12 Jan 1971, Glendale, CA. She was raised by her aunt,Christiana C. Littell Kellum (9), sister of John Howard (7), after the death of her mother Isabella C. Lewis in 1879.

          She married Alexander Murray Smith, b. 17 Dec 1854, Lansingburgh, NY, d. 15 Aug 1920, NY. He was an accountant.

          Children:   i.  Christine Katherine Smith (11)

  1.        iiHelen Littell Smith, b. 1906, NY, d. 17 Apr 1959, Los Angeles, CA, unmarried, no children. She was a librarian.




  1. Christine Katherine Smith(Christiana Lucretia, 10), b. 18 Jan 1896, Brooklyn, NY, d. 7 Aug. 1979, Nevada City, CA.

          She married Claire Depew Acker, b. 9 Dec 1891, Rochester, NY, d. 22 Sep 1964, Nevada City, CA. He was an engineer.

          Children:   i. Robert Claire Acker, b. 26 Oct 1926, Santa Barbara, CA, d. 23 Jan 2004, El Cerrito, CA, no children. He was an engineer.

          He married (1) Betty Jane Traverse, b. 1925, (2) Barbara Kemline, b. 1926.

  1.       Christine Elizabeth Acker (12)




  1. Christine Elizabeth Acker(Christine Katherine Smith, 11), b. 27 Jun 1929, Santa Barbara, CA, d. 26 Nov 2009, La Jolla, CA.

          She married George Leroy Haley, Jr., b. 15 Jun 1926, Canton, OH, d. 19 Feb 2011, La Jolla, CA. He was an engineer.

          Children: i. Catherine Jane Haley (13)




  1. Catherine Jane Haley(Christine Elizabeth Acker, 12), b. 1952, Los Angeles, CA, no children. She is a speech-language pathologist.

          She married (1) Donald Spencer Lebow, b. 1951, (2) Bjorn Christer Fredrickson, b. 1946, Stockholm, Sweden.




Written by:

Sue Johnpeter (, LLA editor

Cathy Frederickson (

Descendants of Joseph and Lucretia Cameron Littell of New York City

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