Iowa’s Six Littleton Brothers, All Lost as a Result of the Civil War

All six of Iowa’s Littleton brothers, who were considered mulattos, died as a result of the Civil War.

John Busbee wrote an award-winning story about them for Iowa History Journal. He’s also working on a book, but has already done a great deal to make sure the brothers are never forgotten.

He has shared his 16-minute story about the brothers with Our American Stories.

Here’s more information about making sure the Littleton brothers are remembered, from John Busbee’s The Culture Buzz website:

“The Littleton Brothers Legacy Project (roles: writer, author, producer) – This project began while researching for an Iowa History Journal cover story about six Iowa brothers who all served in the American Civil War, and who all perished because of their service.

“A dedicated group of volunteers, the Littleton Advisory Committee of the Louisa County Historical Society, in Louisa County, Iowa, needed a catalyst to help move their efforts to preserve this story. I was commissioned to help this group with written material and lead efforts to raise funds for a permanent monument dedicated to these six brothers, next to the Toolesboro Mounds National Historic Landmark.

“With the 2014 official project launch, and publishing of the Iowa History Journal story, 2015 was spent developing the project. Successful fundraising efforts led to installation of the Littleton Memorial on Flag Day of 2016. A successful highway signage campaign placed several markers directing travelers to the monument.

“To continue raising awareness, a story I submitted to the national publication, Civil War News, garnered front page placement, and 2017 saw the collaboration with musician Chad Elliott to create a 5-song EP album, ‘Unequaled Sacrifice,’ to further raise awareness and funds for this project.

“2018 will see the release of an historical novel I will author based on the Littleton Brothers story, ‘Unequalled Sacrifice.’ This project will continue with additional outreach and promotional elements because of the significance of this Iowa and American story, and this story serving as a destination-worthy history to encourage cultural tourism to Louisa County.

“This project includes collaborative efforts with the Littleton Advisory Committee, the Louisa County Board of Supervisors, local veterans organizations, the Louisa County Historical Society, State of Iowa, the Terry E. Branstad Iowa History Fund, several private foundations, and the Keep Iowa Beautiful Foundation.”

Tom Woodruff and John Busbee did a program about the Littleton Brothers in 2019. (I ask a question about the book about the 33 minute mark.)



    • I met him when he and another man gave a program about them at the local library. I’d read his story in Iowa History Journal wanted to know how the book was coming. At some point, I mentioned I had a book nearly finished. He whipped out his business card and said he’d like to interview me about it. At that point, I didn’t know about his radio show, but have had interviews about both books. He also wrote the foreword to the second one! I still didn’t know how involved he’d been with the Littleton Brothers monument until doing some digging. What a delightful surprise!

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