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Feramorz Little (1820-1887) became our uncle 12 February 1846, when Uncle Brigham Young (also his own uncle by blood), at Brigham’s house in Nauvoo, performed the ceremony that united him to Aunt Fannie Maria Decker.

His new wife had already become his sister-in-law by the marriage, four years earlier, of his older brother, Uncle Edwin Sobieski Little, to Fannie’s sister, Aunt Harriet Amelia Decker, also by Uncle Brigham, and also in Nauvoo.

Born 14 June 1820 in Aurelius, Cayuga County, New York, to James Little, an Irish immigrant, and his wife Susanna Young, a sister of Uncle Brigham Young, Feramorz lost his father in a wagon accident at the age of four. He didn’t get along with his stepfather and left home before his ninth birthday.
By 1850, not yet a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, he was living with his “Mormon” wife, among her “Mormon” relatives and his, in Salt Lake City. With his brothers-in-law, Uncle Charlie Decker and Uncle Ephraim Hanks, he contracted to carry the mail between Salt Lake and Cheyenne.1

The details of Uncle Feramorz’s career are too complex for this sketch.2 A few highlights:
  • Owned and ran a flouring mill, a tannery, a blacksmith shop, a shoe manufactory, the leading local hotel.
  • Built five sawmills in the Wasatch canyons and carried on a prosperous lumbering enterprise.
  • Engaged as a contractor in building the Union Pacific Railroad, and served as superintendent of the Utah Central and Utah Southern lines.
  • Built the Utah Penitentiary.
  • Toured Europe and the Orient in 1872-73 with George A. Smith, visiting the Holy Land to dedicate it for the return of the Jews.
  • Filled a mission to the Eastern states in 1875.
  • Served three consecutive terms, beginning in 1876, as Mayor of Salt Lake City.
  • Built the first dam on the Jordan River in the Salt Lake Valley
  • Recognized “…as one of Utah’s ablest business men and foremost citizens.”

1A number of wonderful, hair-raising, frontier adventure stories arose out of this project. One of them is retold in Uncle Charlie’s amazing obituary, and others in various collections.
2Fortunately, his brother James published a 191-page “Biographical Sketch of Feramorz Little, Written Under the Patronage of his family: Juvenile Instructor Office (Salt Lake City: 1890), which is now in the public domain and available at
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